Gnome Dictionary should work offline

Bug #19227 reported by Jonathon Conte
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
gnome-utils (Ubuntu)
Ubuntu Desktop Bugs

Bug Description

Gnome Dictionary should use a local database for definitions when internet
access is unavailable. Or better yet, it should not require internet access at
all. I recently installed Ubuntu for a friend who has no experience using Linux
and I watched her become quite perplexed when the dictionary did not perform as
she expected (returning results when offline). Things such as this have a great
impact on usablity.

The following are some dictionary/thesaurus projects that I found that may
suitable on which to base a snapshot for inclusion with Ubuntu:
-ARTFL Project
-Collaborative International Dictionary of English (CIDE)
-GNU Project's Collaborative International Dictionary of English (GCIDE) - GNU
General Public License
-Wiktionary - GNU Free Documentation License

Revision history for this message
Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Thanks for your bug. The issue is known upstream:

Changed in gnome-utils:
assignee: seb128 → desktop-bugs
status: Unconfirmed → Confirmed
Revision history for this message
Gabriele Monti (psicus78) wrote :

You can already use it offline. All you need to do is install the dictd daemon
on your computer and install the desired dictionaries, and set the dictionary
server in gnome-dictionary to localhost.

Changed in gnome-utils:
status: Confirmed → Triaged
Revision history for this message
Bernhard (b.a.koenig) wrote :

Yeah, I don't think this offline library should be default either because it's a lot of data to have on your machine if you don't need it.

Revision history for this message
ubuntu_giant (ubuntu-giant) wrote :

I think by default we should have it off-line. I'm always frustrated that in order to look up a word I need to connect to the Internet.
Also, for me, I tried many times to install dictd, and it failed. I think it would be easier to just have an off-line dictionary stored in some place like /usr/share/apps/gnome-dictionary

Revision history for this message
Col. SC Sood(Retd) (satishsood1) wrote :

Dictionary is an essential requirement all the time. An off-line dictionary must be provided.

Revision history for this message
Mathieu Comandon (strycore) wrote :

As Gabriele Monti, it's possible to use offline dictionnaries by installing the dictd package. But a real bug remains, if no internet connection is present and someone makes a word search with gnome-dictionnary, then the program just hangs (This is easily noticeable with Compiz, the window becomes gray).
The internet connectivity should be tested when the first launch is made with a timeout of 5 seconds for example. If no internet connection is possible, then show a message box warning the user about the issue (it's not very clear that Gnome Dictionnary should be used online in the first place)

Also, the offline method using dictd should be described in the documentation and in the manpage (there is a hint in the manpage in the "see also" section, but I couldn't explore in this direction because ... you know ... no internet connectivity)

Revision history for this message
Baldur (baldurpet) wrote :

The problem seems to be that users have no initiative to install 'dictd' when they're on-line and can't download it when they're off-line, simply because they can't download it when they need it.

I propose asking the user whether he wants to download dictd when he opens the gnome-dictionary for the first time when connected. The dialogue should be short and concise and the download should not interfere with the user's work.

Changed in gnome-utils:
importance: Unknown → Wishlist
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