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Tim

How do I type Esperanto's characters on Linux?

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We have a resources section which contains info on how to type Esperanto's special letters. I don't have use Linux so don't know the best ways. And that means I can't actually write this part of the site!

If you're a Linux user, what's your preferred solution? If possible, please give me a little more detail than "Use x". If you can explain it using steps and images, that'd be great even better. You might even get your answer placed here!

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Okay, for linux, it depends on your distro. Debian based distros (debian, ubuntu, raspiberrypi os, etc) will have an esperanto keyboard out of the box (raspiberry pi os, you have to go to the terminal and get to the raspiberry pi settings to select the Eo keyboard, and can't do it from the normal OS but that's about it.) older versions of Mint had complete GUI translated into esperanto so I believe it will have an esperanto keyboard.

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My personal solution to this problem is that I type using the Colemak layout anyway, and that has the ability to type almost any accented letter you like built right in. But learning an entirely new layout just to type in Esperanto is perhaps a bit of an extreme solution.

Instead, here are four more realistic options:

  1. Apparently there is a setting in recent versions called "Adding Esperanto circumflexes (supersigno)", although I have not tested this and couldn't say how it works.
  2. The Esperanto-specific layout, which replaces non-Esperanto letters with Esperanto letters, as mentioned by @kashtanulo above.
  3. The US-International layout. This is the standard US keyboard layout (which is basically the same as the UK layout, except that @ and " are swapped, and a few other punctuation characters are moved around), but it also has "dead keys" for typing international characters. To type a hat, you press shift+6, which doesn't produce any output until you then press the letter you want to add the hat to (to get a ^ character, I believe you have to press shift+6 twice, but I may be wrong on that). So shift+6 then C produces Ĉ. Ŭ is altgr+shift+9 then U. Apparently this version of the US-International layout is Linux-specific, and the Windows version doesn't have Esperanto characters (although not having a Windows machine I can't confirm that).
  4. In the keyboard preferences you can select a "compose key". This can be enabled on any layout, so you don't even have to learn the differences between a UK and US keyboard to make it work. You can select what you want your compose key to be - the right Windows key is a popular choice, given that it has basically no use in Linux. To type Ĉ, you press compose+shift+6, then C (so same as for US-International, but with compose added), and similar for the other hatted letters. To type Ŭ, you press compose+U, then U.
I think the fourth option is probably the most sensible, as it doesn't make any changes to the keyboard in normal use. You still have a standard UK layout that works exactly as normal, unless you hold the compose key.
 
Hope that makes sense - let me know if you need any further details. :)
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I have a horrible fragile script that invokes xkbcomp to redefine AltGr+c, ..., AltGr+U to produce Esperanto letters.

However, most of my typing is done in Emacs, where I use ";c" ... ";U" to produce Esperanto letters, which is faster to type because ';' is under one of my fingers. Semicolon is not usually followed directly by a letter so there's no conflict; if I did want to produce ";c" I'd type ';',  SPACE, DELETE, 'c'. If you ever find yourself doing a lot of data entry in Esperanto, I'd recommend the semicolon solution, even you just enter semicolons and convert afterwards (I've done that).

I often send brief e-mail responses from my Chromebook. There's no good solution for typing Esperanto on a Chromebook, though you can always open esperanto.typeit.org in another tab and copy and paste. In esperanto.typeit.org you can use Alt+c, Alt+Shift+c, ...

The right Windows key is used in Ubuntu, for something stupid and annoying; I only ever hit it by accident, but that happens several times a day, unfortunately.

I'm surprised how these problems persist. Lots of people need to be able to type diacritics. My daughter's piano teacher has a grave accent in her name, for example. Back in the 1980s I had an Amstrad PCW that made it trivially easy to type any diacritic you wanted, including Esperanto ones and ones that are only used in Latvian, with no special customisation whatsoever. Sometimes progress seems to be retrograde.

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