Well, it took me more than six months to get around to it, but over this past weekend I finally resurrected my Linux desktop. I had managed to break it while trying to expand the size of the linux OS partition on my hard drive, and had been too lazy to go in and rescue all the old files and resurrect it. Instead, all this time have been unhappily limping along with the Windows 7 "Korea" edition that was native to my home desktop PC. I guess from a day-to-day "surf the internet" functionality, it was fine, but lately I've been wanting to get back to doing something more productive with some programming (er… really just hacking around with things) in support of my moribund geofiction hobby. As such, having a functional Ubuntu Linux desktop is pretty much indispensable.
In fact, once I'd backed up all my files to an external drive, which was merely tedious, the re-install was mostly painless. As before, the most painful thing for me with Linux is language and keyboard support issues. I cannot function, now, without having Korean and Spanish language keyboard options – I still do some writing in Spanish, of course, and although my Korean remains lousy in qualitative terms, it's nevertheless a ubiquitous aspect of my daily existence, and being able to type it comfortably is essential.
Each time I try to get the Korean keyboard and language options to work on a Linux install, it goes differently. It feels like a kind of hit-or-miss affair, where I keep trying various gadgets and settings in all possible combinations until I get one that works. This inevitable confusion was not helped by the fact that unlike last time, where I used Ubuntu's native "Unity" desktop, I opted this time to try the so-called Cinnamon desktop (part of the "Mint" distro, a fork of Ubuntu). This was because I'd heard that Unity was not much longer for this world, and that Canonical (the creators of Ubuntu) intended to go out of the desktop-making biz.
Linux (at least these Ubuntu distros) make a distinction between "language setting" (which is fundamentally useless for controlling how the system reads the keyboard, as far as I can tell) and "input method" – which is what you need. But these two subsystems don't seem to talk to each other very well.
The peculiar result I achieved after a few hours of dinking around, this time, is possibly unique in the entire world. I have my Ubuntu 16.04 with Cinnamon desktop, where the "system language" is English, the "regionalization" is Korean, the "keyboard" is Spanish, and the "input method" is Korean. This is pretty weird, because my physical keyboard is, of course, Korean. So for my regular day-to-day typing, the keys (except the letters proper) don't match, since all the diacritics and symbols and such are arranged quite differently on a Spanish keyboard. But I've always been adept at touch typing, and I know the Spanish layout mostly by heart. Then when I want to type Korean, I hit the "hangul" key (which the "Spanish keyboard" can't "see" since Spanish keyboards don't have "hangul" keys) and that triggers the Korean part of the IBus input widget, and I can type Korean. It sounds bizarre, but it's the most comfortable arrangement of keyboard settings I've ever managed, since there's never any need to use a "super" shortcut of some kind to toggle between languages – they're all running more-or-less on top of each other in a big jumble instead of being segregated out.
I hate to say it, but I didn't take notes as to how I got here – so I can't even tell you. I just kept trying different combinations of settings until one worked. I messed with the "Language Support", the "IBus Preferences", the "Keyboard" (under "System Settings), and the System Tray.
Anyway, I took a screenshot of my system tray, where you can see the whole resultant mess in a single summary snapshot.
I now have a full-fledged Mediawiki instance up-and-running on the desktop (you can visualize a sort of "empty" wikipedia – all the software, but no information added into it). I've even configured the OGF-customized "slippy map" embeds for it (I managed that once on this here blog, too). I'm currently trying to get a PostgreSQL database instance working – MySQL is running but PostgreSQL has better GIS support, which is something I'm interested in having.
So there, you see a sometime hobby of mine, in action once again after a sort of winter hibernation, I guess.
[daily log: walking, 7km]