What To Do About Plasma 5 No Longer Having KDict

One of the facts which I’ve written about often, is that I’ve set up a fairly recent computer using Kanotix / Steelfire as a tool, and which has successfully resulted in a Debian / Stretch system, that has Plasma 5.8 as its desktop manager. This computer is named ‘Plato’. And I’ve written some observations about Plasma 5.

What I have never written about, is that there exists a Web-compatible protocol for Dictionary services, that predates Google or Bing, and which is simply known in the Linux world as ‘dictd’. The second ‘d’ stands for Daemon and distinguishes the daemon from client-programs, that will ask the daemon the contents of its dictionary. If you will, a daemon is a kind of lesser server.

With ‘dictd’, we may have our own daemon installed, and can even query one daemon from multiple clients on our LAN. Or, we can just use client-programs, and query standard daemons that are available on the Internet, and that usually have larger databases.

But even to query a remote daemon easily, is more fun, if we have a GUI front-end to do so with, instead of merely a command-line interface. As it happened with KDE 4, there was a client GUI called ‘KDict’, but under Plasma 5 I can’t find it anymore.

And so what I’ve done as a workaround, is to configure ‘Ding’ as my ‘dictd’ client instead.

‘Ding’ has always been a fun program for me, personally, to work with, because what it does most-easily, is provide up-to-date English-German Translations. But in reality, to use its full power, requires that we reconfigure it slightly for use with Debian / Stretch … Plasma 5.

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First of all, the English-German translation-mode only works, if we have the package ‘trans-de-en’ installed. This has usually given me enough fun.

But then, if we drill further into the GUI of ‘Ding’, we see that there is a sub-menu called Preferences -> Search Preferences , which opens up a quaint little dialog-box, that lists all the look-ups that are configured. De <-> En is usually the first in the list.

The devil in the details, which is not pointed out too clearly, is the fact that even though ‘Ding’ used to be based on ‘Hunspell’ in the past, to get it to continue working properly on a Debian / Stretch system, we need to switch it to using ‘ISpell’.

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This also means that we’ll need to install the ‘ingerman’, ‘ibritish-huge’ and related packages as back-ends, and that we’ll need to install the package ‘dict’ (no second ‘d’), to allow ‘Ding’ to act as our ‘dictd’ client, when asked to perform the look-up it simply names “English” as the last in its default list.

But after that, we should find that ‘Ding’ is actually more-flexible than some of us might have expected, because we can create new dictionaries if we like. For example, to complement the online-invocation of ‘dict’, which is the default, we can create a 5th dictionary, that uses ‘dict’ as its back-end, but with the command-line options ‘-h 127.0.0.1′ , to denote, to connect to a presumed ‘dictd’ server running on IP address 127.0.0.1, which is actually the local computer…

Dirk

 

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