StarDict TUI and GUI
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Přemysl Eric Janouch 4d95f46d36
Bump termo
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cmake describe a more precise fix 3 months ago
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StarDict Terminal and Graphical UI

sdtui aims to provide an easy way of viewing translation as well as other kinds of dictionaries in your terminal, and is inspired by the dictionary component of PC Translator. I wasn’t successful in finding any free software of this kind, GUI or not, and thus decided to write my own.

The project is covered by a permissive license, unlike vast majority of other similar projects, and can serve as a base for implementing other dictionary software.


As a recent addition, there is now an alternative GTK+ 3 based frontend as well, called sdgui. It shares its dictionary list with sdtui, but styling will follow your theme, and may be customized from gtk.css.


Regular releases are sporadic. git master should be stable enough. You can get a package with the latest development version from Archlinux’s AUR.


See the man page for information about usage. The rest of this README will concern itself with externalities.

Building and Running

Build dependencies: CMake, pkg-config, asciidoctor, librsvg (for the GUI)
Runtime dependencies: ncursesw, zlib, ICU, termo (included), glib-2.0 >= 2.38, pango, xcb, xcb-xfixes (the latter two optional for the TUI), gtk+-3.0 (for the GUI)

$ git clone --recursive
$ mkdir sdtui/build
$ cd sdtui/build
$ make

To install the application, you can do either the usual:

# make install

Or you can try telling CMake to make a package for you. For Debian it is:

$ cpack -G DEB
# dpkg -i sdtui-*.deb

Having the program installed, simply run it with a StarDict .ifo file as an argument. It is, however, preferable to configure it to load your dictionaries automatically.


With the help of Mingw-w64 and WINE, sdgui will successfully cross-compile for Windows. It isn’t particularly usable on that system, if only because selection watching is a very X11/Wayland-specific feature. Beware that build dependencies take up almost a gigabyte of disk space.

$ sh cmake/
$ cmake -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=cmake/Win64CrossToolchain.cmake \
  -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release -B build
$ cmake --build build -- package


This application is intended for use with specific dictionaries: each line should contain one short word definition. Moreover, the only supported content types are plain text, Pango markup, and XDXF (the visual format works better).

The make dicts command will build some examples from freely available sources:

  • GNU/FDL Czech-English dictionary

  • Czech foreign words

  • Czech WordNet 1.9 PDT (synonyms, hypernyms, hyponyms)

You can use the included transform tool to convert already existing StarDict dictionaries that are nearly good as they are. Remember that you can change the sametypesequence of the resulting .ifo file to another format, or run dictzip on .dict files to make them compact.

Further Development

While I’ve been successfully using sdtui for many years now, some issues should be addressed before including the software in regular Linux and/or BSD distributions:

  • The tab bar doesn’t handle overflows well in the TUI.

  • The GUI doesn’t support text selection, and is awkward to configure.

  • Lacking configuration, standard StarDict locations should be scanned.

Given all issues with the file format, it might be better to start anew.

Contributing and Support

Use to report any bugs, request features, or submit pull requests. git send-email is tolerated. If you want to discuss the project, feel free to join me at ircs://, channel #dev.

Bitcoin donations are accepted at: 12r5uEWEgcHC46xd64tt3hHt9EUvYYDHe9


This software is released under the terms of the 0BSD license, the text of which is included within the package along with the list of authors.