GNOME and input method integration
Posted Jun 27, 2012 14:00 UTC (Wed) by emk
In reply to: GNOME and input method integration
Parent article: GNOME and input method integration
OK, I just took a look at iBus, and here's what I've found. Note that I'm running Ubuntu 11.04, because that's what shipped on my laptop last November and I haven't upgraded yet. Why haven't I upgraded? The usual reasons:
- I wasn't crazy enough to try the first version of Unity.
- Now that Unity is semi-mature, I've been too busy with paying projects to risk massive breakage.
- I have no idea how much of my laptop's hardware will stop working if I upgrade, even though I paid extra for a high-quality Ubuntu preload from an award-winning vendor.
So, how about iBus?
- The UI actually looks halfway decent. I could like this.
- The keystrokes used for controlling pre-edit are completely different from what I expect. A sequence like "c," automatically commits the "c" instead of waiting for "ç". It looks like I need to type "c1" to get "ç", which is just ridiculous, and would make phonetic input of hieroglyphs unbearable. There's presumably something I'm missing here.
- It looks like I get IPA, hieroglyphics, etc., working by generating big plain-text tables, which isn't too awful. But then again, these are easy scripts.
- It's completely broken for Java apps. I have no KDE or X11 apps lying around, so I can't test those. There's a ibus-kde plugin which hasn't had any commits in two years.
- It breaks Emacs hard, including the XCompose sequences that I use to type French—even if I override the relevant environment variables to tell it to leave Emacs alone. Presumably I can load ibus-mode to integrate with Emacs, but I doubt that's going to fix XCompose. Oh happy joy.
Pretty much par for the course, really. Shiny but broken, and Gnome will ship it long before it's actually in a semi-usable state. And I have no idea what will happen with non-Gnome apps.
And this will be an especially bad transition, because users can't actually complain without fighting through an enormous language barrier. Reading through the threads that our editor linked, I see Chinese users and developers pouring their heart out in badly-broken English. Then the Gnome developers like Owen Taylor just steamroller them with beautiful, eloquent native prose. I've been on the other side of that particular dynamic, and it's no fun at all.
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