Copyright infringement and future of Hunspell

Pander pander at
Thu Nov 16 14:41:21 UTC 2017

Dear László,

Thanks for your message and I understand you might be concerned. If you
want, we can schedule an on-line meeting in order to discuss this
further and hopefully find suitable answers for your questions. Me and
Dimitrij regularly discuss the project on Jitsi. Would you like to join
us one day and talk things through?



On 11/15/2017 07:03 PM, Димитриј Мијоски wrote:
> Hello Nemeth Laszlo,
> I don't see any copyright infringement, as Hunspell allowed LGPLv2.1
> or later, which safely allows us to put out derivative work to LGPLv3.
> And also, ALL copyright notices were kept.
> You can answered much earlier, we created issues both about Mozilla
> funding and about relicensing months ago and NOBODY replied.
> I can assure you, the library is in good hands. There will be FULL
> backward comparability with the dictionary format. Also, FULL backward
> compatibility with the library API will be
> kept. As we develop
> new stuff, we will replace old stuff with new stuff incrementally. At
> some point I was thinking to make v2 with breaking changes but saw it
> is not a good path. Basically, if everything goes good, v2 spelling
> and suggestions will be done by new code, and stemming by the old
> code. We will rewrite our documents accordingly.
> As for the license, I really don't see what is the problem with
> LGPLv3. It is a very open license which allows the library to be used
> pretty much everywhere, including application with more stricter
> licenses like GPL and proprietary licenses, and in more liberal
> licenses like BSD and MIT.
> Again, the library is in good hands. If you want I can even show you
> my computer science degree with the grades.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* Németh László <nemeth at>
> *Sent:* Wednesday, November 15, 2017 6:19:45 PM
> *To:* Dimitrij Mijoski; PanderMusubi
> *Cc:* libreoffice-dev
> *Subject:* Copyright infringement and future of Hunspell
> Hi,
> A week ago you modified Hunspell’s license in the official Hunspell
> repository
> without permission of the author, me, and the main contributor and
> maintainer,
> Caolán McNamara.
> ==================================
> commit d49170ce949dbe0d2e6ad74b6b876e5580704a5e
> Author: Dimitrij Mijoski <dmjpp at <mailto:dmjpp at>>
> Date:   Wed Nov 8 18:30:29 2017 +0100
>     License everything under LGPLv3+. No more three licenses mumbo jumbo.
> commit 6ff9a6fb5a63ee63294131eba7ce4e67624dffa5
> Author: PanderMusubi <pander at
> <mailto:pander at>>
> Date:   Wed Nov 8 16:45:35 2017 +0100
>     improved copyright and authors
> ==================================
> Free licenses and rich functionality helped Hunspell equally to
> spread better multilingual spell checking among desktop and web
> applications, so I don’t plan to replace the recent MPL/LGPL/GPL
> tri-license with LGPL 3.
> Moreover, it’s misleading to refer yourselves as the authors of Hunspell
> (see your change in Hunspell’s AUTHORS file), when you are contributors
> of the project.
> If I right think, these modifications are related to your Mozilla
> funded Hunspell
> development, in which, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take part in it,
> and I didn’t follow  your Mozilla application last year. I read about
> its success(?)
> and your plan to create a spell checker from scratch only a few weeks ago.
> (You have informed Caolán and me only about the first steps of the
> application,
> if I right know.)
> From its name and place in Hunspell repository, “Hunspell 2” is a
> future replacement or successor of Hunspell library and command-line
> executable, but it seems, it’s more like a fork of Hunspell development
> efforts. According to your plan: “That aim for Hunspell 2.0 is to
> recreate the most common functionality in Hunspell 1, and that is
> detection and correction of spelling errors.”
> Reimplementing a subset of the features and dropping dictionary formats
> can result worse spell checking and dictionary incompatibilities between
> applications (as I see in the case of Hungarian dictionary in your
> project).
> “Hunspell 2” won’t contain functions used by LibreOffice, main
> target of Hunspell development. For example, every thesaurus uses
> Hunspell
> for stemming, some of them also for morphological generation.
> You promise the same spelling as in Hunspell, but you’ve already removed
> all unit tests of Hunspell library to the dictionary “v1cmdline”.
> Spell checking of LaTeX, HTML/XML and OpenDocument files will be also
> “dropped” in your development, but this is a basic function of the
> targeted academic publishing and automatized command-line document
> editing.
> As the author of the half of Hunspell’s code base (the second half is
> the work of Kevin Hendricks, author of MySpell), I don’t believe your
> incomplete rewriting from scratch is a viable option with your limited
> resources and experience (one C++ developer, insufficient knowledge
> of the aim, usage and implementation of Hunspell features and
> dictionaries).
> [For example, you wrote the following about the LANG option of Hunspell
> affix file in your analysis: “In the source code is no implementation
> existing. Deprecate this option?”, while this option is really used
> several places in language-specific parts of Hunspell. I have just added
> support for special casing of Crimean Tatar language (extending the
> Turkish and Azeri support – those were mentioned in Hunspell(5) manual
> page), also adapted orthography changes in the special LANG_hu part of
> the
> general compounding functions.]
> See why trying to rewrite from scratch is a huge risk:
> Please, consider Caolán’s more than 700 Hunspell commits: excellent
> and unique code-cleaning based on Red Hat, LibreOffice and Coverity bug
> reports and – partly covering your aims – massive C++11 porting in
> Hunspell library and command-line tool.
> I think, the most important thing is to open Hunspell for more languages,
> supporting research results of the academic sphere (see
>, improving recent
> dictionaries and creating competitive linguistic features, especially for
> LibreOffice.
> I’m glad of that I can work on the Hungarian Hunspell dictionary these
> months supported by Foundation, Hungary, fixing some minor
> problems in Hunspell and LibreOffice, too. Moreover, last week I
> adapted an interesting Hunspell feature to LibreOffice. I think, this
> “Grammar By” improvement of the user dictionaries will be quite useful
> for professional Writer users in several languages:
> I would be glad of fixing the recent regression of the English thesauri
> (morphological descriptions were removed by English dictionary update) in
> LibreOffice, refining parts in Hunspell related to this and to the
> “Grammar By” feature, giving frequency and pronunciation based
> suggestions, avoiding overgeneration in compounding,
> supporting agglutinative and other complex languages better, documenting
> needs of the recent languages supported by LibreOffice and
> adequacy of the related Hunspell features, etc.
> I am still uncertain, what are the priorities of large-scale Hunspell
> developments, and what’s possible to develop, but I’m quite sure,
> there is a better way to develop Hunspell, than relicensing and
> rewriting it from scratch.
> I would be glad if we could talk about it in libreoffice-dev list – and
> later, also in libreoffice-l10n.
> Best regards,
> Laszlo

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