Translation(s): English - Italiano

FreeDict - free (multi/bi)lingual dictionaries

This wiki page documents the work flow and the usage of FreeDict dictionary databases in Debian. Users should directly skip to the [[#Using_FreeDict_dictionaries|Using FreeDict dictionaries]] section.

About FreeDict

The FreeDict project aims at providing free (multi|bi)lingual dictionary (databases) and this team aims at packaging the latest versions to include at both in Ubuntu and Debian Stable/Unstable.

The preferred editable form of the data is in TEI/XML a file format under active maintenance by the Text Encoding Initiative.


The source can be obtained by checking out:

git clone

If you have an alioth account, check out:

git clone ssh://<username>

Using FreeDict dictionaries

A list of dictionaries can be obtained e.g. through

aptitude search dict-freedict

You can install all dictionaries using

apt-get install dict-freedict-all

(if anyone wants that ;-)).

In addition to the dictionary databases you need a program to view them. You have two options:

Build Process

Explanation Of Files Under debian/


The database of databases with information about the size, author, name and download destination can be found at This data is used to construct a freedict.orig.tar.gz (the original source) which is then imported.

For performance issues, the freedict-database.xml (with all the dictionary information in it) is cached, one should run

debian/ -x

to get the latest version.

get orig.tar.gz distribution

In order to fetch the latest FreeDict source, one executes

debian/ -f

The usage is explained in the first lines of the mentioned file. After this, the orig.tar.gz-file can be imported with git-import-orig from the git-buildpackage utilities.


From time to time, one should also update the debian/iso.*-file with the language codes, used to translate the short dictionary names like afr-deu into long names for package descriptions. They can be found at


debian/control is auto-generated.<<br>> Modifications for the source package should be done in debian/control.HEAD, everything else is then generated with

debian/ -dc


debian/copyright is also semi-auto-generated. The command

debian/ -dc

generates the copyright (and control) file. The generated file MUST be checkd afterwards.

The generation consists of the following steps:

The Actual Build Process

There is essentially only a loop going through all directories and executing <tt>make</tt>.

One special exception is hung-eng and eng-hun, where the database is extracted from a special file before the above explained run.

Contact And Help Wanted!

Our mailing list can be joined by sending a mail to or by visiting the subscription page. The posting address is The archive can be found at

We have also an IRC channel, just join us on in the #debian-freedict channel!

We always need help, be it sporadic or permanent help, it is always welcome.

Currently, the team consists of:

* Sebastian Humenda as packager * S├ębastien Villemond as package uploader/co-maintainer

Please see also our to do section.

To Do / Roadmap (?)

Have a look at the current bugs:


Further things to be done: