The state of spellchecking

by davidnielsen

As I’m writing this with gnome-blog it’s become apparent that GNOME just doesn’t handle spellchecking nicely. The underlining part works great in most applications, however the interface differs greatly.

Gnome-blog has an entry at the top of the menu you get a submenu with suggestions, easily discoverable. However Evolution e.g. uses a different approach, here there’s an option to check the word way down the list. Hardly the same behavior, hardly good for the user and therefore hardly good for GNOME as a whole, it makes us look unprofessional.

Now there are several optimizations one could do to the checking progess itself. Currently regardless of implementation it suggests words using all the dictionaries on the system, regardless of language. A cool thing here would be a nice little algoritme to detect what language you are likely typing (I hear EMACS does this, I guess that comes with the kitchen sink switch), and then only suggest words from that dictionary.

Another thing to look at would be the massive amount of spellchecking systems we have on Linux, myspell, aspell, ispell, enchant, etc. Why hasn’t anyone sat down and speced out one system on freedesktop so at least the future can be sane, and cross platform.

An Ubuntu specific dream would being tying in Rosetta with this system so we could update dictionary files directly and use them across rosetta for translation help. It’s basically the same job and yet it’s kept in two different camps.