spell check - how to?

Giorgos Keramidas keramida at freebsd.org
Thu Nov 6 21:58:48 PST 2008

On Thu, 06 Nov 2008 23:42:52 -0500, Eitan Adler <eitanadlerlist at gmail.com> wrote:
> [cc to -questions as it might be a general question]

Hi Eitan :-)

> I'm looking to do a full spell check/fix on the handbook.  I found
> "make spellcheck-txt" which apparently removed certain items that
> would not go well through a spell checker - however I don't know how
> to actually run the spellcheck itself.
> I have aspell installed.

You will probably have to tweak the ISPELLOPTS to use aspell.  The
current spellcheck targets use a default ISPELLOPTS with a value of:

doc/el/share/mk/doc.project.mk:ISPELL?=     ispell
doc/el/share/mk/doc.project.mk:ISPELLOPTS?= -l -p /usr/share/dict/freebsd ${ISPELLFLAGS}

The -l option is not supported by aspell, so the following spellcheck
run fails:

: % pwd
: /ws/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/articles/contributing
: % env ISPELL=aspell make FORMATS=txt spellcheck
: Spellcheck article.txt
: Error: You must specify a parameter for "-l".
: *** Error code 1

But you can set ISPELL and ISPELLOPTS in the runtime environment to pass
aspell-compatible options:

: % env ISPELL=aspell ISPELLOPTS='list' make FORMATS=txt spellcheck
: Spellcheck article.txt
: jcamou
: ...

Unfortunately, the wordlist at `/usr/share/dict/freebsd' is not usable
with aspell right now, so if you try to use it you will get errors like:

: env ISPELL=aspell \
:     ISPELLOPTS='-p /usr/share/dict/freebsd ${ISPELLFLAGS}' \
:     ISPELLFLAGS='list' make FORMATS=txt spellcheck
: Spellcheck article.txt
: Error: The file "/usr/share/dict/freebsd" is not in the proper format.
: *** Error code 1

The main drawback of being unable to use the `freebsd' wordlist is that
you will get many false positives for words that are perfectly valid for
FreeBSD documentation but are not standard English words.

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