Speech recognition on free operating systems

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Why not just use Windows by itself instead of using it to control a free operating system? See free software vs closed source.


[edit] Lume's test system

"I was booting two existing Windows installations as virtual machines in Ubuntu. Currently I've lost this functionality on both these partitions after cloning one over the other. They still boot normally. Lume 15:46, 1 March 2008 (CST) "

Software used:

  • Ubuntu 7.10 (Edubuntu, to be precise)
  • VMware Server 1.0.4 build-56528
  • "Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2 with all updates up to maybe a few weeks ago. I used Offline Update to install the patches. Lume 07:00, 24 February 2008 (CST) "
  • Gentoo 2007.0 (Secret Sauce) downloaded from [1]
    • GNOME 2.16.3 WM.
    • Linux filesystem: ext3
    • Kernel= 2.6.19
    • VMwareTools version 6.0.0-45731 installed.


  • Dell Inspiron 530 Core 2 Quad (might explain ACPI problems - the Quad CPU uses a different motherboard than the Dual. The Dual is sold with Linux pre-installed.) SATA hard disk, USB keyboard and mouse
  • 3GB RAM
  • The factory installed (but optional) NVidia video card (I guess this might have something to do with the ACPI problems. I am using the restricted drivers. Before I loaded those Ubuntu didn't have the option to suspend. I think you can go to System / Administration / Restricted Drivers Manager to install them.)
  • Samson Airline 77 mic (it plugs into the audio jack not the USB port)

[edit] Glossary

The virtual machine "guest" is the operating system that is running inside the virtual machine, the "host" is the operating system that the virtual machine software is running on.

VM = virtual machine. By "virtual machine" I basically mean an operating system running in VMware (or other virtualization software).

DNS = Dragon NaturallySpeaking

OS = operating system(s)

[edit] WinDictator

[edit] Installation

"I haven't yet gotten WinDictator to install on Linux Lume 08:19, 24 February 2008 (CST) " "I'm hoping WinDictator is capable of performing keyboard shortcuts because that is the main thing I want to use it for. Editing documents is probably better done in Windows so it can select text (beside the thing you just wrote). I think I read that WinDictator can do a 'correct that' but I'm not sure how far back it can correct, select, insert, move cursor, etc. Lume 15:46, 1 March 2008 (CST) "

WinDictator has been in alpha release for a few years. The developer writes, "The install will do some fairly extensive compiling on the Linux side, which is probably where most installations will have problems. If it doesn't work in this pre-release version, you can probably get it to work by checking out the result of the underlying 'make' commands, but you're on your own."

The developer is Ed Suominen. As of April of 2005 he was using Gentoo Linux 2.4.x as host, Windows 2000 as guest on an Athlon XP 2400+. [2] "I emailed him maybe a week ago using his Usenet address, but got no reply as to which Linux operating system to use. Gentoo looks like the best bet. Lume 06:21, 23 February 2008 (CST) "

[edit] Installation instructions

See WinDictator installation instructions.

[edit] Lume's attempt to install on Gentoo

"I downloaded a virtual machine called Gentoo 2007.0 from [3].

Version= Gentoo 2007.0 (Secret Sauce) - GNOME 2.16.3 WM. Linux filesystem: ext3 Kernel= 2.6.19 VMwareTools version 6.0.0-45731 installed.

Before I could connect to the internet I had to fix a networking problem using these instructions [4]. (Apparently VMware knows when you have copied/moved a virtual machine and gives it a new mac address, probably so there is not a conflict if you have copied it and run them both. Unfortunately this breaks networking on this virtual machine. I also had to do this fix again when I did not copy or move the virtual machine.)

I then was able to use emerge to install Subversion and Twisted. Python was already installed.

This link has output 1 of attempt to install WinDictator on Gentoo (Secret Sauce)

I ran Windows (host) and ran this Gentoo with VMware Server. When I ran wdlin I think this was the same error I got. (I actually copied this from the Ubuntu error but it looks the same as I remember):

CONNECTION FAILURE: [...] <class 'twisted.internet.error.DNSLookupError'>: DNS lookup failed: address 'win2k' not found: (-5, 'No address associated with hostname').

With Gentoo I searched the WinDictator directory using (something like):

grep -H -a -r win2k WinDictator

It found some files. I changed all other instances of 'win2k' to the IP address of the Windows machine. The error message didn't change.

