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First Steps

Cairo-Dock 2 with OpenGL support

With Cairo-Dock 2.0 version, you can choose between using Cairo-Dock with or without OpenGL. With OpenGL, the use of your video card is maximized and the dock with many effects and plug-ins is fluid all the time even with a CPU under heavy load! Unfortunately all ATI and many Intel cards don't support the OpenGL v2 as well as Nvidia cards - it seems to be resolved for Intel cards on Ubuntu Karmic / Fedora 12. For the owner of ATI or Intel video card, for which DRI2 support is under development, as well as for the legacy video card which do no support OpenGL v2, the Cairo back-end is still available. This allow everybody to be able to enjoy most of the dock's improvements and the new applets. Nevertheless, drivers are improving every day and we hope that you can use Cairo-Dock with OpenGL with every graphics cards!

Running cairo-dock
There are several ways to run cairo-dock. To do a standard run without using a backend, type the following a terminal and hit enter:

$ cairo-dock &

This will generate a startup message that will ask you to choose a backend for the current session (OpenGL or Cairo). There is an option to remember the choice and if not choosing to remember the choice, a startup message will be generated each time cairo-dock is run without backend options. To supress the startup message, you can specify which backend to use when running cairo-dock by specifying it as an option.

Run with OpenGL backend

$ cairo-dock -o

Run with Cairo backend

$ cairo-dock -c

Note: All ATI card owners must use this option when runnning cario-dock.

Running cairo-dock in GNOME
  • Go to Applications > System Tools > Cairo-Dock or GlxDock (Cairo-Dock with OpenGL)
  • Or Press Alt + F2 and type cairo-dock & in the box that opened then validate.

Running cairo-dock at startup
This depends on which desktop environment or window manager that is being used and which backend cario-dock should be run with. The following section shows how to run cairo-dock at startup without forcing a backend.

Cairo-dock method
Run cairo-dock and right-click the dock and go to Cairo-Dock > Launch Cairo-Dock on startup. The settings will be stored in ~/.config/autostart/ and sourced the next time you login.

But if you want, you can use the tool of your desktop environment:

Go to System > Preferences > Sessions or Startup Applications and add an entry for cairo-dock.

Add a cairo-dock entry to Startup Programs using:
$ gnome-session-properties

Go to Kde System Settings > Startup and Shutdown > Autostart > Add a program, then add cairo-dock.

Add the following to ~/.config/openbox/autostart.sh or ~/.fluxbox/startup accordingly:
cairo-dock &

Go to the Menu > Parameters > Applications started Automatically > Add, then add cairo-dock.
Or Add the following to ~/.config/xfce4/xinitrc:
cairo-dock &

Two cairo-docks are running
This is most likely a result of saved sessions being runned at login. If you are using a desktop environment like GNOME, KDE or Xfce you need to disable automatic startup of sessions/programs in your session manager settings. You may also need to delete the sessions cache:

$ rm ~/.cache/sessions/x*

If you are not using a desktop environment with a session manager or choose to have cairo-dock startup by itself, you need to remove autostart files generated by cairo-dock:

$ rm ~/.config/autostart/cairo-dock*

The background is black
This is most likely caused by not running a composite manager, like Xcompmgr or Cairo Compmgr. Cairo-dock uses the transparency feature of the composite manager to display the dock, and without it the dock will be displayed with a black background. If you are using a desktop environment, simply enable the composite manager or desktop effects in the settings.

An alternative solution that does not require a composite manager is to enable fake transparency in cairo-dock. To do this, right-click the dock and go to Cairo-Dock > Configure > Advanced Mode > System > Composition. Then enable both Emulate composition with fake transparency and Make the config panel transparent.

Cairo-Dock is on only one cube face
Cairo-dock can sometimes have a curious behaviour. This is likely because the desktop environment needs time to start up and prepare resources before cairo-dock is launched. Therefor you should try running cairo-dock with a delay:

sh -c "sleep 15 && cairo-dock &"

It will now wait for 15 seconds, before running.

If you have other problems and issues with cairo-dock, you should look for them in the Recurring Problems section or search the forum.

If you have any problems you can see how to easily customize your favorite dock in the Customization section.

Cairo-Dock works on Linux
Several research on the web shows that some people have been able to use the dock on a few Linux distributions:
  • Ubuntu/Debian (Cairo-Dock is developed on that distribution)
  • Fedora
  • ArchLinux
  • Mandriva
  • Gentoo
  • Frugalware
  • OpenSuSe

And some window managers:
  • Gnome (with Gnome-integration plug-in)
  • Xfce (with xfce-integration plug-in)
  • KDE
  • Openbox

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