IBus - Intelligent Input Bus for Linux / Unix OS

The Intelligent Input Bus (IBus, pronounced as I-Bus) is an input method (IM) framework for multilingual input in Unix-like operating systems. It's called "Bus" because it has a bus-like architecture.

IBus is an Open Source Intelligent Input Bus for Linux / Unix Operating Systems. It is used to type in Devanagari and Dravidian (India), Chines, French, Esperanto, African, European, Russian and many more languages (scripts).

You can use IBus to type in your own language in any software such as Office suite (e.g. Open Office), Instant Messaging clients (e.g. Pidgin, Empathy), IRC clients (e.g. Xchat, Queassel),Skype etc.


If you are using Ubuntu Karmic Koala 9.10 and onwards then IBus is the default package and it is installed already. You can find it in System => Preferences=> IBus Preferences. 9.10+ Users can directly jump to Setting Up IBus.

Instruction to install on Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope 9.04 and previous

IBus 1.2

Add the following PPA to your Software Sources as per your operating system:

Intrepid: deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/ibus-dev/ibus-1.2-intrepid/ubuntu intrepid main

Jaunty: deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/ibus-dev/ibus-1.2-jaunty/ubuntu jaunty main

Karmic: deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/ibus-dev/ibus-1.2-karmic/ubuntu karmic main

IBus 1.0

8.04: Hardy

Not supported.

8.10 Intrepid

  1. add following line to /etc/apt/sources.list,
  2. run $ sudo apt-get update,
  3. run $ sudo apt-get install ibus ibus-pinyin
  4. run $ im-switch -s ibus
  5. logout and re-login

9.04 Jaunty

similar with 8.10, but use following line:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/ibus-dev/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main

9.10 Karmic

similar with 8.10, but use following line:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/lidaobing/ibus-910/ubuntu karmic main

Source Repository

Source repository

You can check out the latest unstable source code of IBus using git. Or browser source code via web interface.

  • $ git clone git://github.com/phuang/ibus.git ibus

Setting Up IBus

Hurray! Since you have reading this section means you have already installed IBus(9.10+) or you have successfully installed it in 9.04 or previous!

  1. Now Open IBus preference from System=>Preferences=>IBus Preferences

  2. Under General tab select "Show Icon on system tray".
  3. Click on second tab "Input Method".
  4. Click on "Select an input method" drop box.
  5. Select your language and keyboard layout.
  6. Click on Add button
  7. Now from the below text box select your newly added language and take it to top using "Up" button. Doing this whenever you run IBus, it will be in ready position to directly type in your disirable language.
  8. Close

Now we have set up IBus to use for your favorite language. Now we will see how to use it.

Launching and Using IBus

Running IBus

  • If your IBus doesnt automatically startup at login then you need to add it to startup applications list.
  • To do so open System=>Preferences=>Startup Applications

  • Click on "Add" Button
  • Write command as: "ibus-daemon"
  • Click on "Add" button.
  • Now logout and login and IBus is now running at startup.

Using IBus

As an example we will try to write in gedit which is abailable from Applicastion=>Accessories=>gedit text editor.

  1. Open gedit.
  2. Press ctrl + space.
  3. now ibus icon will appear on your monitor in bottom right hand side corner.
  4. Start typing!!! :)

  5. To again switch back to english or switch off the ibus just press ctrl + space once more!
  6. Finished!!!

About Keyboard Layouts

IBus generaly provides three types of keyboards:

  1. Phonetic
  2. Itrans
  3. Inscript


NOTE: This allows users to type in Indian language (e.g. Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu etc) by tranliterating english words. We see here example of the word "Linux" here for Devanagari.

If you type the word "linaksa" then it will appear in Devanagari as "लिनक्स"

If you type the word "bhaarata" then it will appear in Devanagari as "भारत"

...and so on.

The "Indian languages TRANSliteration" (ITRANS) is an ASCII transliteration scheme for Indic scripts, particularly, but not exclusively, for Devanagari (used for the Hindi, Marathi, Sanskrit, Nepali, Sindhi and other languages). It was developed by Avinash Chopde. The latest version of ITRANS is version 5.30 released in July, 2001. ITRANS has been stabilized at this version.

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITRANS


A phonemic orthography is a writing system where the written graphemes correspond to phonemes, the spoken sounds of the language. In terms of orthographic depth, these are termed shallow orthographies, contrasting with deep orthographies. These are sometimes termed true alphabets, but non-alphabetic writing systems like syllabaries can be phonemic as well.

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonetic_writing


InScript (Indian Script) is a touch typing keyboard layout scheme for inputting Indic text on computer. This keyboard layout is standardized by Government of India for Indic Computing. It was developed by C-DAC, an India based software company.

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inscript

Contact & About IBus

Original author(s): Peng Huang

License GNU LGPL v2 or later

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_Input_Bus

Project code is hosted here: http://code.google.com/p/ibus/

IRC: channel #ibus on irc.freenode.net

Download IBus source code: http://code.google.com/p/ibus/downloads/list

Detailed build and install instructions: http://code.google.com/p/ibus/wiki/Install

IBus on launchpad: https://launchpad.net/~ibus-dev

ibus (last edited 2010-07-12 07:47:20 by Abhijit Navale)

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