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dummy needs to input unicode: can u help him?

 
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jamtat
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 3:24 pm    Post subject: dummy needs to input unicode: can u help him? Reply with quote

Ok. First apologies. I did a bit of searching of the archive under the term "unicode" but there was too much there to go through all, or even most, of it. So I apologize if this has been covered and I missed it. If you could point me to the proper thread, I would be delighted and would humbly desist from this one.

Second: call me stupid, I don't care any more. I've been trying to read documentation for some time on unicode in the hope it would help me be able to enter it into my computer and I just don't get it. Of course my Windows "friends" all taunt me with assertions like:" I got this great keyboard switching program that allows me to switch between inputting hundreds of different fonts, and it's great!" And here I sit, ideologically sequestered in my little Linux (Debian) world, unable to match their easy success with my "superior" operating system. I've finally decided to forsake all pride and expose my stupidity to the world. How in the hell can I input unicode into my computer - specifically into OpenOffice? I just want to be able to type Russian, Greek or other characters (as opposed to clicking some keyboard map with a mouse). This can be done, can't it? Tell me I'm an absolute moron and am overlooking the most obvious detail for accomplishing this task, but please, JUST TELL ME HOW TO DO IT! PLEASE!

I've tried various things I can think of in the OO interface, but have met with no success. Is this an issue that goes deeper into the OS than just the word processor (e.g., like maybe I don't have X configured right or something)? Help! HALP!!

Thanks, James
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ftack
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Similar as on the Windows systems, this must be a system matter. Similarly as in Windows, in Linux you need to switch language settings from within the operating system, not within open office. In order to be able to switch languages, the 'locales' (as they are called in Linux) must be installed. For sure Linux is an OS where one user can login and have a spanish desktop, spanish gimp and a spanish OOo. Another user logs in and he has a russian desktop, a russian gimp and a russian OOo. With windows, for such a situation, you are kindly requested to buy both a Spanish and a Russian copy of the OS and install these in separate partitions. So Linux is definitely vasty superior in this one. The only thing is to find out how it all works, and for Linux, that isn't always easy. Sorry I can't give you practical details and hints (don't have a Linux system handy) but I hope others can give you a hint of where to look.
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jamtat
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for not capitalizing on my idiocy ftack, and for making intelligent responses to my stupid questions. I do hope someone can give me some more specific advice on doing this in Debian Linux. I'll be waiting to see. I will point out though, that if you're talking about the operating system and the OOo user interface, that is not what I need to appear in another language. I don't need OS "localization" as I think it's called. That should all be in English. But I really would like the ability to switch my keyboard/input language in the word processor (and mayne some other apps) so I could type a document in Russian or Greek. I think you've understood this, but at the same time were mentioning what I think of as "localization." Just to clarify, I have (and want) US English localization on this computer. I just want to be able to switch input languages from time to time. Since everyone raves about unicode, I'd like to be able to do this using unicode fonts. That way, I can get sweet revenge on my Windows (Windows is a registered trademark of the Microsoft corporation) "friends" by taunting them with my "superior" operating system once again.

James
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ftack
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I understood that for you it is just a matter of being able to switch keyboard languages, but all this is related. Anyway, you shouldn't blame yourself for asking this, because noone who didn't use Linux before knows this. In Linux, the way to install different languages for your keyboard may differ between distributions. Some distro's will provide graphical tools that you'll locate easily, other distro's will need you to edit config files. Changes are also, with certain distro's, that you first will need to install locales before you can find tools to change them. But again, I don't know myself either and perhaps someone else will be able to help. I advise you, however, to look for Linux user groups, preferably a Debian group since you use that. Adequate response should come quickly there.
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jamtat
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I tried that a long time ago, ftack. I posted a message to the linux-newbie list, to which I received only 1 (rather unhelpful) response. You see, those people who know Linux well enough to know how to do such things off the tops of their heads are the self-same people who would never need to do it. They are, for the most part, programmers or sysadmins. Their typical needs are quite far from needing to compose documents using foreign fonts/keyboard mappings in a word processing program like OOo. Those who are somewhere between me (joe blow productivity computer-user with the gall to try and stick to using Linux) and the adepts who can easily do this and instruct others how to do it are apparently very few and far between. Since I didn't find them on linux-newbie, I thought there might be some here. Maybe not . . .

