IBus – now write in your mother tongue – मातृभाषेत लिहा

I love to write in my mother tongue Marathi. For last four years I was using a
wonderful package SCIM for it. But yesterday I upgraded to Kubuntu 10.10 and
found Skim crashing upon start. So decided to ditch it in favour of IBus since
SCIM is not actively developed. Here’s a small howto for getting IBus running
on Kubuntu.

How to configure IBus in Kubuntu 10.10 aka Maverick Meerkat

First install IBus

$ sudo aptitude install ibus ibus-qt4 ibus-gtk ibus-m17n

Now switch input method (don’t use sudo here)

$ im-switch -s ibus

This will create a symlink in $HOME/.xinput.d/ directory.

If you already have symlink in $HOME/.xinput.d/ pointing to a file other than
ibus in /etc/X11/xinit/xinput.d/ directory then remove that symlink. Else the
above command will say File Exists and won’t create a new symlink.

Start IBus setup

Press Alt+F2 and type ibus-setup and press Enter

You will get a IBus Preferences window.

In General tab click Show icon on system tray

In Input Method tab select an input method of your choice and click Add button.

The first method in the list will be your default input method.

Adjust other options to suit to your own choice and close the window.

Starting IBus on KDE Startup

Go to
KMenu -> Applications -> Settings -> System Settings -> System Administration
-> Starup and Shutdown -> Add Program

Then put /usr/bin/ibus-daemon in Text Box and click OK. Now you will get a
Properties Dialog Box.

In that, click on Application tab and put
Name – ibus-daemon
Description – Intelligent Input Bus
Command – /usr/bin/ibus-daemon –desktop=kde –panel=/usr/lib/ibus/ibus-ui-kde
Click OK.

Now Logout of KDE and Login again.

Open text editor and press Control + Space and you should be able to write
in the language you chose as default input method.

EDIT: Additionally, you can export following variables in your ~/.bashrc

export GTK_IM_MODULE=ibus
export QT_IM_MODULE=ibus
export XMODIFIERS=”@im=ibus”


13 thoughts on “IBus – now write in your mother tongue – मातृभाषेत लिहा

  1. allaurus

    I just got installed kubuntu 11.10.
    I would like to use Japanese but, even after I followed step by step your instructions and installed ibus, I can’t get to make it work.
    I’ll try to explain in short what happened. Actually,from beginning when I made ALT+F2, it was not possible to chose the languages. They all show gray, as impossible to select.
    I can see the little icon of ibus but when I click right in order to set the preferences all the languages cannot be selected, as previous. Moreover, it indicates that the input method is OFF.
    Can you please help me with this issue?
    Thanks a lot!

    1. greenmang0 Post author

      What’s the output of “ls -l $HOME/.xinput.d/”? Or may be logging out of current x session may help.

      1. allaurus

        Actually, as you will see the problem I had was also with LibreOffice. Now it works just fine, even in Firefox.
        Your method though is perfect. In order to get ibus runing at startup, it worked just fine for me.
        Thanks again!

      2. greenmang0 Post author

        Glad it worked for you. I used to set these variables when I was using SCIM. These variables are already set for me for some reason. Thanks. Will update the post. 🙂

  2. Raj

    Thanks for the info. Can I ask which input method do you use? I am using itrans(m17n) which is okay except for problems with words like अ‍ॅ, मृ etc.

    1. greenmang0 Post author

      Yes, I use itrans (m17n) only. For “मृ” you could use “mRRi” and for “अ‍ॅ” it should be “a.c”. HTH.

      1. Raj

        Wow! That’s amazing. I have been searching for these for a long time.
        Thank you so much!!
        Is there a keyboard layout available for m17n?

  3. Raj

    Super. You have saved me so much trouble, cannot thank you enough.
    Great blog, by the way. I am using Ubuntu 12.04 and I am always on the lookout for new
    tips. Do keep sharing new information.

    1. greenmang0 Post author

      No problem. I usually blog about things I tend to forget and can refer quickly when needed. Your blog is way too much better than mine. 🙂


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