In the previous post, I wrote about ibus-gucharmap, a character-map based Unicode input engine. While making it usable this week, I came across some thoughts on Unicode input on GNU/Linux desktop.
Currently there are a couple of options to type Unicode characters.
- Cut and paste from a character map application like Gucharmap
- Input codepoint directly with ibus-rawcode or GTK default IM
Each of these options has its pros and cons. With the option #1, a user can easily browse Unicode characters. However, for input she is required to perform a number of interactions with desktop, using both keyboard and mouse, switching focus between application windows. With the option #2, the user can do everything without mouse but she needs to know the codepoint in advance.
So the design goals of ibus-gucharmap are:
- Keyboard-only operation
- Quick access to the Unicode character map
Here, by hitting ‘Return’ on the search results, she will get the character inserted into the target application and see the IME window is changed back to the charmap view with the Unicode block “Miscellaneous Symbols” (which includes U+2623) selected:
At this point, the user can also input ☢ (U+2622 RADIOACTIVE SIGN) with ‘Left’ and ‘Return’.
You could try this feature with 184.108.40.20610624-1 (or later) RPM.