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    This is ispell version 3.3, an interactive spelling checker.

Contents of this README file:

    What Is Ispell and Why Do I Want It?
    What's New in This Version?
    Where Can I Get Ispell?
    OK, How Do I Install It?
    Who Wrote Ispell?
    Where Do I Send Bug Reports?
    How Do I Reference Ispell in Scholarly Papers?
    Where Do I Get Dictionaries?
    How Long Does It Take to Make Dictionaries?
    Special Installation Notes for Certain Machines
    What About Ispell for MS-DOS?

Note: this README file might not contain the latest information about
ispell.  For that information, visit the ispell Web page:


What Is Ispell and Why Do I Want It?

    Ispell is a fast screen-oriented spelling checker that shows you
    your errors in the context of the original file, and suggests possible
    corrections when it can figure them out.  Compared to UNIX spell, it
    is faster and much easier to use.  Ispell can also handle languages
    other than English.
What's New in This Version?

    Ispell 3.3 offers improved support for international languages,
    improved deformatting, and better support for compilation on
    Windows systems.  All known security holes have been closed.
    A number of small bugs are also fixed.

Where Can I Get Ispell?

    Point your Web browser at the ispell home page:

    The current version of ispell is available for Web download from using the following URL:

    The latest version is always named "ispell-3.3.xx.tar.gz", where
    "xx" is the patch level.  There are also sometimes files named
    "README-patchxx", which contain notes specific to a given version.

    A number of ftp mirror sites also store ispell.  Check your
    favorite search engine for "ispell-3.3" to find a site near you.
    Ispell comes with English dictionaries.  For other languages,
    visit the ispell dictionaries Web page at:

OK, How Do I Install It?

    Quick installation instructions for American English:

	1) Download Ispell from
	2) gunzip ispell-3.3.xx.tar.gz
	3) tar -xvf ispell-3.3.xx.tar
	4) cd ispell-3.3.xx
	5) Copy one of the sample local.h files to local.h:
		cp local.h.bsd local.h
		cp local.h.cygwin local.h
		cp local.h.linux local.h
		cp local.h.macos local.h
		cp local.h.solaris local.h
		cp local.h.generic local.h
	6) If you used the generic local.h file and are using a
	    USG-style system (Linux, IRIX, HP-UX, Solaris, etc):
		Edit local.h and change:
		#undef USG
		#define USG
	7) make all
	    If you get compile errors in term.c, do step 6 (or undo it
	    if you already did it).
	8) make install

    Long installation instructions:

    (For installation on MS-DOS, see the section about MS-DOS at the
    end of this file.)

    Ispell is quite portable (thanks to many people).  If you speak
    American English and have one of the pre-configured systems,
    follow the instructions above.

    For more complex installations, you will have to create a fancier
    local.h file.  All customization of ispell, even for the Makefile,
    is done by creating or editing the file "local.h" to override the
    default definitions of certain variables.  The most common change
    is to add or remove "#define USG" so that term.c will compile.
    The next most common changes will be to the LANGUAGES variable (to
    set the languages; see also the Makefiles in the various language
    subdirectories), CC (to choose gcc), and BINDIR through MAN45DIR
    (to control where ispell is installed).  There are many other
    configuration parameters; see config.X for the complete list and
    further instructions.  *DO NOT* make changes to config.X or to any
    of the Makefiles.  Anything you define in "local.h" will override
    definitions in those files.

    The English-language dictionary comes in four sizes: small,
    medium, large, and extra-large.  I recommend using the medium
    dictionary unless you are very short on space.  The small and
    medium dictionaries have been hand-checked against a paper
    dictionary to improve their accuracy.  This is not true of the two
    larger ones.  The large and extra-large dictionaries contain
    less-frequently-used words and are known to have misspelling in
    them.  Also, even a correct large dictionary can hide misspellings
    of short words because there is some similar word that nobody
    uses.  (For example, the crossword-puzzle favorite "ort" can keep
    you from finding a place where you mistyped "or".)

    If you have a list of extra words (such as /usr/share/dict/words
    on some commercial Unixes), you can also choose to make a "plus"
    version, named by adding a plus sign to the size indication, to
    include that list in your dictionary.  Because many modern
    computers don't have /usr/share/dict/words, the default dictionary
    is the "non-plus" version.

    After all edits, you are ready to compile ispell.  Simply type
    "make all" to compile all the programs, put the dictionaries
    together, and build the hash file.  If you get errors while
    compiling term.c, change the setting of "#define USG" in your
    local.h file and try again.

