Set up Fcitx for Chinese and Japanese language input on Ubuntu Trusty 14.04

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19 comments to Set up Fcitx for Chinese and Japanese language input on Ubuntu Trusty 14.04

  • Marc Tremblay

    Good morning,

    I work for a school board in Montreal and we have been converting out older labs and laptops over to Lubuntu and LXLE. We teach two languages, English and French so we need to be able to switch from and english keyboard to the canadian multilingual for French. It was suggested that we install FCITX to be able to do this. Would you be able to tell us how to add the Canadian Multilingual keyboard and then switch between the two keyboard layouts??

    Any help would be greatly appreciated

    • stefan.a

      It may be possible to do this using Fcitx, although I haven’t tried myself. My suggestion would be to look for the keyboard layout you need in the list of input methods that comes up when you open the dialogue window in step 4 above. The primary purpose of frameworks like Fcitx is to give you a way to enter more complex languages, however. So in principle you shouldn’t really need to install Fcitx to simply switch between different keyboard layouts. Have a look at the following pages:

      Hope this helps!

    • nnlajfd

      If it’s just english and french use iBus instead, only drawback of iBus is shitty chinese support

      • stefan.a

        You probably don’t even need an input method for that, since I believe you can switch keyboard layouts independently, at least on Ubuntu. iBus was okay for a time, but its long-standing bugs kept bothering me, so I made the switch to fcitx a while ago, which was a big improvement in terms of usability and stability. As far as I can tell most East Asian Linux distros now use fcitx by default, too.

        • Brian.Ng

          Your link to that bug is not iBus problem. It’s a unimplemented feature which is not currently supported by oracle-java or open-java. The last time I tried Chinese input in java-based program, the input windows was not following the caret, and it was always on the left corner, and that’s just so bad!

          • stefan.a

            Hi Brian! Thanks for clearing this up. I didn’t realise that this was a Java issue, so my bad! I certainly didn’t mean to belittle the iBus developers’ efforts. I simply started having issues with Java input after switching from SCIM to iBus, although I haven’t used SCIM long enough to say anything about its reliability. I have been using fcitx for about a year and a half now and found it more reliable than either iBus or SCIM, though

  • Walberto Ibarra

    Great info, thanks!

    I just want to point out a typo on your last command, it should be:
    sudo dpkg -i sunpinyin-data_0.1.22+20131212-1_amd64.deb

  • luke

    Thank you very much, this works perfectly!

  • joshua

    Sorry, I’m new to linux and using ubuntu14.04 LTS, after step 4 as outlined above, there were no options for chinese despite completing step 5. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • joshua

    This is what I got when i tried to nstall the package via: sudo dpkg -i sunpinyin-data_0.1.22+20131212-1_amd64.deb:

    yoda@yoda-gb238aa-ab4-a6098d:~$ sudo dpkg -i sunpinyin-data_0.1.22+20131212-1_amd64.deb
    dpkg: error processing archive sunpinyin-data_0.1.22+20131212-1_amd64.deb (–install):
    package architecture (amd64) does not match system (i386)
    Errors were encountered while processing:

  • Percy

    Thanks for the nice blog, it worked for me and solved my problems and save me a lot time.

  • Zig

    A million thanks! This is the first website offering instructions that worked for me.

  • Swarup

    I have been using Fcitx for Hindi and Bengali language input in Ubuntu for around two years now, and it is really nice. I am now setting up the very same thing for a friend on his computer, but cannot remember one key step in what I did two years ago! Hoping you can help. The matter relates with your step #5:

    “You should now see a keyboard icon in your system tray in the upper right corner of your screen. Click the icon and choose “Configure Current Input Method”, which should the Input Method Configuration. Clicking the plus “+” sign in the lower left corner of that window will open a small dialogue window. Uncheck the box “Only Show Current Language” and add the input methods you need (more on that below).”

    Here the key is that the input methods I need are not listed in that list, and I need to add them in the list somehow so I can select them. The two input methods I need to add are:


    These are two input methods in m17n. I have these two files on my computer, and need to get them added into the list of input methods available for selection in the window. Thank you!

    • stefan.a

      Thanks for your comment, Swarup. Unfortunately, I am not sure how to do this manually. Have you checked if there are packages available in the official Ubuntu/Debian repositories to install support for those languages you require? Installing language support manually may be possible, but that is something I am not familiar with myself. Sorry!

  • Swarup

    There are definitely packages in the official Ubuntu/Debian repositories to install support for Hindi and Bengali and I already have installed those packages. But these languages have various input method engines, and the ones I need (the two listed above) are not in the official packages. I have already manually installed these two IME’s for use with Fcitx in one computer two years ago. Indeed it is the computer which I still use every day. But I cannot remember how I did it! Do you have the contact information for anyone in the Fcitx development group? I’m sure any of them could refresh my memory with a quick note. But I haven’t been able to find their contact information.

  • kris C

    Thanks very much for all your precious advices !!! It was really bad for me with ibus …
    Now it’s working perfectly!!!

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