Set up Fcitx for Chinese and Japanese language input on Ubuntu Xenial 16.04

It was time to update to the latest Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Support) release again recently, and it turned out that setting up Fcitx wasn’t quite as simple this time around. Here is what I had to do to get it to work. [...]

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

After recently upgrading to Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr (LTS), I decided to give Fcitx, the default input method framework on Ubuntu’s Chinese sister project Ubuntu Kylin, a try and I was pleasantly surprised. Not only is Fcitx rock-solid and actively developed, it also offers input methods for Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and a bunch of other languages in addition to the default Chinese input methods. Here is how you get it to run on Ubuntu 14.04. [...]

LyX CJK set-up based on XeTeX and xeCJK

I have recently been playing around with LyX and XeTeX, a Unicode extension for TeX, to find a set-up that allows me to switch easily between various East Asian languages without entering LaTeX code. With the help of a few friends, the xeCJK manual and Richard Heck over at the LyX Mailing List, I was able to define LyX Text Styles for Chinese (Simplified and Traditional text), Japanese and Korean that can be selected via the context menu right from within LyX itself, allowing me to focus on the content of my writing and leaving the worrying about Unihan issues to someone else … [...]

Android phones & East Asian language support

Until a few years ago, if you frequently travelled to Asia or wanted to send a message in an East Asian language, you usually had no choice but to buy a mobile phone from the country you’re communicating with. At that time, only a limited number of phones were capable of handling Unicode and displaying East Asian character sets. Thankfully, with the advent of smart phones, and especially Google’s open source Android operating system, this has changed, and mobile phones have become much more international. Today it is possible to have one mobile phone and install support for a whole set of different languages. Basically everything you need to know to fully convert your phone to Chinese, Japanese, Korean or any other language… [...]

How to make Pidgin Unicode compatible

About a year ago I was looking for an alternative to the original QQ software, the biggest chat network in China. One programme I stumbled upon was LumaQQ. Recently, however, when Gaim was renamed to Pidgin, its developers re-introduced a working QQ plugin to their free and popular multi-protocol instant messenger. Pidgin is not the most friendly programme in terms of usability, though, and frequently causes problems for users who need to exchange messages in languages that don’t use Latin characters. I therefore decided to give a few hints on how to make Pidgin more equipped for this type of task.

Pidgin has been around at least as long as Trillian, another popular multi-protocol instant messenger. Trillian has not seen a new release since 2004, however, is becoming increasingly bloated and monetized. From the first “Pro” version onwards, the free version of Trillian retained only a few basic features and its users were excluded from the ability to extend their application by plugins. Both versions kept becoming more resource demanding, although the core functionality remained more or less unchanged. The reason many people use it anyhow is because the original ICQ, MSN and AOL clients are no better. ICQ is bloated, MSN suffers from limited configurability and most importantly: each programme’s interface is cluttered with advertising and other nonsense. Pidgin closes this gap by providing a simple, modular cross-platform chat application. In terms of usability it still needs to catch up, however. We will tackle the most common problems here… [...]