Still an insider tip among the Linux docks, DockbarX provides either a dock or a panel bar that is inspired by the taskbar for, well, Windows 7 – and why not? Dockbarx provides an overview of both running and favorite programs, which can be attached to (and of course removed from) the Dock by right-clicking. In this way, DockbarX replaces both a classic taskbar and application launcher, but can do much more.
If an application has several windows open, DockbarX will display them grouped. DockbarX can also show previews of each window if desired. However, this only works with Compiz or Kwin as window manager. The former was used for Ubuntus’ Unity desktop, the latter comes with KDE and unfortunately pulls in a rat’s tail of dependencies on other desktop environments.
After the installation you may find an entry called DockbarX Preference in the application menu, which can be used to fine-tune its appearance and behavior. The look can be controlled by themes; an additional theme pack can also be used to conjure up a dock resembling the Mac OS X design.
DockbarX started as a panel applet for Gnome2 and AWN, the apparently discontinued Avant Window Navigator. Later an applet for the Xfce bar was added. You can use the command DockX from the application menu or in a terminal, a standalone version is executed, which should draw a dock on any desktop; if you like it, simply put in into autostart.
While the developement of DockbarX has stalled in the past, a new version for the graphics toolkit GTK3 appeared in February 2018, but it doesn’t get along well with Wayland. With this new display server some other applications also have problems, so that Ubuntu has so far moved away from the plan to switch from X11 to Wayland by default.
Since DockbarX is not included in the Ubuntu repos, a PPA is needed. While the Dockbar-Main-PPA is not up to date “at the moment”, the project’s Github page recommends an inofficial PPA:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:xuzhen666/dockbarx sudo apt update && sudo apt install dockbarx
To use DockbarX as an Xfce plugin:
sudo apt-get install xfce4-dockbarx-plugin
To get additional themes:
sudo apt-get install dockbarx-themes-extra
Plank is a simple dock, installable from Ubuntu’s Universe repository, that integrates easily into many desktops. Docky and Cairo Dock are advanced docks, but the first one needs Mono and the eye candy of the Cairo Dock can cost a lot of resources despite Open-GL support.