GNU Aspell is a Free and Open Source spell checker designed to eventually replace Ispell. It can either be used as a library or as an independent spell checker. Its main feature is that it does a much better job of coming up with possible suggestions than just about any other spell checker out there for the English language, including Ispell and Microsoft Word. It also has many other technical enhancements over Ispell such as using shared memory for dictionaries and intelligently handling personal dictionaries when more than one Aspell process is open at once. The ultimate goal of GNU Aspell is to become the standard spell checker for GNU/Linux and other Free operating systems.
This release of Aspell is the first version of Aspell as an official GNU Package. It is a combination of the original Aspell and Pspell which should be as least as stable as the original Aspell/Pspell combination. The source code has been completely reorganized in the process of the merge which should make it significantly easier for others to maintain. Being a single package, it should also be easier to install and package.
From an end-users stand point GNU Aspell has several small yet significant enhancements over the original Aspell including an improved spell checking interface which includes the ability to use Ispell key bindings when checking documents, support for the Dvorak keyboard layout, and an enhanced command line interface which includes support for listing the available dictionaries and printing out the value of an individual configuration option.
Unfortunately, Kevin Atkinson, the sole maintainer of GNU Aspell has very little time to maintain and develop future versions of Aspell. Thus, he is desperately looking for someone to help with the maintenance and development of Aspell. A lot of tasks need to be done before Kevin will consider Aspell complete, but without some outside help GNU Aspell will probably never make it.
More information on GNU Aspell, including how to get it and ways others can help, can be found at http://aspell.net
Copyright (C) 2002 Kevin Atkinson (firstname.lastname@example.org). Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.