Ultimate Docks for Ubuntu

To customize the Ubuntu 10.10 Desktop and making it further more good looking and easy to use, we have Docks for you. A dock is a rectangular bar that has launchers and applets on it that can replace the Gnome panel and act as an eye candy as well. The main aim behind these docks is to improve the usability of Gnome and add cool looks to the desktop. We have 3 best Docks for your Ubuntu system viz. Avant Windows Navigator, Docky and Cairo Dock.

Avant Window Navigator

Avant Window Navigator (AWN) is a dock-like navigation bar for the gnome desktop. It can be used to keep track of open windows and behaves like a normal window list. So it can add to functionality, simplicity and usability of your Ubuntu & can work to replace your existing Gnome Panels and help add Eyecandy to your Ubuntu Desktop.

Install :- Open the Terminal and type in this :-

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:awn-testing/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install avant-window-navigator-trunk avant-window-navigator-data-trunk python-awn-trunk awn-settings-trunk awn-applets-c-core-trunk awn-applets-c-extras-trunk awn-applets-python-core-trunk python-awn-extras-trunk awn-applets-python-extras-trunk

Make sure you donot have any previous version installed from the Ubuntu repository. If yes, then remove it via Synaptic.

AWN Styles :- To give AWN a whole new look, just goto “AWN>Dock Preferences” and select “Lucido”in the ‘Style’ section of ‘Preferences’ tab. You can add multiple Docks to your desktop to make it more usable and more awesome at looks.

AWN Themes :- To add more style to AWN, you can set “Lucido theme” to it inorder to make it look good. Just goto AWN>Dock Preferences>Themes & select ‘Lucido’ theme. You can download ‘Radiance & Ambiance Lucido themes’ from here. Just unzip the file and from the ‘themes’ tab of AWN preferences, install the themes an enjoy the new AWN.

Configuring AWN :- To get a really cool look, add “separator” where you want ‘curved edges’. To add ‘more launchers’ to your AWN, just add ‘Simple Launcher’ from ‘utilities’ in the ‘applets’ tab & then drag and drop the Application icon from Ubuntu main menu to AWN to add its launcher. Simple and workable. :) Take a look at this :


It is a full fledged dock application that makes opening common applications and managing windows easier and quicker. Docky is fully integrated into the Ubuntu GNOME Desktop and features a very easy and cool configuration and usage. It has got better usability and themes. It provides an application launcher, running application management, and various “docklets” including a CPU monitor, weather report and clock.

Install :- Goto Ubuntu Software Center and search for Docky, Install it in just 1 click and access Docky from Accessories > Docky.
OR Simply open the terminal and type :-
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:docky-core/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install docky
and done. Enjoy Docky experience.

Configuring Docky :- Working with Docky is a lot of fun. To add more launchers, just drag and drop Application from Panel menu and to remove, just Drag ‘em out of docky :D. To add style to your Docky, click Docky>Settings>Themes. To get a 3D look in your dock, just tick ’3D background’ in docky settings.

Docky Themes :- To get more themes, you can browse “Gnome-look” site. Here we have few selected Docky themes to add more style to your desktop.
To install them, oextract the tar.gz files & then install from Docky Settings>Themes>Install or just extract the files and double -click ‘install’ icon and run the file. Then select new theme from Docky>Settings>Themes. Simple isn’t it ! Here, take a look :

Cairo Dock

It uses Cairo / OpenGL to render graphics (many in correlation with Compiz) with full hardware acceleration. It’s fully configurable and fully customizable and can be used as a taskbar too. You can easily add applets in the dock or as a desklet. It is recommended to install the plug-in package to have access to many plug-ins and applets.

Install :- It is found in Ubuntu Software Center but can also be installed via PPA too :-
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cairo-dock-team/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cairo-dock
and its done.

Configuring Cairo :- Right click and goto Cairo Dock>Configure to set the Cairo dock according to your need. To add Launchers, just click on Add-ons tab from the Cairo menu and click ‘apply’.

Cairo Dock Themes :- There are a lot of themes available in the list. Right-click Cairo-dock>Manage Themes and just select and click ‘apply’. It will be downloaded, installed and changed automatically. Additional themes can be downloaded from Gnome-Look.
Take a look how Cairo works :
Note: The above PPAs also work in Ubuntu 9.10 and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. For any queries regarding the post or any other regarding Ubuntu, ask here.
That’s all for now! Njoy !

About Cell aka Abhishek

A Technology Fanatic, Open-source lover, a future Entrepreneur, & an Innovative thinker, is presently working as a R&D Engineer in the Wind Turbine Industry.
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