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cairo dock screenshot

Cairo Dock is a tool that can be used as a complete panel/launcher replacement thanks to its huge list of features: besides the fancy launcher / application switcher, it comes with applets like menu, Messaging Menu, systray, trash, weather and many others.

cairo dock screenshot
Cairo Dock using the Unity-1 theme

cairo dock screenshot
Default-panel theme

Cairo Dock 3.1 has been released recently, the new version featuring better Unity integration: support for the Launcher API, so Cairo Dock can now display badges or progress bars for the icons on the dock, just like Unity (Unity Quicklists are also supported since version 2.4), as well as a re-written Messaging Indicator for Ubuntu 12.10. Other changes:
  • progress bar added to several applets
  • the Music Player applet can control players in the systray
  • icons in the taskbar can be separated
  • 2 new indicator applets have been added: for printers and the new Sync Menu available in Ubuntu 12.10
  • the dock now supports XRandr which should replace Xinerama and help the dock to manage multi-monitors
  • 3 new themes
  • the advanced mode of the configuration panel has been improved
  • Recent Events applet can now display recently used applications as well
There are many other minor improvements in the latest Cairo Dock 3.1 - check out the official release notes for more info.

Below you can watch a Cairo Dock 3.1 demo recorded by Matthieu Baerts, one of its developers:

(direct video link)

Install Cairo Dock in Ubuntu

Ubuntu users can install the latest Cairo Dock by using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cairo-dock-team/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cairo-dock cairo-dock-plug-ins

For other Linux distributions, see the Cairo Dock installation page.

Thanks to Matthieu for the tip!