IBus

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Revision as of 20:57, 28 January 2011 by KerrickStaley (talk | contribs) (added more information)
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About IBus

IBus ("Intelligent Input Bus") is an input method framework (a system that facilitates rapid entry of foreign characters). It fills a role similar to that of SCIM and UIM. Ubuntu dropped support for SCIM because it is "unmaintained upstream", whereas IBus is still under active maintenance by Red Hat, so Arch users may want to consider IBus or UIM instead of SCIM for a new install.

Installation and Setup

Installation:

# pacman -Sy ibus

You will need at least one input method, which should correspond to the language you wish to type. For example, for Chinese:

# pacman -Sy ibus-pinyin

To see available input methods, perform

$ pacman -Ss ^ibus-*

(a few other assorted packages will appear; I'm not entirely sure if this will return all available input methods). Now, you need to configure IBus as the user who will use IBus:

$ ibus-setup

It will start the daemon and give you this message, which you should follow if you run into trouble:

IBus has been started! If you can not use IBus, please add below lines in $HOME/.bashrc, and relogin your desktop.
  export GTK_IM_MODULE=ibus
  export XMODIFIERS=@im=ibus
  export QT_IM_MODULE=ibus

Note that although IBus uses a daemon, it is not the sort of daemon managed by the DAEMONS array in /etc/rc.conf: it runs as an ordinary user and will be started for you when you login. Now, all that remains is to configure IBus using the GUI of ibus-setup. The default "General" settings should be fine, but go to "Input Methods" and select your input method(s) in the drop down box, then press "Add". You can use multiple input methods if you wish. Once IBus is set up, you can press Ctrl+Space to use it. When using ibus-pinyin (or ibus-anthy?), first type the pinyin (sans tones) for the characters you wish to type. Press Up and Down repeatedly to select a character (going on to the next page if necessary). Press Space to use a character. You can also use PageUp or PageDown to scroll pages, and use the number keys 1-5 to select the character you need. You can enter multiple characters that form a word or phrase (such as "zhongwen" to enter "中文") at a time. Some input methods, ibus-pinyin among them, will remember which characters you type most frequently and, over time, make suggestions that are more tuned to your typing profile.

Notes on the Above

  • For some reason, you cannot enter text into LibreOffice Writer. The same goes for Kate/Kwrite. I do not know the cause of this. A work-around is to enter text into Gedit (or, presumably, another "simple" editor like Mousepad). If someone figures it out please post to this page.
  • You may have to restart IBus by right clicking the tray icon and choosing "Restart" after performing certain operations.