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Monday, August 4, 2008

Avant Window Navigator

Avant window navigator project's site and the new wiki

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

Installation Guide

Help and Support
Ubuntu users should closely follow the installation instructions on the Awn homepage. Users of other Linux distros can find specific instructions on the homepage, also. Awn is a free download for Linux and requires Affinity.

  1. You need to figure out whether your computer is capable of
    running AWN. Your computer needs to be capable of compositing support,
    which allows for "real" transparency, among other things. This means,
    for example, that you should be able to make translucent/transparent
    any window, and be able to see the windows that are behind it. Your
    distribution may have documentation (either official or user-generated)
    on which compositing method and which X drivers you can use and how to
    install/configure it. This particular topic can be complex depending on
    the hardware and distribution, with users having a wide variety of
    opinions on which combinations work best, so it is greatly preferred
    that it is discussed elsewhere. Here is some information for several

  2. Make sure that your X installation has the "Composite"
    extension enabled. Again, the links above and/or your distribution's
    documentation/user support will help you with this, as this is beyond
    the scope of this document.
  3. You need to install a compositing manager. There are several currently available:
    • Beryl/Compiz/Compiz Fusion: This group tends to be the most
      popular among compositing managers, because of the number of effects
      you can achieve with it, such as "wobbly windows", minimize/maximize
      effects, workspaces laid out on a three-dimensional cube, etc. The
      Beryl project has merged with the Compiz window manager to form the Compiz Fusion project. It is compatible with both Gtk+ and KDE environments. The downside is that it requires OpenGL
      (3D rendering) support that some video card drivers do not currently
      have (for example, older nvidia cards and certain onboard VIA
    • Xfce:
      Recent versions of the Xfce desktop environment (starting from version
      4.2.0) have added support for compositing in its window manager, xfwm4.
      However, this feature is configurable at compile-time with a ./configure
      switch, so if you are running a binary package-based distribution (such
      as Debian or Fedora), you may or may not have this feature.
    • Metacity: The default window manager for Gnome. Compositing support was started for this WM in November 2003 (around version 2.7.0), but it has never been very stable. Because of this, it is not enabled in most distributions. Recently though, work started on a new implementation for compositing support that is in version 2.22.0 (and later).
    • Cairo Compositing Manager:
      According to its website, it is "a versatile and extensible composite
      manager which [uses] cairo for rendering. Rendering can be done in 2D
      or 3D, using Xrender and Glitz backends." At the time of this writing
      (2007-11-25), the project is in its infancy and under heavy
      development, so your mileage may vary.
    • xcompmgr: Back before Compiz was created or Xfce had
      compositing support, this was the way to make windows translucent and
      have drop-shadows. It was more of a proof-of-concept application for
      the new (at the time) Composite extension for X. Unfortunately, this
      application hasn't been updated since 2005, and doesn't have an
      official release. It is not recommended that you use this.


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