Open source input methods for East Asian languages (Chinese and Japanese IMEs)

Forums Apps Open source input methods for East Asian languages (Chinese and Japanese IMEs)

This topic contains 19 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  daktak 1 year, 1 month ago.

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  • #5232

    dreamon
    Member

    First of all, let me thank you for setting up such an amazing repository and for making the Android world a little more open. I love what you guys do here and frequently recommend F-Droid to friends. One thing that keeps me from repacing Google Play with the F-Droid client, though, is that I frequently need to input Chinese and Japanese text on my phone. So far, there are no input methods for these languages available on F-Droid. In fact, there are very few open source input methods for Android in general, but I thought I’d recommend the ones I know of to you guys, so you could have a look at them and perhaps include them in the F-Droid repo. Unfortunately I lack the knowledge to evaluate the source code myself.

    Zhuyin Cangjie Input method for Traditional Chinese (zh_TW):
    http://code.google.com/p/android-traditional-chinese-ime/

    OpenWnn Legacy for Simplified Chinese (zh_CN) and Japanse (ja):
    http://code.google.com/p/openwnn-legacy/

    OpenWnn QWERTY for Japanese (ja):
    https://github.com/NAKAJI-Tadayoshi/OpenWnn4T/wiki

    The OpenWnn input method comes preinstalled on Japanese Android phones and is included with the Android source code. It’s one of the few free open source input methods that don’t “phone home”, but it’s not available on Google Play, which led to the ironic situation of having a large number of closed-source and suspicous-looking forks of OpenWnn circulate on the market. Apparently, earlier versions of OpenWnn even included experimental support for Chinese language input (see OpenWnn Legacy above), but at some point Google Pinyin was included for that task. Perhaps it would be possible to strip the “official” Japanese and Chinese IMEs from the Android source code and include them in F-Droid?

    Thank you for your amazing work, guys!

    • This topic was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by  dreamon.
    #5234

    daithib8
    Member

    Thank you. I tried Pinyin ImE but I think it needs system jars , though I’m not sure. If we can’t build these with the Andoid Sdk, I propose that we include them as binaries in a separate repository, since they are so important.

    #5237

    daithib8
    Member

    The traditional one and the openwnn one by our good friend Mariotaku, do build but the other one needs AOSP although it gives clear instructions (which are in Japanese though the commands are bash).

    #5244

    daithib8
    Member

    What about this one http://f-droid.org/forums/topic/lime-ime/? There are a lot of jars in there that need checking out.

    #5247

    dreamon
    Member

    Thank you for your extensive research, daithib8! It would be great if these IMEs could be included in some way.

    I wasn’t aware of Lime IME so far, but I’ll check it out later today. It seems to target users of Traditional Chinese (zh_TW).
    OpenWnn QWERTY is interesting since it uses a standard keyboard on top of the older default open-source version of OpenWnn, which actually comes with a classic mobile phone keyboard (slows down input somewhat).
    So far, I haven’t been able to find an open-source IME for Simplified Chinese, besides OpenWnn Legacy, which doesn’t seem to work on Android 4.x unfortunately.

    FYI, I haven’t looked into input methods for Korean so far. There is an official Google input method for Korean (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.inputmethod.korean), which may contain some open-source components (Google Pinyin and Google Japanese Input both do). Not sure if this is going to get us anywhere, though 🙂

    #5248

    daithib8
    Member

    I added the first two apps, though it maybe a while before they appear. I think somebody should set up a separate repo to provide AOSP core apps, until such time as we can integrate them ourselves. Cyanogenmod would be a good candidate, unless there are Asian ROMs that do it.

    #5249

    daithib8
    Member

    In case you didn’t know there is a topic http://f-droid.org/forums/topic/google-pinyin-ime

    #5252

    dreamon
    Member

    daithib8, thank you for including these apps in the F-Droid repo. Amazing work! I am sure many people will appreciate this. Perhaps we should add a note to OpenWnn Legacy informing users that the app only runs on Android 2.x, though. At least this has been my experience. Were you able to install and run it on 4.x?

    If I understand correctly, what is keeping us from including Pinyin IME and OpenWnn (the default IMEs for Chinese and Japanese shipping with Android) as well as OpenWnn QWERTY (listed above) is that these apps need AOSP components which cannot be easily packaged in an .apk?

