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Linux Desktop Docks And Panels

Finding the best panel or dock for your Linux desktop will considerably increase your productivity and make your work environment even more comfortable.

Because the panel is such a highly used desktop component, it is important to find one that fits your needs. Your panel might be missing some critical features that could be making your life much easier. Thankfully, there is a wide selection of docks and panels available for Linux users to choose from.

Tint2 Desktop Panel Screenshot
This screenshot shows the lightweight and minimalistic Tint2 Panel.

Understanding Linux Docks and Panels

Panels and Docks are generally used to contain application launchers and other plug-ins. Each panel or dock comes with a unique set of options and features which will distinguish it from the others.

Do You Already Have a Panel or Dock?

The panel is generally considered a modular desktop component. Most desktop environments include their own panel or dock. If you are not satisfied with the panel that is provided, you can usually remove it and install a new one in its place.

Dock Applets, Plug-ins, and Widgets

These panels often come with a variety of plug-ins that can be added for additional functionality. In most cases plug-ins will only work for the panel that they were designed for. Common plug-ins include system monitors, menus, and clocks.

Customize Your Dock or Panel

Fonts, colors, and icons used inside your desktop panel can often be changed as well. Most Linux desktop docks and panels provide a convenient graphical user interface that can be used for configuration.

Popular Linux Docks and Panels

There are a vast assortment of panels and docks available for the Linux desktop, I have listed some of the most popular ones below.

GLX Cairo Dock

This is probably the best dock available for the Linux desktop. Users will be amazed by the massive selection of features and options. This dock provides a large number of plug-ins which will help you customize things for your needs. There is even a huge selection of themes for users to try, or you can customize your own theme.

GLX Cairo Dock Screenshot

This panel provides the most eye candy and is an excellent choice for anyone with high-end hardware.

GLX Cairo Dock

Xfce 4 Desktop Panel

This is a very lightweight dock that comes with the Xfce 4 desktop. You can customize your dock with background images or transparency. The Xfce 4 panel provides a convenient graphical user interface for customization, and lots of amazing plug-ins.

Xfce 4 Desktop Panel Screenshot

Xfce 4 Desktop Environment Panel

LXDE Desktop Panel LXPanel

The LXPanel is another lightweight and very efficient panel for the Linux desktop. This panel comes installed by default with the LXDE desktop environment, but you can install it as a separate component. This panel includes lots of helpful plug-ins that you can use to populate your panel.

LXDE Desktop LXPanel Screenshot

LXDE Desktop Panel LXPanel

KDE Plasma Desktop Panels

This is the default panel that is included with the KDE Plasma desktop. The KDE Plasma panel is similar to the Gnome panel, its easy to use and very flexible. A vast number of Plasma desktop widgets are included that can be used to populate the panel.

KDE Plasma Desktop Panel Screenshot

KDE Plasma Desktop Panels

Tint2 Panel

Another lightweight task-bar that is also quite powerful. This panel has a system tray, task-bar, clock, and more. The Tint 2 panel is very customizable and offers some fantastic transparency options.

Tint2 Desktop Panel

Avant Window Navigator

Use Avant Window Navigator to manage your open windows, and launch your favorite applications. The Avant window Navigator or AWN is a fairly simple dock that offers many useful features and customization options.

Avant Window Navigator

Docky Desktop Panel

Docky is another powerful dock that uses some wonderful effects. This dock is user-friendly, and includes support for theme.s There are a few docklets or plug-ins that you can add to your dock but the list is rather short.

Docky Desktop Panel

Gnome Desktop Panels

The Gnome panel is a primary component of the Gnome 2 desktop. The Gnome panel offers several customization options such as colorization and transparency. You can have multiple docks running at the same time. Gnome provides a vast number of applets that you can add to your panel, these include system monitors, clocks, drawers, and more.

Gnome Desktop Panels

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