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Ispell has a long and convoluted history. Originally called SPELL, it was written by Ralph E. Gorin in 1971. That version was written in assembly language for the DEC PDP-10 to run under the WAITS operating system at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Subsequent versions, also in PDP-10 assembly language, were developed for the BBN TENEX, MIT ITS, and DEC TOPS-10 and TOPS-20 operating systems. It was later revised by W. E. Matson (1974), and W. B. Ackerman (1978), changing its name to ISPELL in the process.
In 1983, Pace Willisson (email@example.com) converted this version to the C language and modified it to work under Unix.
In 1987, Walt Buehring revised and enhanced ispell, and posted it to the Usenet along with a dictionary. In addition, Walt wrote the first version of "ispell.el", the emacs interface.
Geoff Kuenning (geoff@ITcorp.com, that's me, and by the way I pronounce it "Kenning") picked up this version, fixed many bugs, and added further enhancements. In 1988 I got ambitious and rewrote major portions of the code, resulting in the table-driven multi-lingual version. Ken Stevens (firstname.lastname@example.org) made overwhelming contributions to the elisp support to produce the version you are using now.
Due to a misunderstanding involving the Free Software Foundation, it later became necessary to rename this version to ispell to avoid confusion on the part of users.
Many other enhancements and bug fixes were provided by other people. Although I omit mention here due to space, many of these people have also made significant contributions to the version of ispell you see here. For a full list of people who have contributed to ispell, refer to the file `Contributors' which is distributed with the ispell sources.
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