Belated post on Japanese and multilingualization on Opensuse 10.3

I’m looking at some Linux distro releases and thinking about what to put on the T60. I will be nuking the Opensuse 10.3 that’s currently installed and hacked and kluged to an unacceptable point. Package management has been the main problem with Opensuse. Before I blow it out, I’ll try to remember what I did to get the Japanese running.

I keep the main menus English and a uim applet in the taskbar. That way, I can flip on my anthy input on the fly in most any application I have running. I’m dealing with Gnome and mainly GTK2 applications for now. I’ll write more about KDE and QT later, along with something about dealing with a mixed QT/GTK environment.

Package names? Did I mention I wasn’t expecting to keep that install very long and therefore didn’t pay close attention to package names….Uh Oh. I searched the package manager for uim, anthy, and I think, some combination of gtk and anthy. Also, if you want other languages, like Russian, the m17n-lib package should do the trick. A search of my existing packages gives me these: uim-qt, uim-gtk2, uim, anthy, m17n-lib, kasumi

These are all so far advanced upstream that it is pretty easy to find them in any distro (probably BSD’s too!) without being too nit-picky. Of course, package names and what gets packaged with what may vary between distros.

If you use the uim-applet in Gnome, and want to input Japanese in a QT application, like Konqueror, for instance, it should be as easy as selecting xim for input in the application menu. That is, provided you have uim-xim bridge running. That can be automated with a carefully placed script somewhere in your .kde settings tree. I’ll post again with the script I have on my KDE based desktop, which I’m not in front of at the moment. I got it from a Japanese developer’s blog.

However, just to see if it’s working, use the handy trick of running uim-xim in a terminal with an ampersand, then run Konqueror or whatever QT application from the same terminal and try switching the uim-applet to anthy input. That should allow you to input kanji with anthy in the text areas of Konqueror. Sometimes it’s nice just to see that something can be done first, then it’s easier to get into automating it later.

I won’t bother posting my config files. Just play with the options in the uim-gtk2 config menus; they’re pretty self-explanatory. Once you switch the uim-applet to anthy while a gtk app’s window is active, you can then input hiragana by romaji and then select the proper kanji from the pop-up window. There are too many variations in configuration to go into here. I’ll go into more detail about using anthy, uim, kasumi (a dictionary tool for anthy), and company in Gnome and KDE environments in future posts.


About iamacat
Professional writer and multimedia artist. Having studied Japanese and other non-roman alphabet using languages, I appreciate the particular frustrations of language learners in the computer world. I enjoy helping people get their multilingualization going, no matter what operating system or desktop environment they happen to be in. Being an open source enthusiast, I push uim and anthy without reservation in *nix environments. Although lately, ibus has made things easy in modern Linux distributions, to the point of making much of these old posts moot.

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