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Author Topic: HOWTO: Support for Greek, Hebrew and many others using scim  (Read 4006 times)


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HOWTO: Support for Greek, Hebrew and many others using scim
« on: December 13, 2007, 08:39:31 pm »

These instructions are based on VL5.8 Standard Edition

The existing packages in /extra (e.g. allow you to get support for Korean and Japanese (and there are HOWTOs for those), but I needed Greek and Hebrew.  The existing packages weren't enough!

There are three basic components to the solution:
1. scim (Smart Common Input Method), an input method platform.  There is a VL package for this part.
2. m17n, a multilingualization project which covers many scripts.  I didn't come across any VL or Slackware packages for this one. (The name "m17n" comes from the fact that the word "multilingualization" starts with an "m", ends with an "n", and has 17 letters in between. Cute!)
3. scim-m17n, a "bridge" input method which uses m17n as its backend. 

So here's how I did it.  These instructions are pitched to someone who has never compiled from source before.  So if you have, please bear with me.

1. Install the package scim-1.4.5-i586-7vl58.tlz from That's the easy bit.

2. Download the other parts:

2.1 m17n-docs-1.4.0a.tar.gz from
2.2 m17n-db-1.4.0.tar.gz from
2.3 m17n-lib-1.4.0.tar.gz from
2.4 m17n-im-config-0.9.0.tar.gz from
2.5 libotf-0.9.6.tar.gz from (pre-requisite for m17n-lib)
2.6 libXft-2.1.12.tar.bz2 from (pre-requisite for m17n-lib) (There is also a .tar.gz if you prefer)
2.7 scim-m17n-0.2.2.tar.gz from

3. Install each of these in the following order (to allow for some dependencies in the m17n stuff)

a m17n-docs-1.4.0a.tar.gz
b m17n-db-1.4.0.tar.gz
c libotf-0.9.6.tar.gz
d libXft-2.1.12.tar.bz2
e m17n-lib-1.4.0.tar.gz
f m17n-im-config-0.9.0.tar.gz
g scim-m17n-0.2.2.tar.gz

For each one, the steps in installation are as follows:

3.1 Extract the contents to a directory of your choice.  Mine was ~/tmp. You should get the tar contents inside another directory inside tmp, in this form: ~/tmp/name-0.1.2

3.2 Open a terminal window

3.2 Enter the following commands:
Code: [Select]
$ cd ~/tmp/name-0.1.2(Replace name-0.1.2 with the name of the actual extraction folder in each case)
Code: [Select]
$ ./configure(One exception: libXft, the command is
./configure --prefix=/usr/X11R6
Code: [Select]
$ make
$ su
Password: <enter your root password>
root:# make install
root:# exit
(You could do all three steps ("configure", "make" and "make install") as root, but I prefer not to.)

4. At this point you should just be able to restart scim. But VL reboots pretty quickly, so you may as well reboot.

5. scim appears in the panel as a keyboard icon. Start your word processor (or whatever), left click on the keyboard icon, and you should get a long list of scripts to use.

6. If you go into scim setup (right-click on the scim icon), you can disable the scripts which you aren't likely to use.
This makes the menu a bit more manageable, particularly if you're using an old laptop with only a 1024x768 screen.

SCIM handles Hebrew text (right-to-left) nicely, even if you have both Hebrew and Latin text on the one line.