L10n Talk:Dictionaries

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If Mozilla products would like to support as many languages as possible you should consider the following:

1. Use a spell checker engine that is actively developed and supports Unicode. The current situation is that you use Myspell which is dead and does not support Unicode. Switch to Hunspell as soon as possible. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=319778

2. Myspell dictionaries are compatible with Hunspell. Aspell dictionaries can be converted to Hunspell format (see hunspell.sourceforge.net). There are many dictionaries out there. Unfortunately most are GPL or LGPL. If this is not acceptable for Mozilla, then ask the maintaners or authors of dictionaries to relicense the dictionaries. I think most of the authors are not aware of the problem, and will not refuse to relicense the dictionaries to MPL/GPL/LGPL.

My 2 cents...

Timar 12:18, 9 Feb 2006 (PST)

The tri-license requirement

This page says:

Gerv says: to be included in the source tree, and therefore in builds shipped by Mozilla, a dictionary needs to have a licence compatible with all three of the "MPL 1.1", "LGPL 2.1 or later" and "GPL 2.0 or later". Examples of compatible licensing schemes include:
  • Mozilla tri-licence
  • BSD or MIT-style licences
  • Public domain

This means that the Hebrew-localized installer for Firefox cannot be bundled with the Hebrew dictionary, because Firefox is MPL/GPL/LGPL and the dictionary is GPL only. The same goes for Catalan and a few other languages. As a result of this, these dictionaries are used by less people: It is hard enough to convince people to install Mozilla in the first place, and making them install another add-on frustrates them. (Mind you, most people aren't add-on junkies.)

It is rather ridiculous - I thought that Free Software licenses are supposed to make distributing software easy. If the dictionaries can be easily added from Mozilla's own repository, why can't they be bundled?

(I can understand this in case of Ubuntu and MP3 codecs, where it's not just the license, but also the patent issue; In that case the codecs are kept in a separate restricted repository.)

See also bug 487596. --Amir E. Aharoni 14:09, 9 April 2009 (UTC)


  • We could consider starting a re-licensing campaign to ask dictionaries to abide by the tri-license.
  • IMO, the tri-license is most lenient to the software development world because it allows anyone to take tri-licensed Mozilla code and use it in either MPL, GPL, LPGL, or another tri-license. With this license, people are free to use Mozilla code however they want. We would need dictionaries who use GPL code to tri-license their work so it can be used in Mozilla and then freely used in anyway possible by anyone who wants to use Mozilla code.
  • Owners of dictionaries may not find this suitable for a few reasons I can think of...
    • They are GPL enthusiasts who affirm that all GPL bodies of code may only be used again if if is GPL
    • Owners of dictionaries may not want someone else using their code in a "non-free" way
    • Owners may not want to go through the process of re-licensing.
    • [Insert more here] --Seth Bindernagel
I doubt the the dictionary authors would be happy to re-license their dictionaries under three licenses, especially when one of the three is a license which was created to satisfy the lawyers of a company that we all loved once, but that doesn't even exist anymore (please correct me if my impression of MPL is too negaive). These dictionaries are used in other products and this can complicate the situation even further.
I don't quite understand why this is required in the first place. This all goes back to the simple question: Is Free Software licensing supposed to make software distribution easier or harder? Firefox is GPL; hspell is GPL; why aren't they compatible?
The dictionaries are Free Software and are easily installable from AMO. Unlike, for example, the situation with media codecs in Ubuntu, some of which are freely licensed, but encumbered by patents, these dictionaries are 100% Free. Do they really really really have to be 300% free?
Maybe the tri-license requirement is relevant for inclusion in the source tree - and i find even that very weird, but why is it so important for an addon that is just added to an installer?
It would be very curious to look at the following statistic: the number of downloads of installers which don't have a dictionary included (Hebrew, Catalan) with the number of downloads of the corresponding dictionary. My hunch is that the number of downloaded dictionaries will be much lower and not because the users don't want a spelling dictionary, but because they simply don't know that it exists, which would be a shame. I am a Hebrew speaker, a Firefox power-user and a linguist - and i used Firefox for many months without realizing that a Hebrew dictionary exists until Tomer kindly told me about it. What about all the Hebrew speakers who aren't linguists and power-users? --Amir E. Aharoni 19:56, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Creating a new spellchecker package

I am the coordinator of a spellchecker project for asturian language. We have made a first version for Aspell ([1]) and we have ready the Hunspell version (we have already requested the upload for OpenOffice.org). Could you possible tell me how or where can we request the version for Mozilla applications, please? I can't find the right site for that here. Thanks in advance! --Esbardu 00:42, 8 April 2010 (UTC)