Cairo-Dock is a pretty, fast and customizable desktop interface. You can see it as a good alternative/addition to Unity, Gnome-Shell, Xfce-panel, KDE-panel, etc. Its installable from the repos and has its home page at ’GLX-dock’ where it has a good set of documentation, a wiki and a forum too. The Debian Wheezy has version 3.0.0 but there is a more recent version in the Debian Sid repo of 3.1.1.

But, a more up-to-date cairo-dock is available from their site and with apt-get too, and its version 3.1.2. So open a terminal and enter

sudo leafpad /etc/apt/sources.list

and add this line -

deb testing

Then run sudo apt-get update and sudo apt-get install cairo-dock cairo-dock-plug-ins

When its all finished downloaded do ALT+F2 and enter cairo-dock -c and it should then load at the bottom of your screen. What the last command does is to reconfigure cairo-dock. You can also nuke /home/foo/.config/cairo-dock before reconfiguring cairo-dock. You could also rename it, but I haven't found any advantage for doing so. Then at a terminal enter cairo-dock -v and you should get the answer 3.1.2 showing that you have the current version.

To configure an icon, you need to RightClick with your mouse on an icon, choose the second option of the programme that you're interested in, and if its configurable then you will have an edit option. Things like weather and gmail are configurable whereas xchat and chromium aren't.

But now the most uptodate version is 3.2.1, as time has moved on, which sounds like an old TV game show with 'Dusty Bin' but is actually the version number of the current release!

There is another programme similar to 'cairo-dock' called Docky which is in the repos, and that doesn't have as many bells and whistles as cairo-dock, but it seems to be more stable and take up less desktop space. But YMMV! Either way they are both good programmes and are very useful for various desktops. Much of cairo-dock is best investigated with a play and learn approach, by just using it and seeing exactly what it does. Have a go and see :)


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