This may have been due to the network not being set up properly. Windows and Gentoo could both connect to the router configuration page using a web browser. The router's DSL connection was disconnected from the Internet for security reasons. There are two reasons I think the network may not have been set up properly: I was not able to view a Windows share by selecting "network" from the taskbar menu in Gentoo. (I was able to view this network share with Ubuntu when the Windows partition was booted in a virtual machine.) Secondly, I could not get Gentoo to run in the remote desktop, but I'm not sure I had the proper IP address or if I need to specify the port number. (Running Ubuntu in the remote desktop with Windows running in the virtual machine, was easy.)

Lume 06:21, 23 February 2008 (CST) "

[edit] Lume's attempt to install on Ubuntu 7.10

"Using Ubuntu 7.10 I installed Subversion and 'python-twisted' with Synaptic. Python 5.1 was already installed.

This link has output 1 of attempt to install WinDictator on Ubuntu 7.10 (It is actually Edubuntu but I believe it is the same other than having more software installed.)

I edited the 1st file named wdlin on Ubuntu so that "win2k" was replaced with what I thought was the IP addresses of the Windows machine. The Windows machine shows three different IP addresses looking at the network adapter properties / Internet protocol TCP/IP properties, so I wasn't sure which one to use. When I ran wdlin on Ubuntu I got the error

CONNECTION FAILURE: [Failure instance: Traceback (failure with no frames): <class 'twisted.internet.error.DNSLookupError'>: DNS lookup failed: address 'win2k' not found: (-5, 'No address associated with hostname'). ]

Lume 06:21, 23 February 2008 (CST) "

[edit] Running Windows/DNS in a virtual machine

With VMware Server you can copy and paste text from the virtual machine to the host operating system or vice versa. (You can also boot an existing Windows installation as a virtual machine.) "Right now I'm running Ubuntu with Windows/DNS in a virtual machine to edit documents like these, then copying and pasting the text into a web browser, e-mail client, etc. Lume 01:43, 26 February 2008 (CST) "

[edit] Sound input problems

If you are planning to buy a USB mic, find out if that will work in a virtual machine.

"Sound does not always work with Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Some users report problems with the volume being too low. (My wireless mic has a receiver and may amplify the input signal louder than other mics.) I used the Windows sound recorder to see visually if there was sound input (Start Menu / Programs / Accessories / Entertainment). Sometimes the first time I run Windows in the VM, after rebooting Ubuntu, I get a poor speech-to-noise number. I'm not exactly sure what fixed this. If I double-click the volume in Ubuntu, click the recording tab, I can "mute" everything except the microphone ("toggle audio recording from capture") for the first capture device. I did that, shut down the virtual machine, put the computer into standby, woke the computer, ran the virtual machine again and it worked. I did something like this for two different (but mirrored) windows installations and they have been working for a couple days. - Lume " "Update: The sound had this problem again after I had booted Windows normally. I did that exact procedure and it fixed it. Lume 01:43, 26 February 2008 (CST) "

See Realtec's noise suppression feature.

[edit] Speed of DNS in a virtual machine

If I edit documents with DragonPad or MS Word, DNS Pro can save the voice recording and (I've read that it edits the audio at the same time you edit your document, if you do everything by voice). I was getting some long lags when editing documents with the audio being saved. (I'm not sure that was the reason for the lagging, it may always save audio.) I'm guessing the bottleneck here is the hard drive. It had to jump to the data partition, Ubuntu swap (it is in front of the Ubuntu partition), and back to two operating systems. I haven't tried this much in Windows alone, nor with Windows installed in a "virtual machine". Instead, I've been booting two existing (cloned) Windows partitions as virtual machines (but they both stopped working as virtual machines after I cloned one over the other).

[edit] Don't edit same partition with two operating systems

"I don't think you are supposed to edit the same partition with the guest (running in the virtual machine) and the host, so I'm not sure where I'm going to put my documents. VMware Server only works with one of three flash card readers and the one it works with (the one that is built into my Inspiron 530), Ubuntu will not auto-mount the flash card when I unplug and plug it in again. Lume 06:21, 23 February 2008 (CST) "

[edit] Using Linux software just for voice control

"It may be possible to use different voice control software while Windows/DNS is running in the virtual machine. However I'm not sure if the audio device can be quickly switched. Lume 01:43, 26 February 2008 (CST) "

"I've read of some voice control software for Linux. This might be used for stuff like internet browsing using Mousless Browsing. The Windows version of Opera has some voice control (I'm not sure about the Linux version), but regardless, it doesn't number the links like Mouseless Browsing, so it is not really practical as far as I know. Lume 01:43, 26 February 2008 (CST) "

[edit] DNS controlling a virtual machine from outside it

Controlling a free OS in a virtual machine with Windows as host.


