Sunday, February 08, 2009

Awn/Awn Extras 0.3.2 Released!

[Awn image, courtesy of malept]The Avant Window Navigator (Awn) and Awn Extras teams would like to announce the release of version 0.3.2. This represents a year's worth of bugfixes, performance improvements, and new applets. Note that the 0.2.8 release was cancelled, due to lack of developer interest. Our next major release, 0.4.0, will be a complete rewrite of the dock and applet API.

Avant Window Navigator is a dock for the Free Desktop which shows your launchers and open applications. It also contains support for extensions, via plugins for third-party applications, which communicate with the dock with DBus, and via applets, which allows for workspace switchers, system trays, clocks, etc., to be embedded in the dock. These applets can be written in C, Vala, or Python.

Awn currently requires compositing support in order to run. Window managers which support compositing include (but are not limited to) Metacity (part of GNOME), Xfwm4 (part of Xfce), KWin (part of KDE4.x), and Compiz. There are also standalone compositing managers, for window managers without support built-in: Cairo Compositing Manager and xcompmgr.

Awn Extras is a catch-all project which houses mainly third-party applets for use with Avant Window Navigator.

[Awn screenshot, courtesy of mhr3]

Avant Window Navigator Notable Changes


  • We have made it easier to enable Awn to run when you log into your desktop - there is an "Automatically start Awn on login" option.
  • If you start Awn without a compositing manager present, a pop-up dialog will appear informing you that compositing is not currently enabled.
  • Most applet icons can now be customized by dragging and dropping an icon onto the applet in question. Note that this does not apply to tasks.
  • Better compatibility with Metacity.
[Awn screenshot by h4writer]


  • The (optional) Vala version dependency has been bumped to 0.5.4.
  • The location of the applet metadata files has changed, at the request of Debian. We have included a script (awn-applets-migration) which will migrate users' settings to point to the new location.

Applet Developers

  • You can now use cairo contexts/surfaces to paint text/images to AppletSimple-based applets.
  • There is now a standardized applet context menu API.
  • Advanced custom icon support via AwnIcons
  • .
[Awn screenshot by onox]

Known Issues

These will probably be fixed in 0.4.0.

  • Keyfile-based config is unstable. It works for the developer who wrote it well enough, but the GConf backend is currently the most stable configuration backend.
  • Autohide is still buggy.
  • Awn does not handle multiple screens very well.
  • You cannot move the dock to any other edge of the screen. It is currently fixed to the bottom.
[Awn screenshot, courtesy of mrooney]

Awn Extras Notable Changes

New Applets

  • Animal Farm: Various animals tell your fortune.
  • Cairo Clock: a replacement for pyclock (due to license issues). It provides three themes, and (if python-dateutil and libgweather are installed) allows you to add additional clocks for different locations.
  • Comics!: A flexible comic strip viewer.
  • CPU Frequency Monitor: controls and monitors the CPU frequency (useful for laptops)
  • Desktop Manager: manages the desktop wallpaper for GNOME and Xfce.
  • Media Player: plays anything you drop on the applet.
  • ThinkHDAPS: monitors the accelerometer for IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad hard drives.
  • PyNot: a configurable notification area AKA system tray.
  • Remember The Milk: A simple interface to the web service.
  • To-do: A todo list.
  • Tomboy: A simple interface to the Tomboy application.
[Awn screenshot by triggerhapp]

Changes to Applets

  • Battery Applet: rewritten, now requires HAL.
  • Cairo Menu: various fixes
  • Digital Clock: various fixes
  • Media Control: various fixes
  • Notification area: looks fancier now
  • Quit Applet: rewritten; supports the GNOME 2.24 quit behavioral changes
  • Shiny Switcher: various fixes
  • Terminal: various fixes
  • Volume Control: rewritten

Removed Applets

  • cairo-menu-classic (use Cairo Menu)
  • PyClock (license issues, use Cairo Clock)
  • tsclient (license issues)
  • Workspace Switcher (use Shiny Switcher)
[Awn screenshot by h4writer]


  • Animal Farm: new runtime dependency on the fortune binary.
  • Battery Applet: new runtime dependency on HAL via DBus.
  • Cairo Clock: optional runtime dependencies on libgweather (for the Locations.xml(.gz) file) and the python dateutil module.
  • CPU Frequency Monitor: optional runtime dependency on gnome-applets, for the cpufreq-selector binary.
  • PyNot: runtime dependency on python-xlib.

