Avant Window Manager, Cairo Dock, and Wbar are dock-like applications for Ubuntu Linux. A dock represents running programs as icons at the bottom of the screen (as is done on the Mac OS X desktop), instead of by toolbar panel segments (as is done in Windows and other Linux window managers). See this brief comparison of dock applications.
Avant Window Navigator
- Avant Window Navigator requires that a desktop composition manager (such as Metacity, Compiz, Xcompmgr, KDE4 (Kubuntu), or xfwm4 (Xubuntu)) be installed and running.
- Install and upgrade proprietary nVidia or ATI graphics drivers so that the compositing manager functions properly.
- Install AWN:
sudo apt-get install avant-window-navigator awn-manager
- (Note: If you are using Gnome (Ubuntu) and do not already have a compositing manager installed (such as Compiz), Metacity will be installed as part of the installation.)
- Enable automatic startup of AWN at bootup:
- Menu -> System -> Preferences -> Sessions -> Add…
- Select which applets should run from the dock menu by default:
- Menu -> Applications -> Accessories -> Avant Window Navigator Manager
- You can drag application icons onto the list, then activate or deactivate the applets from the list.
Cairo Dock can be used either with a desktop compositing manager (such as Metacity for Gnome, Compiz, or the KDE4 Window Manager) or without one. See the Ubuntu installation instructions for details. It is available from the repositories:
sudo apt-get install cairo-dock cairo-dock-plugins
wbar is a quick-launch bar (not a dock) that has an appearance similar to Avant Window Manager and Cairo Dock. It is GTK (Gnome) based but can work in all desktop environments. It does not require a compositing manager to be installed and is therefore quicker and more suitable for low-end hardware systems. It is the default in the Google gOS desktop and is available as a .deb package from Google. Download and install (from the command-line Terminal):
sudo dpkg -i wbar_1.3.3_i386.deb
- Start wbar with custom start options (e.g. by pressing alt+F2). Here is an example:
wbar -isize 48 -j 1 -p bottom -balfa 40 -bpress -nanim 3 -z 2.5 -above-desk
- Here is another example:
wbar -above-desk -pos bottom -isize 60 -nanim 1 -bpress -jumpf 0.0 -zoomf 1.5
For a full list of command-line startup options, see:
Tip: If you want the “wave” effect just increase the -nanim value. I like the icons to just pop up so I don’t use it, but with 9 icons 5 there is a nice “wave” effect.
Obviously, you could create a menu item with the command line options (similar to the examples above), or a batch file that can be automatically started at system startup (as a cron event or startup session).
You can also change wbar startup options by editing the configuration file:
sudo gedit /usr/share/wbar/dot.wbar
A simple wbar configuration utility can be downloaded as a .deb package and installed:
sudo dpkg -i wbarconf_0.7.2-1_i386.deb