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How to install Linux speech recognition in Ubuntu

James McClain has released the source code of his speech recognition tool which he has aptly named Palaver. The tool is getting quite a lot of attention and a lot of people want to install and test it on their machines, so we asked one of our readers and community member, Tyler Postma, who has been using the tool for a while. Here is a detailed tutorial by Postma about how to install this on your system.

First what you want to do, is download the .zip file from https://github.com/JamezQ/ubuntu-speech-recognition  and extract the files to a folder. Let’s assume we extracted the files at this locations


We will need to install some components to build the tool. Open the terminal and run this command:

sudo apt-get install sox python-argparse libsox-fmt-mp3 mutt wget espeak xvkbd xautomation

Now cd to the directory where you extracted the files

cd Downloads/ubuntu-speech-recognition-master

Now run the setup file by running this command:


If it runs successfully you will get this message:

Done, you will have to setup the hotkey yourself.

For this you need the full path of the hotkey file inside your ‘ubuntu-speech-recognition-master folder’. Now we need to configure the hotkey which will invoke the voice recognition. Assuming you are using the Unity shell, open the dash and type “keyboard”. You can also access keyboard from ‘System Settings’.

Now go to the ‘shortcut’ tab and go to “Custom Shortcuts”.  Click on the + symbol to add a hotkey.

Name it whatever you want, and for the command give the complete path of hokey script. In my case it was:


Click “Apply”. Now you have to configure keys to trigger this script. Click on the ‘Disabled’ and it will to enter input shortcut. I tested many combinations but it worked on few so I used Ctrl+L.

Now when you click Ctrl+L key it will trigger the microphone and you can start speaking when it turns green.

Please keep in mind that it’s in early stage of development. This tutorial is meant to assist you to install this tool, the developer has already done a great job with documentation and you can check ReadMe file in the downloaded folder.

Now, let us know if you were manage to get it to work.

We are looking for aspiring bloggers and journalists for The Mukt. If you are interested, apply now!

Thanks Tyler Postma

Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.


  1. Before I go through the process of installing it, does it only work for system macros, or can it be used to compose blocks of text?

  2. Dude ! This uses the Google API ! I though something real had happened here ! … disapointed …

  3. can you install it in fedora?

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  5. I am sure that there is a option to make it without hotkey, just by saying “hey pc ” or something like that, it would be more practical . I would go for that… any ideas ? (Is this feature open source?)

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