How to setup an Esperanto Computer

This section explains how to set up a computer so that it has an Esperanto user interface. Sure, one can read Esperanto texts and write in Esperanto on a computer whose user interface is in any other language. There are programs which can have an Esperanto user interface, even when the operating system itself is in another language (e.g. Firefox and LibreOffice). However, there may be Esperantists who want to have their whole system in Esperanto. Maybe computers in their language do not exist or they are keen Esperantists who just want to have an Esperanto user interface.

LinuxMint with Esperanto Interface

The proprietary systems (Apple and Microsoft) do not supply systems in Esperanto, but don't fret because you can still run a Linux based system on these to try out an Esperanto interface. 

Ubuntu, LinuxMint, Debian, Bodhi Linux, and several other Linuxes (but not all) provide systems with an Esperanto user interface. You need to use a suitable windowing system (KDE, Cinnamon, Gnome or Enlightenment), and such windowing systems come with the Linuxes mentioned above.


These are some of the ways you can install Linux on your computer:
  • a live system using a DVD or USB memory device, (so that it does not change anything on your hard disk) 
  • install it as a virtual machine, even on an Apple or Microsoft system 
  • install Linux as the main system of your computer in its own partition
  • install it as a secondary system in a separate partition

These methods are outlined in the following subsections.

Before you begin

To illustrate the general method, let's install LinuxMint. 

Download the installation file, (either Cinnamon or KDE) free from this website

Choose 64-bit if you have a 64-bit computer; otherwise choose 32-bit. 

Make an iso-DVD or load it onto a USB memory device (the method depends on your main system; search on the Internet to find out how). 

IMPORTANT: It is advisable to make a backup of any important files on your computer, before you install anything.

You may need to change the boot settings on your computer to allow it to boot from a DVD or USB.

Esperanto System using a Live DVD or USB device

This is an easy method and, because it is not necessary to change anything on your hard disk; you are not risking anything to see how an Esperanto system works.

Note: A live installation is a complete, boot-able installation, including operating system, which runs in the computer's memory, instead of being loaded from a hard disk. The DVD (or CD) is read-only. This makes it possible to run an operating system for any purpose without installing it or changing anything in the settings of the computer. A live DVD can run on a computer, which does not even have any secondary storage, or on a system, which has become corrupted. This is sometimes useful for trying to repair the corrupted disk. A live ISO file is an ISO image of a live DVD (or CD), usable in a virtual machine, mounted as if it were a DVD/CD and used as the boot disk of the virtual machine. A USB device is usable in a similar way, but it is not read-only.

Insert the DVD in the DVD drive, or connect the USB device. 

Restart your computer. 

Follow the instructions. 

Choose Esperanto as the installation language. 

You will need to set your time zone, create a main user, etc, along the way.

Eventually you will have a live Linux system, which reads programs from the DVD or USB while it interacts with the user. However, when you close the system, nothing will remain, so if you want to use it again, you will have to restart it as before.

If you wish, after some testing, you can click on the icon to install Linux on your hard disk (see below).

Esperanto System in a virtual machine

This can be done even on proprietary systems if you use virtualization software (e.g. VirtualBox or VMWare). First install the virtualization software. For example, go to and download, free, the version for your type of system, and install it.

Insert the Linux DVD or USB device, which contains the installable file for Linux, which you made earlier. 

Start your virtualisation program. 

Click on “New”. 

For Name input, say, LinuxMento (or something else), for Type choose Linux and for version choose Ubuntu.

Follow the instructions (refer to the VirtualBox help).  

Set the install language to Esperanto. 

You will need to set your time zone, create a main user, etc, along the way.  If you don't know which option to choose anywhere, just choose the default value. 

Eventually you should have a working virtual machine.

Esperanto system on your hard disk

N.B. This method replaces everything that is on the partition in which you install Linux. So first backup any important files.

Insert the DVD in the DVD drive or connect the USB device. 

Restart the computer. 

Follow the instructions.

Set the install language to Esperanto.   

You will need to set your time zone, etc. 

After only one re-boot you should have a complete working system with lots of useful software, and an Esperanto interface.

After installation

You will find that your installation contains the most important applications, Firefox, LibreOffice, and Thunderbird, as well as thousands of others. Try some of them.

Surrogate alphabets for Esperanto are to be avoided. For typing in Esperanto, you need a keyboard layout with key combinations for the accented letters. To read about how to do that go to our page How to type in Esperanto. Once you have set this up, you can use Esperanto in many applications without having to set anything further.

For writing in Esperanto, you may need a dictionary for checking spelling. For LibreOffice that is documented at The extension Esperanto-literumilo by E@I also works in OpenOffice.


Having installed Linux, you will have an advanced computer system with thousands of open source applications at your disposal. If you need any more, you can install them using the package manager or the program Synaptic.

Many software packages have been adapted for Esperanto, but not all. You may find some applications which have not (yet) been adapted. All that work is done by volunteers.

Play with your new system. Work with it. Enjoy it.