James
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jamtat
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Found the following at http://www.jw-stumpel.nl/stestu.html

Quote:
2. UTF-8 support under Linux
In what follows I investigate the state of UTF-8 support under Linux. ‘Support’ has several different aspects:

1. Applications must be able to accept UTF-8 strings and files, and must be able to display them.
2. You should be able to perform keyboard input, in a variety of languages, easily.
3. Printing UTF-8 files, web pages, etc., should work.
4. Copying (by selection from the screen) and pasting from one application to another should work.

In all these areas, MS Windows performs pretty well. If you install the correct fonts, and Microsoft’s ‘Global IME’ components for input, your computer becomes, in effect, multilingual. Mozilla and Firefox probably are the best M17N browsers on Windows; Microsoft Internet Explorer does not display, e.g., the ‘hand’ symbols on this page, although they are perfectly valid UTF-8.

For Linux, the picture is mixed. Display of UTF-8 largely works (if you have the correct fonts, of course); but really complicated scripts like Devanagari do not seem to have good support (supported in Openoffice, but not in Mozilla). xterm, and several text-based utilities like less, now support UTF-8 (but by no means all text-based utilities do). Copying & pasting mostly works. Printing works pretty well if you take some trouble (see section 9 of this document). True multi-lingual keyboard input works only in Gnome/GTK2 applications; there is no universal input facility in Linux like ‘Global IME’ that works with all applications


That page was last updated 9/19/2004, so seems pretty current. It explains a bit about why entering unicode is not as straightforward on Linux as it is on Windows ("no universal input facility . . . like 'Global IME'" in Windows). He goes on to give some directions for my distribution - Debian - that involve running "dpkg-reconfigure locales" (from the command line, of course) to select a unicode "locale" for your local environment. In my case (I'm in the USA and use US English as the default language for my system and its interface), it seems like I'd select "LANG=en_US.UTF-8" or something like that as my locale. Oddly, since he says Gnome is the only desktop with true multi-lingual support, and since I recently started using the Gnome desktop environment, I should be in good shape for implementing this. But appearances are, perhaps, deceiving. You see, I use Debian unstable, and from what I can gather, I am probably being held up at the moment by the fact that something involving XFree and locales is broken. When I try to run "dpkg-reconfigure locales" on my machine I get "locales is broken or not fully installed." When I try to select the keyboard layout I discovered in the Gnome desktop preferences menu I discovered, ti crashes with some error about the XFree version I'm using. So maybe my problem is not really my own lack of configuration or ability to do it, but with the instability of the distro I'm using?

James
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jamtat
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jamtat wrote:
Found the following at http://www.jw-stumpel.nl/stestu.html

Quote:
2. UTF-8 support under Linux
In what follows I investigate the state of UTF-8 support under Linux. ‘Support’ has several different aspects:

1. Applications must be able to accept UTF-8 strings and files, and must be able to display them.
2. You should be able to perform keyboard input, in a variety of languages, easily.
3. Printing UTF-8 files, web pages, etc., should work.
4. Copying (by selection from the screen) and pasting from one application to another should work.

In all these areas, MS Windows performs pretty well. If you install the correct fonts, and Microsoft’s ‘Global IME’ components for input, your computer becomes, in effect, multilingual. Mozilla and Firefox probably are the best M17N browsers on Windows; Microsoft Internet Explorer does not display, e.g., the ‘hand’ symbols on this page, although they are perfectly valid UTF-8.

For Linux, the picture is mixed. Display of UTF-8 largely works (if you have the correct fonts, of course); but really complicated scripts like Devanagari do not seem to have good support (supported in Openoffice, but not in Mozilla). xterm, and several text-based utilities like less, now support UTF-8 (but by no means all text-based utilities do). Copying & pasting mostly works. Printing works pretty well if you take some trouble (see section 9 of this document). True multi-lingual keyboard input works only in Gnome/GTK2 applications; there is no universal input facility in Linux like ‘Global IME’ that works with all applications


That page was last updated 9/19/2004, so seems pretty current. It explains a bit about why entering unicode is not as straightforward on Linux as it is on Windows ("no universal input facility . . . like 'Global IME'" in Windows). He goes on to give some directions for my distribution - Debian - that involve running "dpkg-reconfigure locales" (from the command line, of course) to select a unicode "locale" for your local environment. In my case (I'm in the USA and use US English as the default language for my system and its interface), it seems like I'd select "LANG=en_US.UTF-8" or something like that as my locale. Oddly, since he says Gnome is the only desktop with true multi-lingual support, and since I recently started using the Gnome desktop environment, I should be in good shape for implementing this. But appearances are, perhaps, deceiving. You see, I use Debian unstable, and from what I can gather, I am probably being held up at the moment by the fact that something involving XFree and locales is broken. When I try to run "dpkg-reconfigure locales" on my machine I get "locales is broken or not fully installed." When I try to select the keyboard layout I discovered in the Gnome desktop preferences menu, it crashes with some error about the XFree version I'm using. So maybe my problem is not really my own lack of configuration or ability to do it, but with the instability of the distro I'm using?

