How-to Install Cairo-Dock

Cairo-Dock is a system dock similar to Awn and the dock in Mac OS X. It’s not as fancy as Awn, but Cairo-Dock is very configurable and supports some slick graphical effects.

Cairo-Dock at the top of the screen

Open the Cairo-Dock download page. You need to download two DEB packages: cairo-dock, and cairo-dock-plug-ins. Download the latest version of each.

Install the cairo-dock package, and then cairo-dock-plug-ins by double-clicking them.

Launch it from Applications->System Tools->Cairo-Dock. The first time Cairo-Dock is run, it will open the Manage Themes dialog. Select a theme and click OK. The dock will then launch.

Right-click on the dock to access configuration, as well as add and remove launchers.

There’s a documentation page with a lot more information.

Archived Comments


As a follow up this install works well so far with Xubu not just U or K buntu

Jack Lee

Nice post. I went ahead and tried it, and I’m kinda liking it. I was having a few issues with awn (mostly minor), so this is a nice alternative. I especially like that it has a os x theme. Sweet!


Support for 64bit hardy seams to be broken, I get;

cairo-dock: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

even though libglitz-glx is installed.


I have downloaded and installed Cairo-Dock and it works fine. Just one thing, is there a way to prevent the whole dock to expand when the mouse is placed over it and instead only the icons to expand.


Cairo is not running properly on my 64-bit machine either :(


Try downloading + installing , the files that end with x86_64…If u r intel from the inside! ;) (Eg:cairo-dock_v2.0.8_x86_64.deb)


I like this way better than awn, though perhaps I haven’t quite gotten the hang for how to customize awn well. Great blog, by the way! Just what I was looking for.


Not working on my 64bits Ubuntu Hardy too.

Venkatesh Nandakumar

By far, much better than AWN!

Set Maximum Zoom to 1.0.


Instructions in the section called “Cairo-Dock on 64bits CPU wiht no compilation, it is possible !” at the bottom of the page worked for my 64-bit machine.


I have AMD 64-bit but is running 32-bit Kubuntu Hardy Heron and I could not install the packages.

Could not open ‘cairo-dock_v1.5.4.2_i686-32bits.deb’


If you have AMD 64-bit, you must install the .deb packages with a special parameter.

Do: sudo dpkg -i –force-all

also, you must have getlibs installed and run the command,

sudo getlibs /usr/bin/cairo-dock

after installing the 32-bit package. i think thats the command. follow the how-to at:


Thanks for the howto


Can’t help me, but those jumping - blinking - flashing menus makes me less productive.

Just my 2 cents - polarizer


I’m liking it, but the default set-up for the systray is kind of annoying: it creates its own little thing that looks like a speech bubble instead of just sitting quietly on the dock with everything else.


detach it as a desklet and place it somewhere in a corner of your screen.
1.5.6 has just been released by the way.




to get the most current version of cairo dock working with ubuntu 8.10 64…

install the 2 .deb packages mentioned above

then run

getlibs /usr/bin/cairo-dock

note: you might need to install getlibs which can be found by searching “getlibs ubuntu”



i hate it. it opened the manager and when i closed it it kept opening it. i want to remove it but i can’t. really need help..using ubuntu 8.10


Is this also working with Jaunty Already Because i Upgraded From Intrepid.I had this Cairo Dock installed already but once i upgraded it all my themes got erased..


I tried to install cairo-dock in centos5.4 but it say that missing dependancy.I have attached the dependency can any one help me to install cairo-dock in in centos 5.4

checking for PACKAGE… configure: error: Package requirements (“gtk+-2.0 gthread-2.0 cairo librsvg-2.0 glitz dbus-1 dbus-glib-1 libxml-2.0”) were not met:

No package ‘glitz’ found

Consider adjusting the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable if you
installed software in a non-standard prefix.

Alternatively, you may set the environment variables PACKAGE_CFLAGS
and PACKAGE_LIBS to avoid the need to call pkg-config.
See the pkg-config man page for more details.


I am using Ubuntu karmic.

I must say it looks cute but it annoyed me by arbitrarily vanishing from the screen, losing the mouse focus and scrambling my top Gnome panel when vanishing.

Besides I did not find out how to force it staying at the screen bottom if I make it invisible and then visible again.

Since everything else works fine including compiz fusion and emerald, I disabled it.

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