Applet Developers

  • AWNLib has been overhauled. It is now PEP8-compliant.

Known Issues

  • Cairo Menu: Intermittent issue of submenus overlapping parents may still be present.
  • Cairo Menu and Places applets: Certain fonts/locales are broken.
  • Media Player: errors are not currently displayed.
  • Shiny Switcher: Switching window managers tends to result in inconsistent behavior.
[Awn screenshot by moonbeam]


Semi-official Ubuntu packages for various Ubuntu versions will be available at the Awn Core PPA. We are working with various distributions (Mandriva, Gentoo, Debian, Ubuntu) to update their packages. You can download the source code at Launchpad (Awn Extras) - instructions on how to install from source are at our wiki (Awn Extras).

About the Images

  1. My dock, on an Ubuntu Hardy machine. I have running Cairo Menu, Show Desktop, Taskmanager/Launcher, Awn System Monitor, Animal Farm (with unfortunately a non-free image - this has been rectified for the release), and Digital Clock. The image is licensed under the Creative Commons 3.0-BY-SA (Unported).
  2. mhr3's dock screenshot contains the Shiny Switcher, Weather, Taskmanager/Launcher, Battery, Media Player, and Notification Area applets. The image is licensed under the WTFPL.
  3. h4writer's dock has Taskmanager/Launcher, Shiny Switcher, and Quit applets. The image is licensed under the WTFPL.
  4. onox's dock screenshot contains the CPU Frequency Monitor, ThinkHDAPS, Taskmanager/Launcher, Cairo Clock, Volume Control, Battery, Weather, and Notification Area applets. The image is licensed under the Creative Commons 3.0-BY-SA (Unported).
  5. mrooney's animal dock. This showcases the new, public domain images for Animal Farm, retrieved from the excellent Open Clip Art Library. Also in the dock are the Weather and Terminal applets. The image is licensed under the WTFPL.
  6. triggerhapp's dock is running on Ubuntu Jaunty. He is running the Cairo Menu, Taskmanager/Launcher, Separator, Volume Control, To-Do, Quit, and PyNot applets. Note the transparency in PyNot - this was achieved because support was finally added to GTK+ in version 2.15.0, available in Jaunty. To use it yourself, you need to run the RGBA version of PyNot and Jaunty (or equivalent distro version). The image is licensed under the WTFPL.
  7. h4writer's second screenshot contains the Cairo Menu, Separator, Taskmanager/Launcher, Separator, Media Player, Media Icon (Play), Media Icon (Previous), Media Icon (Next), Separator, and Cairo Clock applets. The image is licensed under the WTFPL.
  8. moonbeam's dock screenshot contains the Cairo Menu, Places, Taskmanager/Launcher, Shiny Switcher, Awn System Monitor, Comics, To-Do, CPU Frequency Monitor, Volume Control, Weather, and Calendar applets. The image is licensed under the Creative Commons 3.0-BY-SA (Unported).

More Information


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Does AWN have a nice 'fisheye' zoom effect on the icons like Mac OS X? It's quite nice regardless, although the older version I was using was a little glitchy on startup and some other times...

Benoit Caccinolo said...

After the compilation from the sources of the awn and the extras, I have this recurrent error:
ImportError: /usr/local/lib/python2.5/site-packages/awn/extras/ undefined symbol: notify_message_extended

I have a Ubuntu Intrepid.

Anonymous said...

Forgot the part where you link to a Digg post:

Mark said...

For future reference, please use Launchpad for any bug reports - applet-specific bugs go to Awn Extras.

@Stephen Gentle:

See the FAQ entry "Why doesn't Awn have the parabolic zoom effect that other docks have?"

We suggest that Ubuntu users use the PPA linked to in the post.

@Vadi: yeah, I'm still working on the whole marketing thing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for Posting this! I love this bar. I used wbar before but it's going to go unstabel by so lots of Icon etc. With AWN is run everything well.

Thanks a lot !

so far
MFG 4k3nd0

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