Gnome as all GTK application, its RTL switch comes from locale definition and it's tight coded. So you have to change to RTL locale/language. If that locale is not installed GUI will be flipped but text/labels/menu will fall-back to the original language (English in most cases) with warning message:
Gtk-WARNING **: Locale not supported by C library.
Using the fallback 'C' locale.
As I know Chinese is direction independent, I suppose it is configured as LTR. So it is better to look pure RTL locales like Arabic, Hebrew, Persian ...
To change setting for Unity or Gnome Sessions/Desktop
To change global settings
/etc/default/locale, Example (ar_DZ, Arabic_Algeria):
Need to logout
To change only user setting
Need to logout
Another way, If you want to flip GUI or switch locale/language for just one application:
- Open terminal Ctrl+Alt+t
Run it with
LANGUAGE=ar_DZ.UTF-8, try both of them not all application use same
Qt applications have a separated RTL switch
-reverse which could be used without language change. Example:
Now, If your language is not English and you want to use RTL flipped interface with it. There is a trick, you may test it:
Generate new locale as variation of an RTL language, example:
sudo locale-gen ar_YY.UTF-8
sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales
Copy your language translation (of
gettext) files to new locale folder. As example French.
sudo cp -r /usr/local/share/locale/fr /usr/local/share/locale/ar_YY
Not all application put their locales in
/usr/local/share/locale/. If you face such case, you may look where all locale files: