How To Install and Configure Avant Window Navigator for Ubuntu

If you have a video card capable of running a composition manager like Compiz, you may be interested in running the Avant Window Navigator for Ubuntu.  This document will explain the steps you need to take to install and configure the Avant Window Navigator on Ubuntu 8.04.

The Avant Window Navigator (AWN/Awn) is a dock-like navigation bar for the Linux desktop that positions itself at the bottom of the screen. It can be used to keep track of open windows and behaves like a normal window list. It is very similar to the menu doc in Mac OSX Leopard.

First, you need to make sure you have composition turned on.  In Ubuntu, navigate to the System > Preferences > Appearance > Visual Effects tab.  Make sure that visual effects is enabled.

Enable Compiz in Ubuntu

Now that we know composition is enabled, we can go ahead and install AWN.

Installing Avant Window Navigator

First we need to make sure that you have the backports repository enabled in your /etc/apt/sources.list.  This can be done via the GUI, but I am going to demonstrate how to edit the file from the command line, the true Linux way.

Edit the /etc/apt/sources.list file with a text editor such as vi or nano.

# nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Locate the following lines:

# deb hardy-backports main restricted universe multiverse
# deb-src hardy-backports main restricted universe multiverse

Uncomment these by removing the pound (#) signs on both lines.  It should now look like this:

deb hardy-backports main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src hardy-backports main restricted universe multiverse

Save the file in nano by hitting ^X then Y to accept the changes.

Now that we have allowed apt to search the backports repository, we have to tell apt-get to update the repository list.

# sudo apt-get update

Now we can install Avant Window Navigator:

# sudo apt-get install avant-window-navigator

apt-get will install a few other dependencies, such as awn manager.  Awn Manager is a tool that allows you to configure your dock.

Now that AWN is installed, you should be able to run it by going to:

Applications > Accesories > Avant Window Navigator

You should now see the AWN dock at the bottom of your screen.

Configuring Avant Window Navigator

To configure AWN to your liking, open up the Awn Manager by navigating to System > Preferences > Awn Manager

AWN Manager

You’ll notice that the Awn Manager allows you to configure many aspects of the dock.  From here, you can add applets, launchers, different themes, and modify the apperance and behavior of the dock.  Hint: A nice tip you should know is that you can add apps to the dock by navigating to the Applications menu and simply dragging applications into the dock in real time.

How to get Avant Window Navigator to run at start up

If you want AWN to run during startup, all you have to do is add it to your startup sessions.

Navigate to System > Preferences > Sessions

Under the Startup Programs tab, click +Add and fill out the New Startup Program dialog box:

Add AWN to Startup Programs

Awn should now start up during after your computer boots.

Further AWN Information

To find out more about the Avant Window Navigator visit the AWN Wiki and check out the AWN Frequently Asked Questions.

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