This tutorial is for Kubuntu/Netrunner users. If you are with Ubuntu 13.10 and having trouble spotting the good old indicator, click here.


When KDE 4 was first publicised in January 2008, it was a massive revolution, with lots of nice things: Plasma, Qt 4, SuperKaramba, and more under the hood groundbreaking technologies. However, early releases of KDE 4 is lack of maturity, crashed every now and then, resulted in widespread criticism for being buggy.

5 years later, KDE is now rock solid. Even Linus Torvalds likes it.

However, when it comes to IBus, it has taken me weeks to a state of accepted configuration. This madness is a shame. In comparison, IBus works out of the box on Ubuntu.

Now that Canonical has ditched Kubuntu in favour of Ubuntu Touch, Mir, Ubuntu TV and further craps, Blue System has adopted Kubuntu and forked it as Netrunner, I hope Kubuntu would given the attention is deserves.

That’s all for the moaning. Here’s a small howto for getting IBus to run properly on Kubuntu.



Install these following packages, with any package manager - Synaptic or Muon: ibus, ibus-gtk, ibus-qt4… Otherwise, hit:

$ sudo apt-get install ibus, ibus-gtk, ibus-qt4

Don’t forget to install the dedicated input method for your localisation: ibus-unikey, ibus-bogo, ibus-pinyin, ibus-m17n… you name it.

Set as default

Let’s have Ibus as the default input method.

$ sudo apt-get install im-switch
$ im-switch -s ibus

Open .bashrc in $HOME:

$ kate ~/.bashrc

Add these lines to the end of the file.

export XMODIFIERS="@im=ibus"
export GTK_IM_MODULE=ibus
export QT4_IM_MODULE=ibus
export QT_IM_MODULE=ibus

Show IBus in System Tray

Now, you can run Ibus, but starting it does not show the tray icon. Here’s the magic line:

$ sudo apt-get install --reinstall ibus ibus-gtk ibus-qt4 gnome-icon-theme gnome-icon-theme-full

Configue IBus

Press Alt+F2 for KRunner. Type in ibus-setup and Enter. Configure like below. Otherwise, adjust options to suit to your tastes and preferences.

Ibus config

To add the language, hit Input Method tab. Here’s the tricky part: since the dialog is blurred out, you have to click on the drop down button to bypass it. This is probably a bug of GTK QtCurve. The first method in the list will be your default input method.

Ibus config 2

Auto start IBus with KDE

In System Settings -> System Administration, locate Startup and Shutdown, and Autostart tab. Hit Add Program. Paste in /usr/bin/ibus-daemon and click OK. In the Properties Dialog Box, click on tab Application. Input the following

Name: ibus-daemon
Description: Goddamn IBus
Command: /usr/bin/ibus-daemon -desktop=kde -panel=/usr/lib/ibus/ibus-ui-kde

Save everything. Now logout and login again.

Ibus config

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