Skip to content
Go to file

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.


ibus-compatible input methods and keyboards for ancient languages. Prerelease. Batteries not included. Some assembly required.

ibus setup

First, you need to ibus installed, configured and working. Please consult your favorite search engine and your distribution for details.

Things to check:

  • Do you use the X Compose key to type accented letters? Try ibus-xkbc.
  • Do you use Emacs? You'll need to figure out ibus-el if you want to get everything working again.

Now, with any luck, you've got an ibus menu which appears when you log in, you can type accented letters in Emacs again, and you're otherwise back at square zero. If you're unlucky, you may wind up getting eaten by sharks.

Unfortunately, I can't provide technical support for this part of the process, because I run an older version of Ubuntu and I got this stuff to work by hitting it repeatedly with a rock (metaphorically speaking). Good luck.

Update: On Ubuntu 16.04, my input methods menu on the upper right was totally broken, and I had to install indicator-systemtray-unity and use the keyboard switch it provided, and I had to use ibus-setup to configure my list of available input methods. I have no idea what's going on here—even basic input method functionality on 16.04 is broken for me, even before installing ibus-ancient.

ibus-ancient setup

Once that's done:

  1. Install ibus-m17n (for the simple keyboards).
  2. Install ibus-table (for the hieroglyphic input method).
  3. Run ./ This may do something horrible. If it does, please report a bug.

Then you need to go into the ibus preferences and enable the keyboards that you want, and possibly restart ibus again. The keyboards and input methods should appear under "Other".

For the egyptian-transliteration keyboard, just type MdC-style transliteration characters and everything should show up as Egyptian. For the egyptian-hieroglyphs input method, type a transliteration character, phonetic equivalent or Gardiner code, and hit space to commit.

Changing the mappings

If you'd prefer a slightly different mapping, I'd love to hear about it. I'm happy to support any common version of MdC if it can be done without breaking something else.

Other languages

I have data files for quite a few runic futharks, plus Ogham, Gothic and the Old Italic alphabets. I'd be happy to convert these to m17n keyboards if there's interest. See the file more-for-later.xml. The runic mappings are the most detailed by far, with support for quite a few different runic systems used in different counties at different times.

Other platforms

I have some code to build MacOS keyboard bundles from the material in more-for-later.xml that could be adapted to the various layouts in this package. But I don't know whether keyboard bundles even work on newer versions of the MacOS.


The file Unicode-MdC-Mapping-v1.utf8 is covered by the Unicode license, as are the portions of egyptian-hieroglyphs-table.txt derived from that file. The rest of this software is provided under the terms of the UNLICENSE.txt.


ibus keyboards and input methods for ancient languages (prerelease).




No releases published


You can’t perform that action at this time.