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Ubuntu 11 Chinese Setup

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A Quick Start Guide to
Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) & Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot)
Chinese Setup, Input Methods, Fonts & Preferences


Ubuntu 11 logoUbuntu Chinese input: zhongwen shezhi


Setting up Chinese input methods in Ubuntu 11 is very similar to Ubuntu 10, except for the location of a few items in the new Unity interface.

If Unity will not work on your PC, use my instructions for Ubuntu 10 Chinese setup. But just because the installer says you cannot run Unity does not mean this is permanent!

If you cannot run Unity after installation, go ahead and log into the "classic" Gnome interface, and try to install proprietary drivers for your graphics card. Ubuntu may automatically present this option to you shortly after your first login. Then you should be able to restart and boot into the full Unity experience.

No need to install a fully localized Chinese Ubuntu desktop. Just click EnglishBut I'm getting ahead of myself! Let me first mention that during the initial installation, at the Welcome screen (a slice of which is shown to the right), you will be asked to pick a display language. --->

It is not necessary to use a fully localized Chinese desktop if you don't want to. Chinese input methods are available in any locale, so you can select "English" or any other language now (but still use Chinese menus later).

After the installation is complete and you have logged into Ubuntu 11 and the new Unity interface, you have more than one way to get into Language Support. One is to click the menu at the upper right of the screen, and select System Settings:

Ubuntu 11 main menu

This will bring up the Control Center, on which you'll find Language Support. Below is a screen shot of 11.04. (It's
closer to the top in 11.10.)

Ubuntu 11 : Control Center : Language Support

In Onieric/11 you'll find Language Support closer to the top of the Settings panel. Another way to find Language Support in Unity is to press the Ubuntu (Windows) key, or click the Dash icon at the upper left, and type "Language" into the search box:

Ubuntu search for Language Support

Either way, you'll find yourself presented with the Language Support panel. For keyboard input method system, select "ibus". (I will discuss adding other options to this menu like SCIM later.) Then click "Install / Remove Languages...".

Language Support panel

After clicking that button you will see the Installed Languages panel. Click the languages you want to install. The "components" you see here will be automatically selected with Chinese, and usually you want to leave them that way. Then click the "Apply Changes" button.

Ubuntu Installed Languages panel : installing Chinese

After the file installation process is complete, log out and log back in:

Ubuntu 11 logout

Then you will see a friendly keyboard icon on the top panel. This example shows the basic Gnome icon:

Ubuntu input method keyboard menu

The keyboard icons look different in 11.04 and 11.10 Unity, but they're still keyboards. If it's not there don't worry...IBus does that sometimes. Later you can set the floating language panel to always display, and you will be able to switch input methods using <Alt-Shift> if nothing else.

Note: if the keyboard icon never appears for you (even after logout/login as mentioned above) open Terminal and enter this:

im-switch -s ibus

Then logout and login again. You should see the keyboard icon now.

There is one more step required to set up at least one Chinese input method:

Ubuntu Chinese IMEs

And you may also be intereted in:

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions, comments and suggestions.

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