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Pinyin tone marks in X11 from the keyboard / scim pinyin tones ?


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I'm running Arch Linux on a MacBook, and I miss the functionality I had on Mac OS X with the "US Extended" keyboard layout where I could type option (alt) + a, e, v, or ` for first (macron), second (acute accent), third (breve), or fourth (grave accent) tone, respectively. I use SCIM for 漢字, but it doesn't appear to support inputting actual Pinyin. I don't think imron's Pinyin IME runs on Linux, and even if it did, I'd prefer being able to type the diacritic marks without changing IMEs.

In my xorg.conf I set my right command/apple key to be the Multi_key/compose key for /usr/share/X11/locale/en_US.UTF-8/Compose but only second tone, fourth tone, and first tone for e, i, and u works. + _ + a and + _ + o don't give macrons for some reason, I can't insert breves, and I have no clue how to insert ü with a tone mark. My XkbLayout is set to "us". Has anyone had better success with us_intl? Although the Gentoo Wiki seems to suggest that us_intl is deprecated and that one should use the line "XkbOptions" "lv3:ralt_switch" in their xorg.conf instead. Has anyone gotten Pinyin tone marks to work in Linux? I don't use a desktop environment (ratpoison all the way :mrgreen: ), so please don't tell me anything specific to GNOME or KDE. Thanks in advance.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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I use Kubuntu 8.04 so "your mileage may vary". To input pinyin tone marks with SCIM, I set the input method to:

"Chinese (Simplified) -> zh-pinyin"

Now, to get zh-pinyin on KUbuntu you need to have the packages scim-m17n and m17n-db installed. Maybe the way to find out what you need for your distribution is to search the packages for m17n.

BTW, I believe this solution is not dependent on having Gnome or KDE.

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  • 3 weeks later...


My wife teaches Chinese and uses Pinyinput on a Windows PC to enter Pinyin into word docs and powerpoints etc. She is thinking of buying an Asus eeePC, would the app described in this post work on the Linux version of an eeePC? (i.e. would she be able to enter pinyin -with all the funny marks above the letters - into OpenOffice documents?).

I have very little knowledge or experience of installing apps on Linux systems (I have a general idea about what packages are for, but I would not know how to search for them or install them), but I know people that have extensive experience of Linux (but none of Chinese IMEs), so even if it is quite complicated to set up I could probably get it done.

If I am on the wrong track, can anyone suggest an app that would allow the user of an eeePC (Linux version) to enter Pinyin into docs and presentations?

Many thanks


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Xandros, the Linux distribution that comes preinstalled on the non-Windows models of the Eee, is based on Debian GNU/Linux, which uses the package manager called Apt. Your wife could probably just type "apt-get install scim-m17n" (without the quotes) from the command-line, which would automatically download and install the necessary software. SCIM should let your wife input both Chinese characters and plain Pinyin in any application that supports unicode. OpenOffice.org, for example, is a free office suite that your wife could use to create MS Office-compatible documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. SCIM should work fine with it.

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I have it working just fine on my EEE PC 900, the only trick was that I needed to uninstall GCIN (which sucked for pinyin input) and install SCIM. I think the 70X series come with SCIM as default.

Once that's done, you'll need to install the m17n package, and the SCIM (scim-m17n) interface for it. If you know people who are good with Linux, this shouldn't be a problem for them. I have it running on my EEE and my Home PC with no problems :D. I don't think I encountered any problems installing it on my EEE. Had minor issues with SCIM, but that's because I stuffed up my Locale info. Not something you'll need to worry about.

Oh, and there's a *lot* of input methods added by the M17N package. The one you want is called zh-pinyin, and it's found under Chinese. Disable every other IME that you don't need (You'll probably want 智能拼音 if you want to enter Chinese text via Pinyin). Again, a moderately competent Linux person will find this very easy :).

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Being new to the Eec PC 900 I bought this morning, and ignorant about Linux, where's the command line, and do I have to be connected to the Internet to get/use a (preferably Pinyin) IME for Chinese? Or easier still, do you know of any Shanghai people that could help me bring those things about in ten days from now?

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Accessing the terminal is done via CTRL+ALT+T. Yes, you will need to be connected to the internet in order to download what you need. I did actually forget a couple of steps, unfortunately... You will need to add some more repository locations in order to be able to download and install SCIM. Have a look at www.eeeuser.com :)

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