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5.08.2008

Linux - Getting a Dock for Ubuntu

I use a Mac at work. I like the layout, and so when I started playing with Linux on my aged laptop, I was looking for a lightweight distro that looked nice on my older hardware. I tried Dream Linux, which has a nice OS X / Mac styled look to it, but some of the graphical effects and resolutions just wouldn't work with the old Radeon Mobility 9000 in the notebook. I switched to Ubuntu because I figured it would probably have broader support and I'd be able to find more documentation to fix any problems. It also has a pretty good repository of add-on software that doesn't require a lot of command line knowledge to install.

I liked the Compiz Fusion system for compositing the desktop. I added on the Avant Window Navigator dock for that OSX styled launcher/dock at the bottom of the screen. Together they looked nice, and has lots of eye candy, but my poor old notebook couldn't really handle it. Windows tore and stuttered when I dragged them around, and programs seemed to hesitate when launched.

I uninstalled Compiz and went back to using the default Ubuntu window manager, Metacity.
Unfortunately the cool AWN dock wouldn't work under Metacity. I found out that the problem is that AWN requires compositing to run. It turns out that you can enable compositing inside Metacity and use AWN. There are good instructions here.

So now I have a nice looking fast Linux install, and I get to keep my Dock.

Now I need to figure out why AWN is not drawing a dock on all my desktops, but only on the first one.

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