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SCIM is a commonly used input method which handles writing of non-ascii languages such as chinese, japanese, korean (CJK), and others. This page explains you how to install it for writing chinese.

Install SCIM

To install the scim-pinyin chinese input method in gNewSense, use the terminal and become root:

 sudo -s

then update the software list on your computer with the one of gNewSense:

 apt-get update

finally, install SCIM and the input method you want to use with it:

 apt-get install scim scim-pinyin

Other chinese input methods include scim-chewing and scim-tables-zh.

Then, open SCIM:


Select the input method(s):

Before using SCIM

Choose if you want to write chinese in a chinese or in another language environment.

Activate complete chinese support

If you want to have a complete environement in chinese, you have to enable complete support for chinese. You should be able to type chinese after a reboot.

Write chinese in a non-chinese environment

To type chinese under another environment (e.g. french environment), you need to install the im-switch and scim-bridge packages. From the shell:

 apt-get install im-switch scim-bridge

Note: on gNewSense metad, install scim-bridge-client-gtk instead of scim-bridge.

To know your current locale, do:

 locale | grep "LANG="

you should have something like fr_FR.UTF-8 for french. Then enable SCIM for this locale:

 im-switch -z fr_FR.UTF-8 -s scim-bridge

You also need to edit two files /etc/X11/xinit/xinput.d/scim and /etc/scim/global. For the first file:

 cd /etc/X11/xinit/xinput.d/            # go to that directory
 cp scim scim.old                       # backup current file
 gedit scim                             # edit with gedit

In this file, replace xim by scim in both GTK_IM_MODULE=xim and QT_IM_MODULE=xim expressions.

Save and quit. Edit the second file as well:

 cd /etc/scim/
 cp global global.old
 gedit global

and add your current locale fr_FR.UTF-8 to the first line as in /SupportedUnicodeLocales = en_US.UTF-8,fr_FR.UTF-8. Logout and re-login.

Using SCIM

Warning: the French keyboard layout will not let you select a character using digits once you wrote pinyin, choose the American keyboard layout instead. Just add the keyboard selection tool to the Gnome or KDE taskbar.

Open the application in which you want to write chinese, then press simultaneously the ctrl and space keys to get to the Chinese input method. If it fails, try to simultaneously press the ctrl and shift keys:

Now you can write Chinese!


Documentation/WritingChineseWithSCIM (last edited 2013-08-30 03:04:15 by FelipeLopez)