[libvoikko] Mozvoikko 2.2

Timo Jyrinki timo.jyrinki at gmail.com
Mon Jan 4 10:56:55 EET 2016

2015-09-24 17:43 GMT+03:00 Timo Jyrinki <timo.jyrinki at gmail.com>:
>> That would be possible. But I would suggest that you would discuss and make a
>> long(er) term decision between Ubuntu maintainers, other distro maintainers
>> and mozilla.fi people on where the Linux support should come from,
>> distributions or AMO. I got the impression that Ubuntu Firefox maintainers
>> really would prefer the AMO option even if the user experience was worse than
>> it is now.
> I'll be back with this later on.

I haven't reached people other than a mozilla.fi person didn't have an
opinion, and Ville-Pekka who is following the Fedora discussion.
Firefox first delayed the signing requirement, but it's now there with
Firefox 43.0 and so mozvoikko has stopped working. It means Finnish
Firefox users now have their text typed into textareas like comment
fields with red underlining on each word. I tested this with an empty
Firefox profile and without mozvoikko installed - spell checking is
enabled by default and it uses English even on Finnish sites (tested
digitoday.fi comment field). I realize this is probably the same
behavior as Windows and Mac OS users have had all the time, but it was
better for 7-8 years for example on Ubuntu and other Linux
distributions. It seems Chromium has the same default behavior, so is
it maybe that all Finnish web users have been accustomed to accepting
the red underlining? A minority could probably find the spell-checking
settings or Google for it and find Voikko.

I've approached distributing Voikko from user experience and
out-of-the-box perspective, but I fear this time the user experience
will simply crumble under the amount of technical details and lack of
energy from my side to fight the windmills.

There's the detail that Mozilla wants the extensions to be AMO based
and not system provided. There's the detail that the Ubuntu maintainer
does not want to try to get Mozilla re-think that decision. There's
the detail that Debian probably won't be affected and will use their
freedom from Firefox trademark obligations to allow non-signed - by
Mozilla, but yes by Debian in the sense of packaging - packaged system
extensions. There's the detail that spell-checking in general is often
just a side-thought of developers, and more so for minority languages.
There's the detail that getting the full review would be a burden for
Voikko upstream and also Voikko upstream is obviously above all about
the technical development of Voikko and not about integrating Voikko
into shipping products. There's the detail that fixing spell checking
via extension is the wrong level to fix it in the first place, and
that's why most non-Finnish users aren't affected by this change as
extensions don't usually affect core functionality. There's the detail
that Chromium/Chrome is getting more users and it never had Finnish
spell checking, and same for all Windows users, or mobile users.

I'm available if you decide to proceed on full review from Mozilla at
some point, but I won't actively pursue this as such as there are so
many technical aspects in play and I'll concentrate on packaging other
Voikko sources instead. I already had branches ready for all Ubuntu
versions of the previous not fully reviewed but signed version (eg
and it seemed Chris was ok in getting those in if they'd just work (be
signed with a full review signature).

The right way would be for Firefox to use the Linux system spell
checking, for example GtkSpell (which uses Enchant which uses Voikko),
and same for Chromium. But that didn't happen for the last decade and
most other languages are still served by the Hunspell dictionaries so
it's probably not going to happen easily, and I don't want to be the
one trying to file and push those bugs forward to the
English/Indo-European language browser developers. Alternatively
problem mitigation could include filing bugs for Firefox and Chromium
about not enabling spell-checking by default if the user's UI language
does not have spell checking available.

In the future web apps might also want to have full text analyzing
tools available in addition to simple browser spell checking, but the
trend will likely be hard-coding certain languages support from some
proprietary vendors instead of there being a common open library that
could be integrated anywhere and that could have Voikko support. A
common layer to hook into eg web office suites would be nice of

Mobile use will also continue to replace traditional desktop use and
getting integrated there is likewise a challenge. Technically Ubuntu
Phone and other open efforts would be the closest ones to get into.
Ubuntu uses Oxide (Chromium based) engine on the phone browser. But I
guess the web app usage via Javascript libraries and such would be of
bigger importance than system level integration, since browsing wise
average people need spell-checking only in special occasions.


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