08 January 2012

41. Chinese character and input support on debian testing

Update: You should also install support for gtk and gtk3:
sudo apt-get install ibus-gtk3 ibus-gtk
in order to be able to use it with e.g. thunderbird.

Original post:
Here's how to set up Chinese (simplified) support in Gnome 3 /gnome-shell and the terminal (bash).

First install the fonts:
sudo apt-get install fonts-arphic-*

Next. add Chinese via locales:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales


(For traditional characters choose zh_HK, zh_SG or zh_TW)

As default language English is probably a good idea
In my case it's en_AU.UTF-8

Edit ~/.bashrc and add the following lines:

source .bashrc

Install ibus:
sudo apt-get install ibus-pinyin 
This pulls another 18 packages with it

Start ibus-daemon in terminal
An icon in the notification tray still appear
Right-click, choose Preferences (P)
Click on the second tab (input methods)
Select an input method -> Chinese -> Pinyin

You should now be able to choose between regular (latin) input and Chinese characters using Ctrl+Space.

To make ibus-daemon start with gnome, run
and add

And you're more or less done.

Sogou is a popular pinyin database on the Windows platform -- but afaik it's not available for Linux. On Linux, it seems that the ibus-pinyin-db-open-phrase database is the default ibus database used to guess what characters you intend to type, but you can also install and select either ibus-googlepinyin or ibus-pinyin-db-android. After installation you need to select the database by going to preferences in the ibus daemon and selecting it as input method. Not being Chinese I can't tell whether sogou, google pinyin and android pinyin are comparable.

Sogou does however work with Google Chrome/Chromium on linux -- go to Preferences/Extensions -- Get More Extensions, and install the Sogou Cloud Pinyin Extension for Chrome.

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