Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 17th Oct 2006 21:58 UTC, submitted by IdaAshley
General Unix "To make Linux applications usable worldwide, with no inequity between Western dialects and the rest of the world's many languages, you must be able to deliver localized versions that input, store, retrieve, and render any language, no matter how complex. The multilingualization library, or m17n, provides a single internationalization solution for all languages on UNIX-like platforms."
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h3rman
Member since:
2006-08-09

Seeing what computers are capable of today, it is astounding that multilingualisation (m17n for short ;) ) has been something so slow to be implemented fully. Something as simple as writing from right to left instead of from left to right would usually be impossible or leave you with a huge mess - unless you had a fully Israeli Hebrew or Arabic system.

Now that has been largely fixed in, for example, Linux, OOo and Firefox, and generally Unix, Linux and OS X are rather mature in both miltilingual input and miltilingual environment.

Nevertheless, it's still full of bugs and minor but annoying problems. Try to format everything in OOo from right to left, for example, including columns, etc. That's hard, if not impossible. Also, most Linux distros are behind in terms ofimplementing SCIM fully. Suse and Fedora are two mainstream exceptions. Ubuntu's SCIM (in Dapper) was full of bugs when I last tried.

Then, you still can't use (on Linux at least) SCIM (my and many others' favourite input engine) in the K-Office suite, or in the Opera browser, in Java-apps like Limewire, and possibly other text fields too. So this maturity is in no way complete. I'm actually quite surprised that SCIM and KOffice don't just fix this bug together, because this problem has existed for more than a year now.

Even Mac OS X's multilingual input is yet far from perfect. It's impossible, on this iBook at least, to render Korean or Hebrew well in various applications, including MS Office for Mac. This may be "just" bugs, but still. I now use Neo Office (beta) and that works fine. [Great free program to try out for OS X users, BTW. It can nicely replace MSOffice.]

All in all, there's a lot of things to do left. I'm currently working on improving Greek and Hebrew accents in SCIM, but as I'm not much of a geek, I yet have to learn a lot on how it all works, basically. The "problem" is that text is just everywhere.

Edited 2006-10-18 06:02

Reply Score: 1

siebharinn Member since:
2005-07-06

m17n support is actually pretty good in Windows, but that doesn't get a lot of traction these days.

Reply Score: 1

situation Member since:
2006-01-10

I don't think the comment was meant as a personal attack, so you really don't need to get defensive.
I personally was wondering about the Windows support as I was reading your post, so I'm glad someone who had used Windows recently was able to add constructive information.

Reply Score: 1

h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

I'm sorry.
Well, I've already been punished by being modded down, I see. ;)

Reply Score: 2

Ookaze Member since:
2005-11-14

m17n support is actually pretty good in Windows, but that doesn't get a lot of traction these days

In both meaning of this sentence, it is wrong.
m17n (the concept) is very poor on Windows, so much so that you need specific text editors to do any m17n on this platform.
m17n (the library) says it's there because the best text editors are based on some proprietary parts, and Windows is still proprietary.

Anyway, the article is wrong if we take Linux as example, as Gnome platform can do all that m17n does. The Pango problem is a false problem.
What they say, is that m17n is glibc + gettext + Freetype + Gnome (Pango, GTK+) + some input reader (I use im-ja for japanese, but there's SCIM too).
Replace the appropriate parts in KDE.
And these together can do everywhere what m17n library does, not just in text editors.
So the only purpose of this library, is to mix all these libraries. I don't see the point really.
It destroys the integration with the various IDE, it bypasses advances in libraries like Pango, ...
There's no real advantage on Linux I can see.

Reply Score: 1

milkycow Member since:
2006-04-04

SCIM works for me on (Slackware) Linux in Koffice, Opera, and Limewire (though I haven't figured out how to get java to show UTF8 yet). What you need to do is set some environmental variables:
XMODIFIERS=@im=SCIM
GTK_IM_MODULE=xim
QT_IM_MODULE=xim
export XMODIFIERS GTK_IM_MODULE QT_IM_MODULE

just letting you know

Reply Score: 2

h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

SCIM works for me on (Slackware) Linux in Koffice, Opera, and Limewire (though I haven't figured out how to get java to show UTF8 yet). What you need to do is set some environmental variables:
XMODIFIERS=@im=SCIM
GTK_IM_MODULE=xim
QT_IM_MODULE=xim
export XMODIFIERS GTK_IM_MODULE QT_IM_MODULE

just letting you know


Thanks!
I used to do that with Suse 9.1+, but there SCIM didn't work with KOffice, Opera, etc. either. Weird, I knew that there was a very good reason Slackware is still around. ;) I also used it for Ubuntu but 6.06 was a SCIM-M17N-disaster, unfortunately.

I'll give it a try again here, although Fedora seems to handle it a little differently. I use SCIM with FFF, OOo, and various other programs, without any problems. We might say that uniformity of m17n/i18n is still something to work on. I think SCIM is good enough to be fully configured out of the box in most distros, but sadly that's not the case yet. Suse, Mandriva and now FC are giving the right example.

BTW, what kind of characters do you use SCIM for?

Edited 2006-10-18 08:51

Reply Score: 1

milkycow Member since:
2006-04-04

Looking at cyberkoa's comment, I'm guessing you're not running SKIM? I haven't tried running the GTK SCIM as I've just recently installed SCIM/SKIM to experiment with Chinese input out of a spur of the moment decision and I'm sort of in my KDE period right now. So I'm not sure if Qt apps would actually work without running SKIM.

Reply Score: 1

SCIM and SKIM
by cyberkoa on Wed 18th Oct 2006 14:31 UTC
cyberkoa
Member since:
2006-10-18

To use scim under QT-program (all KDE programs, Skype linux, opera) , one need to use skim instead of scim.

This is one problem that should be tackled now. Although some users do not like to mix KDE and Gnome programs in their Linux, my personal opinion is , combining KDE and Gnome is the future of Linux Desktop

Reply Score: 1