[libvoikko] HFST support to libvoikko in Debian and Ubuntu?

Timo Jyrinki timo.jyrinki at gmail.com
Wed Feb 24 13:59:23 EET 2016

2016-02-19 13:49 GMT+02:00 Tino Didriksen <mail at tinodidriksen.com>:
>> As for HFST support, I can start enabling it or people can submit git
>> requests to it later at
>> http://anonscm.debian.org/cgit/collab-maint/libvoikko.git/ - when
>> everything needed and useful dictionaries are in Debian.
> Definitely need zhfst support, as both Giellatekno and Apertium produce
> zhfst spellers.

I have the enablement done in libvoikko packaging and it would be
ready for Debian experimental at this point. But there a couple of
factors that add to complexity.

Firstly, I'd be interested in knowing if the end goal would be to have
zhfst spellers enabled by default for eg Northern Sami in Debian and
Ubuntu, similar to Voikko for Finnish installation? That would be a
worthy goal of course, since it would improve the user experience for
users of Sami languages.

Secondly, I need to consider Ubuntu too when it comes to enabling new
functionality in libvoikko. It's more complicated because Voikko is
part of the 'main' repository (Canonical supported packages) due to
being in the default Finnish installation. That means that all direct
dependencies and build dependencies need to be in 'main' repository
too. If I would now upload a new libvoikko to Debian, it couldn't be
built in Ubuntu. And I don't want to fork libvoikko in Ubuntu to build
without HFST.

Are there people on the HFST side who could join Ubuntu efforts a bit
too? In essence, it's mostly nothing because everything would come
directly from Debian, but initially it would mean:
- Going through MainInclusionProcess
(https://wiki.ubuntu.com/MainInclusionProcess) for both hfst and
hfst-ospell. Old MIR bugs can be looked at when uncertain. Both are
relatively mature projects, and supporting people using any language
is one of the original goals of Ubuntu so I believe there should be no
problems completing the process given all requirements are otherwise
- MIRing would require a Launchpad team to be created, for example
'hfst-team' that can be subscribed to the (theoretical) Ubuntu bugs
against hfst or hfst-ospell. I would gladly join the team and also
move foma bug subcription over there from the current not so optimal

Thirdly, just another "would be nice to know" detail, is there a plan
when hfst-ospell would move to Debian unstable? Otherwise it won't get
to be available in Ubuntu.

If there are people who could help, please start by creating a team at
https://launchpad.net/people/+newteam and getting at least a couple of
people joined there (me included). That would be a good start for now,
and the MIR bugs can be created later since they won't be handled
before Ubuntu 16.10 development opens in April anyway, and the
hfst-ospell also gets synced to Ubuntu only at that point.

If there are no such people, it will need more consideration. One
option would be to think about splitting HFST support into a separate
libvoikko plugin that would not get installed for Finnish installation
and that could live in eg libvoikko-hfst package.

I don't want to be on the Ubuntu side of HFST completely alone, and
one reason is simply because I can't consider myself a "team" that is
subscribed to the bugs and I'd like to fix the foma subcription to be
better too.


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