Gentoo Wiki




The default Hindi keyboard provided in has non-phonetic English-to-Hindi character mapping, and therefore typing in Hindi is difficult for the casual user.

This article explains how to install and use SCIM, which supplies a phonetic Hindi keyboard.

Getting started

To begin with, your system must be able to display the Hindi (Devanagari) font.


Make sure your /etc/make.conf file has the Hindi locale globally enabled, with the portage variable LINGUAS="hi"

If it already does, then skip ahead to the next section!

If not, add it in using your favourite text editor -

File: /etc/make.conf

Then apply the change globally with -

emerge -DNav world

Indic font display

You must additionally have the media-fonts/lohit-fonts package installed to view Hindi text. Check if the package is present with qsearch lohit-fonts, otherwise if you get no output install it with -

emerge -Dav media-fonts/lohit-fonts

Typing Hindi with SCIM



x11-libs/qt is a central dependency of the app-i18n/scim-bridge package. QT's slotted versions 3 and 4 must be compiled with specific USE flags (immqt-bc and qt3support) for SCIM to function properly.

Check that those 2 flags have been compiled in with emerge -pv =qt-3* =qt-4*

If it has both of them, then skip ahead to the next sub-section.

If not, then accordingly add them as package specific USE flags to your /etc/portage/package.use -

File: /etc/portage/package.use
  =x11-libs/qt-3* immqt-bc
  =x11-libs/qt-4* qt3support

Then apply the change globally with -

emerge -DNav world

The compile will take a little long, so go make yourself a cup of tea :)


SCIM's installation is as simple as -

emerge app-i18n/scim-tables app-i18n/scim-bridge

Launching the daemon

Note: The following configuration launches SCIM for all users.

SCIM requires you to export some environment variables to work properly. So, lets create a Bash file /etc/profile.d/ to . Login as root to create the file using your favourite text editor and then copy the following -

File: /etc/profile.d/
# The SCIM variables below are be exported prior to starting your WM,
# so that all your compatible X programs can default to it
export GTK_IM_MODULE=scim-bridge
export QT_IM_MODULE=scim

You do not have to include the scim -d daemon launch command in your ~/.xinitrc. SCIM will automatically launch itself when you start an X application that supports multilingual text input.

Now that you have SCIM installed, to begin using it, you have to logout completely. First quit your X session by selecting "Logout". Then, at the shell prompt, exit logs you out completely. Login again and start your X session using startx

Recommended configuration

The default keyboard shortcuts in SCIM can be a little frustrating. For example, the order in which your release the <shift> and <ctrl> keys together switches keyboard layouts. Also the toolbar persistently raises itself during full-screen movies.

So now that you have SCIM up and running, (right-click) SCIM taskbar icon » SCIM Setup.

To take care of the first issue above, erase all the hotkeys by Front End » Global Setup » Hotkeys » Trigger ... » Selected keys (highlight all) » Delete. Repeat for all the other hotkey fields.

For the second issue, simply set Panel » GTK » Toolbar » Show to "Never".

Saving Hindi text files

Don't forget to save the text files in UTF-8 format!

Reference Keyboard Image

This English-to-Hindi keyboard map aid will help you find the odd 'matra':)

To create the 'r' matra as in 'prakash' or 'Kriya', use pfrkaSh or kfrIya

Feel free to download it as a reference. You may also edit and improve on the source .xcf image in the GIMP media-gfx/gimp. Thus you can show off your graphics editing skills by uploading the image back to this wiki



More Info

Setting up Firefox to view Hindi fonts

Retrieved from ""

Last modified: Sun, 07 Sep 2008 01:08:00 +0000 Hits: 1,253