sudo apt-get install ibus-gtk3 ibus-gtkin order to be able to use it with e.g. thunderbird.
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:
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 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.