    #5253

    daithib8
    Member

    I think openwnn-legacy runs fine on CM10: it doesn’t crash or anything. Yes, if you read the instructions for building Japanese openwnn above, you’ll see what’s required, and I think that the process is similar for the Pinyin IME etc, though I have never compiled AOSP. To my knowledge, there is no place to download Pinyin IME apk outside Google Play.

    #5254

    daithib8
    Member
    #5258

    dreamon
    Member

    I installed OpenWnn Legacy again and it seems to work fine on Android 4.1.2 now, although I remember having trouble getting it to work on Android 4.0 (on a Galaxy Nexus). I also tested Lime IME, which has lots of features and looks very promising, but it’s a pain to set up and requires full network access, which is always a reason for caution IMHO (passwords being sent to 3rd parties etc.).

    Just to sum things up and keep them here for future reference, in case somebody wants to pick this up to work on, these are the free open source IMEs we have discovered so far:

    Google Pinyin (zh_CN)
    Default IME for Simplified Chinese, ships with Android source, permissions include full network access, requires AOSP components (License: Apache)
    Source: https://android.googlesource.com/platform/packages/inputmethods/PinyinIME/
    Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.inputmethod.pinyin

    OpenWnn (ja)
    Default IME for Japanese, ships with Android source, requires AOSP components (License: Apache)
    Source: https://android.googlesource.com/platform/packages/inputmethods/OpenWnn/

    OpenWnn QWERTY (ja)
    OpenWnn fork with full qwerty keyboard, requires AOSP components (License: Apache)
    Source: https://github.com/NAKAJI-Tadayoshi/OpenWnn4T/wiki
    Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.tadnak25.openwnn4t

    OpenWnn Legacy (ja and zh_CN)
    Based on an earlier version of OpenWnn, supports both Japanese and Simplified Chinese input, to be included in F-Droid repo soon (License: Apache)
    Source & APK: http://code.google.com/p/openwnn-legacy/

    Zhuyin Cangjie Input Method (zh_TW)
    Zhuyin (Bopomofo) input method for Traditional Chinese, to be included in F-Droid repo soon (License: Apache)
    Source: http://code.google.com/p/android-traditional-chinese-ime/
    Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.googlecode.tcime

    Lime IME (mainly zh_TW)
    Combines a number of different Chinese input methods (Zhuyin, Cangjie, Wubi, Pinyin, among others), highly configurable, can input Simplified Chinese, permissions include full network access (License: GPLv3)
    Source & APK: http://code.google.com/p/limeime
    Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.toload.main.hd

    Stroke5 (zh_TW)
    Not tested (License: GPLv3)
    Source: https://github.com/wanleung/Stroke5Keyboard-android
    Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.linkomnia.android.Stroke5

    #5264

    daithib8
    Member

    I noticed that openwnn legacy didn’t work in the terminal emulator app. I told Mariotaku about this and he just said the app has been discontinued for a year. That probably means it hasn’t been on Google Play for over a year because the source code page says nothing of the sort. Or maybe it just means he hasn’t updated for Android 4

    #5347

    daithib8
    Member

    There is this net.gorry.android.input.nicownng that I came across while checking out Aicia IRC client by the same author. The source is here http://GORRY.hauN.org/android/nicownng/ and appears to be Apache licensed, but the details are all in Chinese it looks like.

    #5348

    dreamon
    Member

    Thanks, daithib. I also found Kanji draw in the F-Droid repo. So we have two more options:

    nicoWnnG IME (ja)
    Not tested, IME based on OpenWnn with full keyboard, supports qwerty and a variety of Japense layouts (License: Apache)
    Source & APK: http://gorry.haun.org/android/nicownng/
    Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.gorry.android.input.nicownng

    Kanji draw (ja)
    Handwriting recognition for Japanese Kanji characters (License: GPLv3)
    Source: https://github.com/quen/kanjirecog/tree/android
    Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.leafdigital.kanji.android
    F-Droid: https://f-droid.org/repository/browse/?fdfilter=dictionary&fdid=com.leafdigital.kanji.android

    How long does it usually take to include the new findings in F-Droid?

    #5349

    daithib8
    Member

    Usually they should arrive within a day of the metadata being added but we have some broken builds clogging up the system that need sorting out. Nothing new has been built in two weeks and I’m as ignorant as yourself .

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