Replacing Gnome Panel with AWN (Dock) and DockbarX (Lucid)

This guide assumes you want to completely replace both Gnome panels with a combination of the AWN Dock, and DockbarX. It also assumes that you will be using DockbarX to manage running applications and not as a dock in it’s own right. Note: this has been tested on Lucid and briefly on Maverick but will not work on Natty. For Natty see

The first step in this process is to install the needed PPA.
To do this open a terminal and enter:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update

Alternatively if you have Ubuntu Tweak installed you can accomplish this by opening Ubuntu Tweak, and selecting the Source Center. Then press the Unlock button and enter your password. Scroll down and tick the WebUpd8 box. You may be prompted to re-enter your password at this point. Then press Sync and close Ubuntu Tweak.

Install and Configure DockbarX
With the repository in place it is time to install DockbarX, so open Synaptic and search for dockbarx. Note: I already have DockbarX and AWN installed on my system so Synaptic shows both as installed in these screenshots.

Tick the boxes for dockbarx and dockbars-themes-extra, and press apply.

To configuring DockBarx, there should a new “DockBarX Preference” entry should be available in your Accessories menu.

Under The Dock tab I have Mode set to centered, Position set to “left” and Size set to “42”. I have also selected “Allow maximized windows behind the dock”. Beyond that I believe I have taken all default settings.

I ran DockbarX the first time from the command line to make sure it was working properly. To as a stand-alone dock: press ALT + F2 and enter: “dockx”. At this point when you open a window, the associated icon should appear on the left of your screen. Of course the dock will disappear on the next reboot, but we can take care of that later.

Install and Configure AWN
Right you are ready to install AWN (Avant Windows Navigator). So open synaptic and search for AWN.

and select the following for installation


and press apply. Note you may also want to install


if you want to use DockbarX as a AWN applet not as a stand alone dock for your running applications. In my case I am running DockbarX as a separate dock on the left side of the screen so I did not install the associated AWN applet.

Eventually, we will remove the bottom Gnome Panel but not until we are satisfied with configuration of AWN and DockbarX. To configure AWN, open Preferences/Awn Settings. Here are my settings in the preferences window:

Then open the applet window by clicking Applets.

To add an applet to your dock, find the applet you want in the list of available applets, left click on it and drag it down to the Active Applets panel. Applets can be removed by selecting them in the Active Applets panel and dragging them back to the list. My current applets include a Menu applet, the File Browser applet, a Separator, a Stacks Applet, the SlickSwitcher, the Garbage applet, the Notification Daemon, the Notification Area (systray) and the Quit-Log Out applet. Other icons are launchers which were added it the Task Manager window. Note: the AWN Notification Area applet will not work until the Systray has been removed from the Gnome Panel.

Now select and open the Task Manager window in Awn Settings.

To add launchers to AWN, open a terminal and run:

/usr/lib/gnome-main-menu/application-browser &

You should then see:

Drag the application(s) you wish to add to your dock into the Task Manager window of Awn Settings and drop it into the Launchers panel. Note dragging an application launcher from the Awn Menu does not work for me. The launchers I added are Sezen, Chromium, Firefox, Gnome Teminal (not the applet), a Superuser Nautilus, Synaptic and gedit.

Replacing Gnome Panel with AWN
First setup a launcher to make backing out easier if something goes wrong. Right click anywhere on the desktop and select Create Launcher. In the Name box enter a name like Gconf, then in the Command box type gconf-editor. You might also want to create other desktop launchers, say for firefox at this time by dragging them from the Gnome menu onto your desktop.

and press the Ok button.
Now run the editor using your new launcher. Using the tree view on the left, navigate to desktop -> gnome -> session -> required_components -> panel and change




and close gconf-editor. To test things, log out and back in, AWN should be working (and DockbaX should be gone.

If AWN is not working, you can always go back by using your gconf-editor launcher to change the panel value above back to gnome-panel. Log out and back in again by opening up a terminal (Alt + F2) and running

sudo service gdm restart

Once your are satisfied with AWN, open up the file manager to your home directory and create a new folder called launchers. Then you can move your gconf-editor launcher and any other desktop launchers you created there in case you ever need them again.

Running DockbarX at startup
Assuming all is well, it’s time to get DockbarX working. From the AWN Menu, open up Preferences/Startup Applications and press the Add button. Then enter DockbarX in the name field and docks in the Command field. Press add then make sure the box is ticked in the new DockbarX

Finally use your AWN dock to logout, then log back in again. At this point both AWN and DockbarX should be running.

  1. wow, big thanks for you.. my ubuntu is very nice now

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