Relooking at Cairo Dock For Linux

More than a year ago, we reviewed Cairo Dock for Linux and how you can install and configure it in Ubuntu Intrepid. Fast forward to the present moment, Cairo Dock (now known as Glx-Dock) is still very much alive and has become one of the best dock application for Linux. The release of the latest version 2.2 brings much improvement and innovations that we feel it deserves another mention from us.

Glx-Dock (Cairo Dock) is available in the Ubuntu repository and you can easily install it via the Ubuntu Software Center (or Synaptic Package Manager). However, unless you are using Ubuntu Maverick, you will need to update your repository with the Cairo’s weekly PPA to enjoy the latest features. Here’s how you can do so:

Open a terminal and type the following:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cairo-dock-team/weekly
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cairo-dock cairo-dock-plug-ins

Once you have installed the application, you can launch it via Applications -> System Tools -> Cairo Dock.

If you have used Glx-Dock before, or are still using it now, the user interface is pretty much the same. What’s changed is the functionality.

Glx-Dock now comes with a panel mode that allows you to replace your gnome-panel (or any other panels in your desktop manager) completely. Go to the Glx-Dock configuration panel and click on the Appearance tab. In the Views section, change the option to “Panel”.

glx-dock-configure-panel

When you click Apply, you will see your dock transform into a panel.

glx-dock-panel-mode

For those who long wanted to get rid of their panel in favor of a more customizable dock, this is what you have been waiting for.

You can’t replace a panel based on the design itself, you still need the functionality of the applets. The latest version of Glx-Dock comes with several useful new applets, including the Me-Menu and Messaging Menu indicator applets. What is even better is that these applets come with more functionality and user interaction. For example, it is now possible to manage tasks in the Clock’s calendar, left click to lock the screen in the Logout applet, use tiny URLs in the Drop-and-Share applet, the Dustbin applet handles all the drives etc.

glx-dock-messaging-menu

One of the major complaint of any dock application is the overlapping of the dock and the active window, making it unusable at times. In Glx-dock, there are two new display mode “hide whenever the dock overlaps the active window” and “hide whenever the dock overlaps any window” to ensure that it will not interrupt your workflow.

The beauty of Glx-dock lies in the ability to create multiple instances of dock. Each dock functions independently. You can use only one dock to dump all the application launchers together, or two docks where one is used as the top panel replacement and another as the application launcher. Whatever it is, you are free to add as many docks as you want and customize it to your liking.

This is what I like about Glx-dock – the ability to work even without a compositing manager. If you have a old graphics card, you can still be sure that glx-dock will work in your system. (You will have to select the Cairo-Dock (no OpenGL) from the Application menu).

Have you tried out Glx-dock (Cairo dock) yet?