Some New Thoughts about Input Methods

Hi, all.

* The problem of IBus *

I've categorized all the open issues for IBus.
I've been worked a little bit on ibus-table.
So I probably know IBus a littile better now.

1. The origin IBus UI is not native on all moderns DEs.
1.1 Without ibus-gjs, IBus UI looks odd in GNOME Shell environment.
1.2 IBus doesn't have built-in support of Kimpanel.
1.3 Ubuntu people hacked IBus UI to support AppIndicator, but the
hacked UI is problematic.
Fcitx has built-in support of Kimpanel and ongoing projects to provide
native UI for GNOME and Unity.

2. IBus is not responsible for issue reported.
Many issues asked in 2010 was left unanswered.
I've tried my best to answer them and give proper component tags on Google Code.

3. Some IBus engines have serious known bugs.
My conclusion about ibus-table is the following:
So far, ibus-table can only satisfy simplified Chinese users who have
slightest desire for customizations or additional features.
Also, ibus-table needs some modification to keep up with IBus 1.5 movement.
The situation of ibus-pinyin and ibus-chewing is a little better.
But they both have a long list of open issues.

* The role of GNOME *

IBus is current de facto standard since it is the default IMF on
CentOS 6, Fedora, Ubuntu and so on.
The problem is, should we do something to make IBus UX better, which
would probably make IMF switching even harder?
ibus-gjs, as its name suggests, should have been using IBus libraries
A neutral D-Bus based protocol like Kimpanel is more promising I guess:
1. IBus doesn't need to develop its own native UI on other DEs.
2. Since alternative IMFs like Fcitx doesn't need to do build its own
stack on GNOME.

* Fcitx as a Meta Engine *

I noted that Cangjie and Jianyi (Quick) on OS X Lion also have some
problems similar to those found in ibus-table.
How do traditional Chinese users survive in the Mac world?
They use "Yahoo! KeyKey", a third-party meta engine that support
Phonetic, Cangjie, Simplex (Quick) in a Windows-like manner.

RIME or Rime Input Method Engine is a open source meta engine supports
multiple phone-based and shape based.
It supports Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.
Its Linux support is through IBus and a Fcitx port is also available.

I do hope that highly modularized Fcitx can also be used as a meta
engine of IBus.
With one Ctrl+Space, people can enter Fcitx and have all the fancy
customizations and features of Fcitx.
IMHO, this strategy can make Fcitx easily accessible to casual users
using a distro featuring IBus.

Ma Xiaojun

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