Ok, I got fed up with the standard gnome task bar and decided to give the Mac OSX style task bar a try. Linux can handle a ton of running processes and applications (I mean a SH!T load) . So with more applications running, I needed more real estate for my task bar. Yeah, yeah, I know, this hardcore Linux fanboy decides to use the Mac OSX look and feel?! I’ll say it again, “I hate Macs and Windows”. BUT, I do love the simplicity of the icon style task bar that both Windows and Mac have incorporated with the recent desktop GUI’s rather than trying to hunt the 50 pixel wide task bar text buttons. I decided that I will download the “Avant Window Navigator” and alter some settings. There are other articles out there on how to configure this application however I was unable to find documentation to create my own custom setting with the gnome panel on the top and the OSX style task bar on the bottom. So away we go…
Screen shot of the expected outcome.
Adding the OSX Style Navigation Task Bar
First go to Application->Ubuntu Software Center and search for “Avant Window Manager”, click the install button. After install, I recommend also downloading the “Ubuntu Tweak” application as well (it will make things much easier to manage).
After both applications are installed, open up your terminal and type in:
This will bring up the configuration editor for gnome. In the left hand pane, you will now want to navigate to the desktop->gnome->session->required_components. Now, in the right hand pane you will notice there are a few records. Click on the “panel” record’s value and replace “gnome-panel” with “avant-window-navigator” (don’t add the quotes).
With the previous steps completed, you will now want to go to applications->system tools->ubuntu tweak. In the left hand pane, you will now see there are groups, find the “Startup” group and click “session control” sub category. Make sure the panel setting contains the value “avant-window-navigator” (without quotes). This will ensure that AWN will automatically start when a user logs in.
In order to remove the bottom task bar of gnome panel, I would right click on the bar and click delete from the context menu. Now click on the “Auto Start Programs” from the left pane in ubuntu tweak and click the “Add” button located in the top right corner of the window. Another window will open to add the new entry. I named mine “GNOME Panel *Custom” so I remember that I added that entry. In the command field, add “gnome-panel” so we can almost lazy load this application on startup to preserve the top gnome panel navigation. I also added a comment in regards to what I did so I can revert changes with ease.
Now, moment of truth… Log out of your session and log back in. Your top gnome panel should remain untouched and intact while the bottom panel has been replaced by the Avant Window Navigator! You can now customize the look and feel of AWN. I decided to go with the 3d style at 24 pixels. I also added a bunch of cool widgets to my bottom panel and the workspaces to the top panel, center aligned… The rest is now all up to you.