  • "I'd rather not connect Windows to the Internet because it seems to have more security holes. Windows Vista seems to have more security advantages than Windows XP according to secunia.com so Vista might be better in this application. (Microsoft has lifted the licensing restriction against running Windows Vista Basic and Premium Edition in a virtual machine [5], so that leaves both options available if I put all that work into Vista but Product Activation is still an issue. There is probably a way to use a firewall or proxy to only allow most internet traffic to the virtual machine. Lume 15:46, 1 March 2008 (CST) "


  • "I put Windows into standby without shutting down Gentoo in the VM and everything worked when I started it up. I was just testing this out so only did it a few times. (Suspend only wakes properly about half of the time on Ubuntu. Half the time it starts like I just turned on the computer and it would hardly ever work with my VGA KVM switch. I've been using the DVI cable since I started writing these articles.) Lume 01:43, 26 February 2008 (CST) " "I haven't been using Ubuntu lately but as I recall suspend was working well with Ubuntu 7.10 64-bit (alternative install version, ie no GUI) and the digital video cable. I think I only tested it a few times. Note: I couldn't find a way to install GRUB to the system partition using the alternative install version. You can choose where to install GRUB with the GUI install, just before it starts writing most of the data to the disk. Lume 17:05, 30 August 2008 (CDT) "
  • See Realtec's noise suppression feature.
  • "I probably could use a hardened free operating system to run applications that connect to the Internet. There used to be a torrent of a hardened version of Gentoo available. I found it from VMware's website with all the other virtual appliances. Last I checked the page it links to no longer has the torrent link. I have the link but the torrent had no uploaders last I checked. Lume 11:31, 1 May 2008 (CDT) " Hardened Gentoo looks like it has more security features available than any other OS listed here, but it apparently has/had some major security issues (see free_software_vs_closed_source#Security_in_free_operating_systems)

[edit] Functionality

"I couldn't get it to dictate words directly into Gentoo in the virtual machine but it can hit individual keys (you say "press CTRL A", etc). I think this would work to surf the Internet with Mouseless Browsing and do anything keyboard shortcuts can. I tested a few keyboard shortcuts and they worked. (However keyboard shortcuts via DNS work only about half the time, on my current installation of Windows XP. Many more of the keyboard shortcuts worked consistently on my Windows 2000 machine, as I recall. There may be a fix for this.) Lume 15:46, 1 March 2008 (CST) "

"Secondly, the Dictation Box worked to paste 'small' amounts of text by voice (without using the keyboard or mouse) into the virtual machine but you have to say "press CTRL V" to paste the text; it won't do it automatically (I tried all the different settings of the Dictation Box). The Dictation Box looks like it could hold a paragraph, it might hold much more, but I'm not sure how many levels of undo you have and whether it is being saved in case of a crash or mistake. I guess you could use it to dictate some paragraphs at a time and paste them into a word processor running on Gentoo. Lume 15:46, 1 March 2008 (CST) "

[edit] Using remote desktop to control a free OS with Windows/DNS

Basically this doesn't work or I haven't tried it yet.

[edit] Free OS as guest in virtual machine, free OS running in remote desktop

One way is to start by booting Windows, run a (hardened) free OS in the virtual machine, then run remote desktop software on Windows to control the free OS. "I couldn't get Gentoo Secret Sauce to run under the remote desktop software although it has the same option in the menu as Ubuntu. It is under System / Preferences / Remote Desktop. It worked under Ubuntu but Ubuntu was not running in a virtual machine. Lume 06:21, 23 February 2008 (CST) "

Second way is to start by booting free OS #1, run Windows and free OS #2 as guests in VMware. Then run remote desktop on Windows to control free OS #2.

[edit] Controlling the virtual machine host with remote desktop (doesn't work)

"Ubuntu 7.10 was host running XP as guest with VMware Server, XP was then running Portable UltraVNC to control the same Ubuntu. This didn't work; it lead to infinite ... like holding two mirrors up facing one another. It might have still been usable with part of the screen but it wouldn't let me put the pointer in the inner screen. Lume 06:21, 23 February 2008 (CST) "

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