Enter Chinese and do msn chat on Ubuntu

Version: Ubuntu 7.10, the Gutsy Gibbon released in Oct. 2007. I run it on VMWare Player.

Assumption: Ubuntu is connected to the web.

Do msn (Windows Live) chat on Ubuntu:

1. Application -> Add/Remove…

2. Click Internet tab on the left pane, then pick aMSN for install. As this writing, it has 4 stars under Popularity column.

3. Launch and enjoy.

By the way, so far I almost never do msn chat, but that can change if/when necessary. Once in a while, I do Skype chat.

Install and set up Chinese entry on Ubuntu, with a hat off to Nathan Sivin for his instruction. I followed his steps and just rehashed them here:

1. System -> Administration -> Language Support. Enter password as needed;

2. In Language scroll window, pick Chinese;

3. Click Apply button;

4. Check “Enable support to enter complex characters”;

5. Click Apply button. When done, close the window;

6. Open a shell, type:

locale | grep LANG=

Record the result because you will need it later. For US based Ubuntu, most likely it will be en_US.UTF-8;

7. Type:

sudo apt-get install scim-qtimm im-switch scim-pinyin

Enter password as necessary;

8. When done, type:

im-switch -z en_US.UTF-8 -s scim

Replace en_US.UTF-8 with whatever you get from step 6;

9. Reboot. For Chinese entry, press

Ctrl and Space bar

You should see a language bar in the lower right-hand corner. On the language bar, click the button immediately to the right of SCIM icon, and pick your Chinese entry methods. Press


to toggle between English (or whatever your default language) and Chinese. Press

Ctrl and Space bar

again to get rid of the language bar.

Hope this helps you. 希望这可以帮助你。

, ,

3 responses to “Enter Chinese and do msn chat on Ubuntu”

  1. 谢谢! I was actually playing with this yesterday, after I saw that OpenSolaris supports Chinese input by default. Your explanation helps get me going!

    It takes a bit of trickiness to get used to:
    – First time, have to manually-select preferred input method. (The simplified Chinese option in Chinese seems to be the only one to parse words.)
    – control-space enables the bar
    – shift will shift between English and 中文
    – if I dismiss the bar with control-space, I can not shift any more. :/

    (I am glad and impressed that it is clever enough to recognize that shift+character means “don’t switch” but capitalize. 🙂

    This is good, useful information, that will hopefully be a learning aid!


  2. Glad it helped.

    One thing is odd is that Chinese characters are not displayed consistently on any Linux distros I’ve tried. For example, on my site, a few characters are displayed in what looks like a different font and seem to be out of place. They are still legible, though. For Chinese content only site, the characters seem to display consistently.

    On windows, I ditched Ziguang and have been using Google Pinyin for a while now, and have no complaints.

    I got the book and am reading it now. Thanks!

    I got OpenSolaris LiveCD from MySQL conference but never tried it. Would love to hear your thoughts on it.

  3. Update, I am using Ubuntu 8.10, the Intrepid Ibex, now. It looked like this version of Ubuntu fixed the Chinese font display inconsistency I mentioned in the above post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.