I finally got ispell spell-checking Portuguese for me. This only took a few hours and involved:
- Finding Portuguese dictionaries (easy)
- Figuring out that I need to run “buildhash” on it which I didn’t have.
- Trying to use buildhash on a different machine and move the files over – bad idea.
- Finding ispell source and trying to compile it in order to get “buildhash,” discovering that it requires Yacc, which I didn’t have.
- Failing to find yacc for fedora but installing bison instead.
- Compiling ispell in a semi-manual way using bison instead of yacc.
- Discovering that ispell doesn’t work with utf-8. Converting my file from utf-8 to latin-1 with iconv. (This involved looking up the proper code for latin-1 – “iso-8859-1.” The geek in me is ashamed to admit that I don’t remember “iso-8859-1” by heart.) Then discovering that gnome-terminal doesn’t want to display iso-8859-1 files properly.
So, I then started from scratch, trying to install Portuguese dictionaries for aspell instead. This failed miserably. After some more time I realized that gnome-terminal might be smart enough to switch between multiple encodings, which turned out to be the case.
So, I could finally run ispell. However, it kept exiting immediately. It took a bit of experimenting to realize that this was because the file simply didn’t have any spelling errors. So, now, it’s all working.
Ah, what wouldn’t a man do for the joy of being able to spell-check from the command line?