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How to fully replace your GNOME panels with AWN

Update: Some eagle-eyed and safety conscious readers pointed out that our original step 4 wasn’t the best way to go about things. We didn’t get around to fixing it sooner because Joey goes away for the weekend and I just found out about it. It’s now fixed – thank you for the heads up! – Benjamin

Long to ditch the old-skool GNOME panels and rock it with a dock and some bling?

A very nice reader by the handle of sub7i dropped off a tutorial detailing exactly how you can achieve this. Everything you need is provided – from a swish HD video demoing what you need to do to a sexy Ubuntu-theme matching AWN theme created especially for this.

Many thanks to Sub71.

Fully replace traditional “gnome-panel” with much more revolutionize Avant-Window-Navigator dock

Ever got bored with ugly, classic and less powerful Gnome-panel and wanted something new, modern and features rich. If so follow this tutorial and I guarantee you’ll be impressed.

In this tutorial, we’ll do the followings:

  1. Completely (but reversibly) remove gnome-panel from Ubuntu session.
  2. Customize AWN so it combines all the functions gnome-panel introduces (and yet more!)

Click to view larger

Step 1 ” Install the latest AWN version

Open the terminal and enter the followings two lines:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:awn-testing/ppa && sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install avant-window-navigator-trunk python-awn-extras-trunk  awn-applets-c-extras-trunk dockmanager-daemon dockmanager

Step 2 ” Use AwOken or Faenza-dark icon sets (optional)

Of-course you can stick to the default ubuntu-mono icons but in my experience  AwOken (or even Faenza) icons give much better visual results.

Step 3 ” Setup AWN dock

Because it’s hard to explain the steps with plain text, I made this video that explains the steps easily.

Fully replace traditional “gnome-panel” with much more revolutionize “Avant-Window-Navigator” dock from sub7ei on Vimeo.

But before we start download this theme

for AWN, which I made especially to match Ambiance colours.

Step 4 ” Remove gnome-panel

Open up Gconf editor by hitting Alt + F2 and typing gconf-editor

Using the tree view on the left, navigate to desktop -> gnome -> session -> required_components -> panel and change “gnome-panel” to “avant-window-navigator” (ignoring quotation marks of course!)

Log out and back in just to make sure, and everything should be working swell!

If it doesn’t work for you, you can always go back by opening up a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and lauching gconf-editor then changing the value above back to gnome-panel. Log out and back in again by using the command sudo service gdm restart in a terminal.

Thanks sub7i and the people who corrected the last step in the comments.