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DICOD(8) GNU Dico Reference DICOD(8)


dicod - GNU dictionary server


dicod [-ETVfist] [-D SYMBOL[=VALUE]] [-I DIR] [-L DIR] [-x LEVEL-SPEC] [--config=FILE] [--config-help] [--debug=LEVEL-SPEC] [ --define=SYMBOL[=VALUE]] [ --foreground] [--include-dir=DIR] [--inetd] [--lib-dir=DIR] [ --lint] [--no-preprocessor] [--no-transcript] [ --preprocessor=PROG] [--single-process] [ --source-info] [--stderr] [--syslog] [ --trace-grammar] [--trace-lex] [--transcript]
dicod [OPTIONS] -r|--runtest MODULE [ARG...] [ -- ARG...]
dicod -h
dicod --help
dicod --usage
dicod --version


This manpage is a short description of GNU dicod. For a detailed discussion, including examples and usage recommendations, refer to the GNU Dico Manual available in texinfo format. If the info reader and GNU Dico documentation are properly installed on your system, the command
info dico
should give you access to the complete manual.
You can also view the manual using the info mode in emacs(1), or find it in various formats online at
If any discrepancies occur between this manpage and the GNU Dico Manual, the later shall be considered the authoritative source.


Dicod is a dictionary server daemon. It implements the DICT protocol defined in RFC 2229.
Dicod is a part of GNU Dico, a package that provides, apart from the server itself, a set of loadable modules and a command line client program dico(1).
Upon startup, the server reads its configuration file /etc/dicod.conf, loads and initializes the dictionary modules defined there and starts serving requests.
When started in daemon mode (which is the default), dicod listens for incoming connections on sockets requested in its configuration. When an incoming connection arrives, the server spawns a copy of itself dedicated for serving that particular connection. Unless configured otherwise, in this mode dicod detaches itself from the controlling terminal and operates in background.
In inetd mode the server listens on DICT requests on its standard input stream and sends replies to its standard output stream. As the name indicates, this mode is intended for use with inetd(8) or a similar daemon.


Program Mode

Preprocess configuration file and exit. See the section PREPROCESSOR below.
-i, --inetd
Run in inetd mode.
-t, --lint
Check configuration file syntax and exit.
-r, --runtest
Run unit tests for module. The arguments that follow this option are collected into two arrays: arguments up to the -- marker (or end of line, if it is not present) form the vector that is passed to the module's dico_run_test function. If the -- marker is present, arguments that follow it are collected into a separate argument vector starting from slot 1, its 0th element is set to point to the module name and the resulting vector is passed to the dico_init function of the module.
When running unit tests, configuration file is ignored. The diagnostic messages are printed to the standard error output.


Read configuration from FILE, instead of /etc/dicod.conf.
-f, --foreground
Operate in foreground.
-s, --single-process
In daemon mode, process connections in the main process, without starting subprocesses for each connection. This means that the daemon is able to serve only one client at a time. This option is intended for debugging purposes only. Never use it in production environment.
Output diagnostic to stderr. Useful only together with --foreground.
After successful startup, output any diagnostic to syslog. This is the default.


-T, --transcript
Enable session transcripts. This instructs dicod to log all commands it receives and all responses it sends during the session. Transcript is logged via the default logging channel. If syslog is enabled, the debug priority is used.
Disable session transcript.
Include source line information in the debugging output.
Trace configuration file parser.
Trace configuration file lexer.
-x, --debug=NUMBER
Set debug verbosity level. The argument is an integer ranging from 0 (no debugging, default) to 100 (maximum debugging information).

Preprocessor Control

-D, --define=SYMBOL[=VALUE]
Define preprocessor symbol SYMBOL. Optional VALUE supplies the new symbol value. This option is passed to the preprocessor verbatim.
-I, --include-dir=DIR
Add the directory DIR to the list of directories to be searched for preprocessor include files.
Do not use external preprocessor.
Use PROG as a preprocessor for configuration file.

Additional information options

Show a summary of configuration file syntax and available statements.
-V, --version
Print program version.
-h, --help
Print a short summary of command line options.
Display a short usage message.


Prior to parsing, dicod configuration file is preprocessed using m4(1). It is invoked with `-s' flag, instructing it to include line synchronization information in its output. This information is then used by the parser to display meaningful diagnostic.
The include path is set initially to the following two directories:
It can be further modified using the -I (--include-directory) command line option.
If the file pp-setup is found in the include path, it is sourced before the configuration file. This can be used to provide macros and constants for the configuration.
The default pp-setup file changes the quote characters to [ and ], and renames all m4 built-in macros so they start with the prefix m4_. The latterr has the effect similar to that of GNU m4 --prefix-builtin option, but has an advantage that it works with other m4 implementations as well.
Additional definitions can also be provided from the command line using the -D ( --define) option.
To view preprocessed configuration, use the -E option. It prints the preprocessed text on the standard output.
To disable preprocessing, use the --no-preprocessor option.


dicod.conf(5), dico(1), RFC 2229.
Complete GNU Dico manual: run info dico or use emacs(1) info mode to read it.
Online copies of GNU Dico documentation in various formats can be found at:


Sergey Poznyakoff


Report bugs to <>.


Copyright © 2008-2018 Sergey Poznyakoff
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.
September 25, 2018 GNU DICO