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Damselfly is a utility which allows one to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking to provide input to X11 (under Linux)

Damselfly consists of 2 Python scripts, one which acts as a server and the other which acts as a client. The server runs on the Linux side and does the work of interacting with the windowing system. The client runs on the wine side and and handles command recognition and dispatching of commands to the server. The client and server communicate via a pair of named pipes.

Basic installation and setup instructions can be found in the file named INSTALL.

Damselfly implements a superset of the functionality provided by the Dragonfly package. Damselfly does not override any of the classes provided by Dragonfly, however it implements X aware equivalents where necessary. Therefore I am only documenting the differences between Dragonfly and Damselfly in this file. Please also read the documentation for Dragonfly found at

The following are the new classes implemented by Damselfly :

Class XKey: This class functions the same as the Key class from Dragonfly, except that a meta modifier has been added. Also the Windows key is mapped to the super key. So the mapping for the modifier keys is:

'a' : 'alt'
'c' : 'ctrl'
's' : 'shift'
'w' : 'super'
'm' : 'meta' 

Class XText: This class functions the same as the Text class does in Dragonfly

The constructor has the following signature: init(self, spec, static = False, space = True, title = False, upper = False)

space = False strips spaces from the text title = True titlecases the text upper = True makes the string all caps

The Paste class from Dragonfly has no equivalent in Damselfly

Class XMouse: This class functions the same as the Mouse class does in Dragonfly, except that it also implements the mouse wheel buttons. There are 5 different mouse buttons which we can click or press: 'left' , 'middle' , 'right' , 'wheel up' , and 'wheel down'

Classes WaitXWindow, BringXApp, StartXApp, FocusXWindow are used in the same way as their non-X Dragonfly equivalents.

The BringXApp and WaitXWindow constructors have a timeout argument (default 5 seconds).

Class XAppContext: This is an essential class which does the work of determining whether a given context applies for an X application. The constructor has the following signature: init(self, wmname = None, wmclass = None, wid = None, usereg = False)

Meaning, you can specify an X context via its name (title), or class (a property set by the application which can accessed with the tool xprop, typically it defaults to the name of the program), and its window id (argument 'wid', you can get specific window ids by using xwininfo for example). The usereg flag specifies whether or not the wmname / class arguments are to be treated as regular expressions.

If neither wmname nor wmclass are named arguments, it will try to match the expression to either of these properties. If the connection between the server and the client is down, XAppContext returns false.


  1. Run the server at the command line, eg do: $ ./

  2. Run Dragon NaturallySpeaking

  3. Say 'damselfly connect' to connect to the server. This will produce some messages on the consoles.


  • If the server ever enters a 'stopped' state (it will complain about this on the console), which usually happens as a fail-safe if a command fails, you need to resume the server by saying 'damselfly resume'.

  • Editing will cause Natlink to reload the grammar once the mic has been muted / unmuted, and that will break the connection.


damselfly : use dragon naturally speaking to control linux apps




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