James
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jamtat
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A follow-up report with some limited success to report - despite the problems with the xserver I noted previously. Further reading in that smae article I posted a link for put me onto setxkbmap, which can be run from the command line in a terminal, as follows: "setxkbmap ru" - which changes the mapping and font to Russian. I tried it in OOo and it actually worked! (Russian letters appeared). However I lost the ability to type anything in the console after this, I guess because the console doesn''t use unicode or any other Russian-friendly font. Took a bit of creativity to get Englsih back (had to type out "setxkbmap us" using the character map in OOo, then copy and paste that intot he console). So this was at least partly successful. It's not really the keyboard layout I wanted: I need phonetic Russian rather than standard Russian keyboard layout. Also, this method causes all X applications to have Russian input: though I think the Gnome keyboard switcher must work in the same way, there do seem to be apps that allow keyboard switching on a per app basis. So, until I find the name of a Russian phonetic keyboard that setxkbmap can use - not to mention a Greek one, which I also need, I'm only partway there at best. But I have had some success. This is all for Debian, so if you use a different distro and try what I've done, your mileage may vary.

James
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jamtat
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I discovered the informational file /etc/X11/xkb/README.config on my Debian unstable system. Don't know if you'll find anything like it on your distro's file system. But it actually describes setting up keyboard map switching by entering certain values into your XF86Config-4 file. I should mention that this probably only works with very recent versions of XFree86: mine is 4.3.0something (latest Debian unstable as of 9/27/04). Anyway, here's the relevant lines:

Quote:
Let's say you want to configure your new Logitech cordless desktop keyboard, you intend to use three different layouts at the same time - us, czech and german (in this order), and that you are used to Alt-Shift combination for switching among them.

Then the configuration snippet could look like this:

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Keyboard1"
Driver "Keyboard"
Option "XkbModel" "logicordless"
Option "XkbLayout" "us,cz,de"
Option "XKbOptions" "grp:alt_shift_toggle"
EndSection


I tried this and, after shutting down and restarting X, alt-shift did, in fact, toggle between keyboards. I replaced "us,cz,de" with "us,ru,el" in accord with my needs (need to enter Russian and Greek text sometimes), and alt-shift toggled between English, Russian and Greek keyboards in OOo. So, I'm kinda gettin' there. Problem now is I'm having a hard time getting a phonetic Russian keyboard layout. I also have no diacriticals on the Greek keyboard layout I've selected.

This seems like one way - at least with new releases of XFree86 - to accomplish this keyboard switching our Windows "counterparts" (heh, if you can even call'em that! Smile ) use.

James
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jamtat
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's another link with some information on configuring the xserver (by editing XF86Config-4) to get keyboard switching working: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/showthread.php?s=&threadid=221053 . Of special interest there is an entry that makes the scroll lock light come on when in non-native keyboard mode (grp_led:scroll - eat your hearts out all you Windows systray addicts! Wink )

Quote:
Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
Option "XkbLayout" "si,sr"
Option "XkbOptions" "grp:alt_shift_toggle,grp_led:scroll"


Think I'm getting close to the phonetic Russian keyboard solution. I'm beginning to doubt whether a Greek keyboard map with diacriticals (and so-called "dead keys" to make them appear in the proper relation to other characters) can be found, though. Help on that, anyone?

James
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jamtat
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2004 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have discovered this link - http://www.thessalonica.org.ru/ - which offers a programs that seems like it solves pretty much all unicode input issues under both Linux and Windows for OOo. It's a java program that allows selecting between up to 3 alternate keyboard layouts/unicode fonts. If folks on this forum do not know about it, it looks like the word should be spread. This looks like the real answer to those snooty Windows users who brag about their keyboard switching programs Smile . At least for those Linux users who do not have ideological objections to using java. But he even has an older version of this switcher written in Python for those sorts of purists. Thanks loads, Alexey!

James
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