Saturday, January 17, 2009

Getting Rid of AWN and Replacing it with Gnome Do's "Docky"

A lot of desktop users that want some "flash" are using Avant Window Navigator (AWN) as their dock. AWN is a highly configurable, good-looking dock which is in constant development. Many of these same desktop users are fans of Gnome Do. Why use both when you can use just one and save resources?

What is Gnome Do?

"GNOME Do (Do) is an intelligent launcher tool that makes performing common tasks on your computer simple and efficient. Do not only allows you to search for items in your desktop environment (e.g. applications, contacts, bookmarks, files, music), it also allows you to specify actions to perform on search results (e.g. run, open, email, chat, play). Want to send an email to mom? Simply type "mom email". Want to listen to some music? Simply type "beatles play". Do provides instantaneous, action-oriented desktop search results that adapt to reflect your habits and preferences. For example, if you use Firefox web browser often, typing "f" in Do will launch it. Or, if you visit The New York Times webpage often, Do will open it if you simply type "nyt." Unlike other search tools that present search results as flat, homogeneous lists, Do provides familiar graphical depictions of search results that assure you that your intent is being realized correctly; searching for "mom" will show a picture of mom, and searching for "beatles" will show a Beatles album cover. Do has many more powerful and exciting capabilities that must be seen to be appreciated."

What is Docky?

Docky is a frontend for GNOME Do (Do) that introduces an entirely new way to interact with Do. Docky helps Do become more directly involved with your desktop by providing a persistent mouse based Dock interface while remaining true to Do's keyboard only interaction. Being tied directly into Do allows Docky to be adaptive and dynamic. As your usage patterns change, so too does Docky. For everything Do can do, Docky can too.

Installing Gnome Do with Docky

Only the newest version (0.80) of Gnome Do has the Docky interface, so while you can install Gnome Do from the Ubuntu repositories in some instances, you won't have the option of enabling a dock.

Open System > Administration > Software Sources and add the following lines to Third-party Software.
Distribution: Intrepid
Components: main
You could also manually add the following line to your /etc/apt/source.list file:
deb intrepid main

Once you're finished, you'll need to reload the package cache. You should be prompted to do this automatically. Once the cache is reloaded, open Application > Add/Remove and search for Gnome Do. Check the application to install it and apply the changes. Gnome Do will now be in your Applications menu under Accessories > Gnome Do. Starting Gnome Do will still give you the classic interface, though.


In order to enable the dock interface, you need to open Gnome Do Preferences (either using Gnome Do directly or by right-clicking on the notification icon) and choose Docky on the Interface tab.

Docky is fairly limited in configuration options, but applications are added, removed, and moved using drag and drop, making it much simpler than AWN. The dock apparently always contains eight launchers, so removing one will add another one that you use fairly often or randomly if you don't have any history.


Docky is a great way to consolidate your dock and launching into one program. If you want a fast, usable desktop, consider switching from AWN and installing the new version of Gnome Do.


Anonymous said...

Would it have killed you to give us the full deb line to paste into 3rd party software sources? It would have saved me a minute of fluffing around.

Here it is..

deb intrepid main

Anonymous said...

Actually not quite..

deb intrepid main
deb-src intrepid main


Apologies for supplying only the screenshot and info. I realize that this doesn't work for folks on Hardy.


@Anonymous #1

Why are you such an ungrateful bastard? Okay he misssed it, so fucking what.

Thanks for the tip man, spot on!


The interface does seem pretty, but does docky have features similar to awn's notification area or places applet ??
If it does, then i would happily replace awn with docky ..


As I mentioned, Docky isn't featureful -- it doesn't have a notification area (something that it need in my opinion, or any other plug-ins. The interface is new, though, so these may or may not come about in time. The interface also has a single look -- flat.

If you want all the flash and configurability of AWN, you need to stick with it.

Anonymous said...

Docky is way faster than AWN and isnt written in nasty python which helps speed it up too.

AWN has so many bugs with redrawing and multiple screens that it makes it a pain to use.

There is a notifactions style thing coming but its going to be different from the standard notifaction area apparently and be more integrated into the various launcherSs!

Anonymous said...

I tried Docky but it used 100% CPU on one of my cores, so I can't see how AWN can be any slower.


Qtuie strange. I only get it it 1% on a PIV (and that's using a vase driver with faux Metacity compositing).

Could you have a bad plugin?

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