AWN - short for Avant Window Navigator is a dock like bar which sits at the bottom of the screen. It provides similar effects as the Dock in Mac OSX Leopard. The AWN project consists of three main parts namely
- The Dock
- AWN window navigator and
- The shared library 'libawn' which is used to develop applets which enhance the functionality of AWN. The applets can be coded in either 'C' or 'Python' language.
To install AWN on your Linux machine, it has to meet certain conditions. Them being -
- Xgl or AIGLX installed - in short your computer should be capable of compositing support. This mostly means if you have an Nvidia or ATI video card, you should download and install the proprietary drivers.
- A compositing manager installed. A few examples of compositing managers are Beryl/Compiz/Compiz Fusion, Cairo, Xfce, Metacity, xcompmgr and so on.
In Ubuntu you can enable compositing manager by clicking System>Preferences> Appearance and then enabling Visual effects from the 'Visual Effects' tab in the Appearance dialog.
In Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon, the installation of AWN is a two step process. First you have to enable the backports repository which contain the necessary binaries of avant window navigator and related files.
This is done by clicking System>Administration>Software sources on the GNOME panel.
It opens the "Software sources" dialog box.
In that click the 'Updates' tab and enable the gutsy-backports option as shown in the figure below :
Next fire up a terminal and update and install the AWN packages as follows :
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install avant-window-navigator awn-manager
awn-manager is a GUI tool which allows you to make changes to the look and feel of the AWN dock as well as install and manage applets and themes.
Now that you have installed Avant Window Manager, it is time to take it for a test drive. To start AWN, click GNOME menu Applications>Accessories>Avant Window Navigator.
A few AWN tips
- To add applications to the AWN dock, just drag and drop icons from the Applications menu or from Nautilus (/usr/share/applications).
- You can right click on the AWN dock and select properties to open the 'Avant Window Manager' dialog where you can change the look and feel of the dock and add additional applets.
Finally we Linux users have our very own dock similar to the dock seen in Mac OSX Leopard. While the AWN project is still a work in progress, there are a lot of applets available from the ubiquitous clock to the GMail checker which brings visual joy to the user's desktop. To know about these applets, read the following article.