Working With Text
Pages: 1, 2
Let's say you're typing out that memo to your boss and you can't remember if the word "actually" has one or two "l"s. The quickest way to find out is to run the
look utility at another virtual terminal like so:
look actualactual actualism actualist actualistic actuality actualization actualize actually actualness
Notice that I just supplied the root word "actual" and received all of the possibilities that could be added to that root, including the one I was looking for. I've yet to find a quicker way to get the correct spelling of a word, along with other possibilities that I may actually prefer.
However, if you are a terrible speller, you may prefer an interactive spell checker that will check an entire document for you. Both
ispell in the ports collection will do this for you. Both utilities can be run from the command line, and
aspell can be integrated into e-mail readers and other editors. Let's take a quick look at both; I'll start with
ispell. If you've installed the ports collection, become root, make sure you're connected to the Internet, and type:
cd /usr/ports/textproc/ispell make && make install
When it's finished installing, leave the superuser account. If you are in the C shell, type:
Now let's create a quick text file with some spelling mistakes:
cd ~ cat > typos This is a very quik file to demunstrate my terruble spelling. ^d
To spellcheck this file using
which will highlight the first mispelled word and give you various options on dealing with the misspelling like so:
quik File: typos This is a very quik file 00: quib 01: quick 02: quid 03: quin etc.[SP] <number> R)epl A)ccept I)nsert L)ookup U)ncap Q)uit e(X)it or ? for help
Note the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. Since the correct spelling has been offered, if you press "r," then "1," and Enter, "quik" will be replaced with "quick," and
ispell will move on to the next misspelled word. When you are finished, type "x" to save your changes; if you decide that you preferred your misspellings, use "q" to exit without saving the changes.
ispelldictionary; this is most useful for acronyms or personal names. To do this, press "i" to insert into the dictionary. These inserts will be stored in a file in your home directory called
.ispell_english. To find about the other useful features of
ispell, use the "?" while in
ispell, or read its manpage.
ispell is easy to use, it won't catch all of your misspellings. If I was a really terrible speller and had written this line in the typos file:
This is a veery kwik file
ispell would bypass the word "veery" completely and only offer the word "kaik" as a substitute for "kwik".
aspell on this file. Again, as root and while connected to the Internet, type:
cd /usr/ports/textproc/aspell make && make install
Don't forget to leave the superuser account and
cd back to your home directory when you are finished. Let's quickly overwrite that typos file with the
cd cat > typos This is a veery kwik file. ^d
The syntax to use
aspell is a little longer than
ispell; don't forget the word
check, or you'll receive a syntax error.
aspell check typosThis is a *veery* kwik file. 1) very 6) veers 2) veer 7) weary 3) Vera 8) every 4) vary 9) verier 5) leery 0) were i) ignore I) Ignore all r) Replace R) Replace all a) Add x) Exit ?
Note that the misspelled word is in asterisks instead of highlighted; it did catch the word "veery" that
ispell missed. Also, instead of a menubar at the bottom, the actions are mixed in with the possible spelling options. If we were to continue spell checking this file,
aspell would also give a viable alternative to the word "kwik".
Usually I would tell you to read the manpage for
aspell to see all of its features, but it does not have one. Instead, you'll have to:
to find its documentation. You could then open up the file
manual.html in your favorite web browser and follow the hyperlinks. The manual is well worth browsing, especially if you would like to integrate
aspell into your e-mail reader.
In next week's article, we'll take a look at the Webmin utility found in the ports collection.
Dru Lavigne is a network and systems administrator, IT instructor, author and international speaker. She has over a decade of experience administering and teaching Netware, Microsoft, Cisco, Checkpoint, SCO, Solaris, Linux, and BSD systems. A prolific author, she pens the popular FreeBSD Basics column for O'Reilly and is author of BSD Hacks and The Best of FreeBSD Basics.
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