Re: Pango Multilingual Input Reading

> Sure it does. Gtk+ isn’t the right place for input methods for
> every writing system. Xkb and XIM should be able to handle
> everything in X, and win32 has its own input system.

I was thinking of GNU/Linux and in end‐user terms here: “on a
freshly installed system, selecting input methods for any script
should just work.” Like in MacOS X (almost).  As it is, there is
also some confusing overlap: GTK+ has a “Cyrillic” input method,
but XFree86 already comes with “ru” and “ru_yawerty” XKB files (of
which the latter just duplicates functionality of the former and
will hopefully be removed from XFree86 soon).

> As far as I know, Xkb is sufficient for indic scripts.

That may depend on how you want to input Indian scripts.  If you
are content entering the control character VIRAMA explicitly
several times per word, then yes (I think that’s the idea of the
so‐called INSCRIPT keyboard layout).  But if you want to enter,
say, अग्नि as “a g n i” then things get more complicated.  The
latter method is MUCH more intuitive in my opinion (and that of
all Indological colleagues that I asked).

Yet another desideratum (but that has nothing to do with GTK+ the
toolkit) is an easy‐to‐use graphical input method editor for the
non‐technical user who cannot write XKB files by hand, let alone
program for XIM.

> Ok, but that’s not a gtk+ problem.

Technically not, but the question that people tend to ask is “how
can I input all that stuff that Pango can output.”  Also see my
remark on the functionality overlap between GTK+ input methods and
XKB ones – is that desirable?  I have been wondering what the
point of native GTK+‐only input methods is anyway.  Excuse my
ignorance, but I really don’t know, and you just now also pointed
to the GTK+‐external, system‐wide XKB, XIM and Win32 mechanisms.

> You can set the environment variable GTK_IM_MODULE=xim.

Thanks for pointing that out.  It would be nice if GNOME saved
your input method choices across sessions and/or provided a
control‐center GUI for setting the default.


Stefan Baums
Asian Languages and Literature
University of Washington

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