    After your first make completes, you are ready to install ispell.
    The standard "make install" will install ispell, the auxiliary
    programs and scripts, the manual page, and the dictionary hash
    file, all in the directories you have chosen for them.  This
    usually has to be done as root, and on some systems you will not
    be able to redirect the output to a file.  (If you're the careful
    sort, you'll check the output of "make -n install" first to be
    sure there are no hidden surprises.)  If you don't want to install
    the dictionary-building tools, you can type "make partial-install"
    to install just the files needed to use ispell itself.

    As well as the standard "make clean" and "make realclean" targets,
    there is also a "make dictclean" target which will get rid of
    constructed dictionary files such as "".  This is a
    separate target because of the time it takes to build

    Finally, there is a directory named "addons", which contains shar
    kits for ispell helper programs that were generously written by
    other people.  These are not copyrighted or supported by the
    ispell maintainer.  Contact the original authors (listed in README
    files in the kits) for more information.

Who Wrote Ispell?

    Ispell is a very old program.  The original was written in PDP-10
    assembly in 1971, by R. E. Gorin.  The C version was written by
    Pace Willisson of MIT.  Walt Buehring of Texas Instruments added
    the emacs interface and posted it to the net.  Geoff Kuenning
    added the international support and created the current release.
    Ken Stevens has maintained the Emacs interface (ispell.el) for
    many years.  Many, many other people contributed to the current
    version; a partial list (with a much more detailed history) can
    be found in the file "Contributors".

Where Do I Send Bug Reports?

    Most ispell bug reports, except bugs related to the emacs-lisp
    interface, should be sent to "".  Bugs in
    the emacs interface (ispell.el) should be sent to
    "".  If you're not sure which address to
    use, send your report to "" and I'll sort it
    out from there.  Note that the bug aliases are not discussion
    lists; membership is limited.

    Bugs in add-on packages (found in the "addons" subdirectory)
    should not be sent to  Instead, send reports to the
    developers of those packages (see the README file for the package
    you are using).

How Do I Reference Ispell in Scholarly Papers?

    There is no published paper on ispell, so if you make use of
    ispell in a fashion that requires a reference (e.g., using the
    dictionary as a word list in a research project), you are limited
    to an Internet reference.  The full proper title is printed by
    "ispell -v": "International Ispell Version x.y.z".  Please include
    the full version number in your reference so that people can
    discover the exact variant that you used; sometimes it's
    important.  If you're feeling really nice, you can also credit me,
    Geoff Kuenning, as the author.  Usually, you should also include a
    link to the ispell Web page:
    so that readers of your paper can locate a copy of ispell if they wish.

Where Do I Get Dictionaries?

    Ispell comes with American and British dictionaries. American-style
    spellings are the default.  To get British spellings, copy the
    LANGUAGES and MASTERHASH definitions from config.X into your
    local.h, and then globally replace "american" with "british".

    For other languages, consult the file "languages/Where", which
    lists everything I know about.  You can also check the ispell
    dictionaries page:

    which contains pointers to all known dictionaries.

    As a general rule, if you use a dictionary that was not intended
    for ispell, or if you combine multiple dictionaries, you should
    use munchlist to reduce the size of the dictionary.

    If you create a dictionary of your own and make it available for
    ftp, please send a notification to so that
    I can add your dictionary to the ftp list.

How Long Does It Take to Make Dictionaries?

    Long ago, making a big dictionary took hours.  But on a modern
    machine, it should only take a few minutes.

Special Installation Notes for Certain Machines:

    Although I have tried to avoid putting in specific machine
    dependencies as a general rule, some machine-specific #defines
    will be found at the end of config.X.

    If you get lots of warnings when compiling term.c, check to be
    sure that you have correctly defined SIGNAL_TYPE in your local.h.

    Some recent "internationalized" Unixes (such as HP, and anything
    using the GNU tools, such as Linux) vary the behavior of sort(1)
    based on an environment variable such as LANG, LOCALE, or LC_xxx.
    The symptom is that munchlist does not produce an optimal
    dictionary.  The shell scripts try to protect against this by setting
    all of these variables to "C", but if your system uses different
    environment variables, you may have to do this by hand.

    If you get core dumps from the sort command (reported on HP
    systems building large German dictionaries), try adding the "-y"
    flag to the appropriate invocation of sort in the Makefile or in
    munchlist.  This flag is only available on some systems.

    Some BSDI systems have a screwy sort command that uses
    -T to specify the record (as opposed to field) delimiter.  You'll
    have to disable SORTTMP and enable MAKE_SORTTMP.

What About Ispell for MS-DOS?

    Although the ispell maintainer does not support MS-DOS and
    Windows, a generous contributor, Eli Zaretskii, has added MS-DOS
    support.  You can build ispell for MS-DOS with either EMX/GCC or
    DJGPP.  See the file pc/README for compilation instructions.