HOWTO: Avant Window Navigator (AWN)

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This article uses Portage. Do not proceed if you have no idea what Portage is.
Warning!! This article requires the use of Compositing (XGL or AIGLX)

Sick of the menus that are standard with your Desktop Environment? I know I am. Here is the document that is going to allow you to break away from the monotony of every day menus. Everyone welcome AWN.


As of version 0.2.1, both Awn and awn-extras are in Portage. If you're running a stable arch and Awn has not been stabilized for it yet, you will need to unmask it yourself. To do so, add the following lines to /etc/portage/package.keywords (in this example, the arch is x86):

File: /etc/portage/package.keywords
 gnome-extra/avant-window-navigator ~x86
 gnome-extra/avant-window-navigator-extras ~x86

Then, simply run this from the command line (in the example, the package manager used is emerge):

# emerge -a avant-window-navigator avant-window-navigator-extras

Running AWN

First run AWN in a console.

$ avant-window-navigator

You should get something like this

 [email protected] ~ $ avant-window-navigator
Screen is composited.
LOADED : /home/elementalnature/.config/awn/launchers/awn_launcher-2.desktop
LOADED : /home/elementalnature/.config/awn/launchers/awn_launcher-3.desktop
LOADED : /home/elementalnature/.config/awn/launchers/awn_launcher-4.desktop
LOADED : /home/elementalnature/.config/awn/launchers/awn_launcher-5.desktop
LOADED : /home/elementalnature/.config/awn/launchers/awn_launcher-6.desktop
LOADED : /home/elementalnature/.config/awn/launchers/awn_launcher-7.desktop
LOADED : /home/elementalnature/.config/awn/launchers/awn_launcher.desktop
LOADED : /home/elementalnature/.config/awn/launchers/awn_launcher-1.desktop
APPLET : /usr/lib/awn/applets/taskman.desktop
APPLET : /usr/lib/awn/applets/main-menu.desktop
APPLET : /usr/lib/awn/applets/trash.desktop
APPLET : /usr/lib/awn/applets/cpumeter.desktop

get_name_app: avant-window-navigator
get_name_window: avant-window-navigator
name: avant-window-navigator

get_name_app: avant-window-navigator
get_name_window: awn_elements
name: awn_elements

get_name_app: avant-window-navigator
get_name_window: avant-window-navigator
name: avant-window-navigator

get_name_app: [email protected]:~
get_name_window: [email protected]:~
name: [email protected]:~

get_name_app: xchat
get_name_window: XChat: elementalnature @ FreeNode / #sabayon (+tnc)
name: XChat: elementalnature @ FreeNode / #sabayon (+tnc)

get_name_app: phoenix - conky
get_name_window: phoenix - conky
name: conky

get_name_app: Amarokapp
get_name_window: Amarok
name: Amarok

get_name_app: pidgin
get_name_window: Buddy List
name: Buddy List

get_name_app: xfce4-panel
get_name_window: Xfce Panel
name: Xfce Panel

get_name_app: xfdesktop
get_name_window: Desktop
name: Desktop

The first line that states: Screen is composited must be there. If it isn't this probably explains why AWN isn't running.

If you do not have XGL or some other type of compositing manager running; you cannot run AWN. Refer to Gentoo Wiki: XGL or Gentoo Wiki AIGLX

Autostarting AWN

This is a tricky session because everyone uses a different DE (Desktop Environment) so I am going to list the most used ones here. Gnome, Xfce, and KDE.

  • To autostart with Gnome you should browse to your Main Menu -> Prefrences -> Sessions. There you can auto add it. Just add avant-window-navigator to the autorun box.
  • To autostart with Xfce, you pretty much do the same as Gnome. Browse to the menu, go to settings, and go to Autostarted Applications. Then add it and fill out the required boxes. Just add the run command as avant-window-navigator
  • To autostart with KDE follow the link

More info HOWTO_Autostart_Programs