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FAQ: How to Fix Ubuntu 14 Chinese Bugs

In Ubuntu 14.04 and 14.10, sometimes
Pinyin input won't work, or Chinese text becomes "Invalid UTF-8"

Saucy SalamanderUtopic Unicorn


ibus-pinyin is broken!

On my FAQ page about ibus bugs in Ubuntu 13.10, I discussed the ongoing problem of missing language menus and settings. Ubuntu 14 is better, but many users still report problems and I'll list them here with solutions and alternatives.


If the ibus-pinyin Chinese input method is not working correctly, as in the example above where I typed "hanyu" and got "ha nü sh" instead, ibus-pinyin has gotten its libraries mixed up. It was giving me the Double Pinyin speed typing method instead of normal full Hanyu Pinyin. To fix it, try this idea suggested by a helpful visitor to this website. In Terminal, run this command:

ibus-daemon -drx

That was the top-rated answer on this AskUbuntu page, where you will also find other suggestions. But all I needed to do was the following, and others have reported to me that this worked for them as well. Simply remove ibus-pinyin and replace it with ibus-libpinyin in Terminal:

apt-get remove ibus-pinyin
apt-get install ibus-libpinyin


If the ibus-sunpinyin Chinese input method is not working correctly, giving you the wrong characters for multpile words with "ue" like xue = "xiong" and jue ="jiong", this seems to be the result of an incorrect dictionary database. Many thanks to reader Don Tai new site for pointing me to a script that fixes the problem here: new site
Scroll down to to comment #4 by doit (richangyongpin)


If Pinyin, SunPinyin, Wubi or other input methods are missing from the Text Entry configuration list and/or keyboard menus, then per this other AskUbuntu page try this in Terminal:


If that doesn't help, try the following remove/install solution in Terminal.

apt-get remove ibus-pinyin
apt-get install ibus-libpinyin

apt-get remove ibus-sunpinyin
apt-get install ibus-sunpinyin

(Reinstalling SunPinyin also brought back Wubi and others for me.)


fcitx penguinYou can also drop IBus and use fcitx (小企鹅 or "Little Penguin") new site instead. This is the input method framework adopted by Ubuntu Kylin for mainland China, and the default choice for Ubuntu beginning with release 15.04. As of version 4.0, fcitx works in UTF-8 encoding, supports Simplified and Traditional characters, and includes the Chewing input method, so this may be good for users outside the mainland as well. Other choices in fcitx include Pinyin, SunPinyin, Wubi, and Google Pinyin. If you'd like to try fcitx, here are some good instructions on installing fcitx on Ubuntu 14 new site

Sogou logoAnother alternative is Sogou for Linux new site. Sogou is the most popular input suite in China on Windows. If you don't mind adding a commercial framework that also tries to sell you stuff, give it a try and let me know if you like it.


Or, you can do a complete clean reinstall of the entire system. That's all I've got. If you find a better fix, please let me know.


If you are seeing "INVALID UTF-8" in place of Chinese text, try this:

in the ibus-pinyin floating language panel, change from full- to half-width, per this discussion on new site

If that doesn't work, the main point I gather from this Redhat bug report discussion new site (which I'm told has worked for Ubuntu users) is that you try this in Terminal:

apt-get remove ibus-pinyin
apt-get install ibus-libpinyin

Failing that, you may need to do a complete clean reinstall. I know few people want to do that, so if you have a better suggestion please let me know.


I still use 12.04 LTS for critical tasks, and have only been playing with recent releases on a dual-boot touch screen laptop where I don't have to depend on Ubuntu. If these 14.xx problems are resolved and I don't update this page fast enough, or if you have additional suggestions, please let me know.

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