How to set up bengali language writing in Archlinux using Openbox

Indic languages such as Bengali languages do not have separate keyboards, so if you have to work with them, you will need to use the standard US English keyboard to write Indic language. Archlinux is a great distro and within Archlinux, Archlabslinux is my favourite, an excellent Arch based distro to get your work done. Archlabs comes with Openbox, a nice window manager but one that gets some time to get used to. They have excellent documentation, but I did not find anything about setting up Bengali language/Indic language inputs on an Archlinux using Openbox. The following are the steps I used to set up Bengali writing in Archlabs.

Step by step

  1. First install, Indic language fonts if you have not set up already. Do the following in an Arch terminal: sudo pacman -S ttf-indic-otf This will set up the Indic fonts on your system and you can visit any Bengali language page to verify that the fonts are successfully installed as you will get to see some bengali language fonts in the page, for example, “আমি বাংলায় গান গাই" — this string of text will not show up as vague little boxes but “ami banglay gaan gayi” in bengali fonts.
IBus has been started! If you cannot use IBus, please add below lines in ~/.bashrc, and relogin your desktop.
export GTK_IM_MODULE=ibus
export XMODIFIERS=@im=ibus
export QT_IM_MODULE=ibus

This above code is interesting. It asks you to insert these lines in ~/.bashrc but if you use zsh shell, you will need to add these lines to ~/.zshrc as well, otherwise these things may not work. After you do this, it will start the set up client and it will ask you to choose the language and the input method. Choose the input methods that you downloaded and add Bengali language. It will also show that you can switch between the input languages using S-space the Super key is the Windows key or Win key. So, if you press the Windows key and space it will switch between the input languages.

Writing in Bengali language: two ways

If you install ibus-avro using ibus-avro-git use pacui for this purpose, then you can use the intuitive avro keyboard for your input. Otherwise, you can use the bengali inscript keyboard. The keymap that you can use is given here (download the PDF file and print it if you want):


p.s. Since writing this, I realised that I cannot get it to start by editing the ~/.xinitrc file, I mean nothing really happens. So, this is my workaround. I start it with $ ibus restart as the user per window and it works. I also realised that phonetic keyboards are slightly better than inscript keyboards but this is something I intend to learn over time.

Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Also in:

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