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CAIRO-DOCK(1) General Commands Manual CAIRO-DOCK(1)


cairo-dock - A dock to launch your programs easily.


cairo-dock [options]


Cairo-Dock is a pretty, light and convenient interface to your desktop, able to replace advantageously your system panel!

It features multi-docks, taskbar, launchers and a lot of useful applets.
Applets can be detached from the dock to act as desktop widgets.
Numerous ready-to-use themes are downloadable in 1 click, and can be easily customized at your convenience.
It can use hardware acceleration (OpenGL) to be very fast and low on CPU.

It's recommended to install the PLUG-INS package ( cairo-dock-plug-ins ) to have access to more views, dialogues and many plug-ins and applets.

Some screenshots are available :

Development site:


You can launch Cairo-Dock with several options :
(Note : you can use these options in one block. For example : cairo-dock -oia )

Force Cairo backend. Use this option if you have issue with the OpenGL mode.
Force OpenGL backend. Cairo-Dock with OpenGL/Hardware acceleration.
Use OpenGL backend with indirect rendering. There are very few case where this option should be used.
Ask again on startup which backend to use.
Log verbosity (options : debug, message, warning, critical, error - default is 'warning').
For example : cairo-dock -l debug
Force to display some output messages with colors even if these messages are not displayed into a tty.
Wait for N seconds before starting. This is useful if you notice some problems when the dock starts with the session.
Force to keep the dock above other windows.
Don't make the dock appear on all desktops.
Force the dock to consider this environment (gnome, xfce, etc.) - it may crash the dock if not set properly.
Force the dock to load the configuration in this directory (default is ~/.config/cairo-dock).
Allow to edit the config before the dock is started and show the config panel on startup.
Exclude a given plug-in from activating (it is still loaded though).
Don't load any plug-ins and show the theme manager on startup.
Work around some bugs in Metacity Window-Manager (invisible dialogs or sub-docks)
Ask the dock to load additional modules contained in this directory (though it is unsafe for your dock to load unofficial modules).
For debugging purpose only. The crash manager will not be started to hunt down the bugs.
For debugging purpose only. Some hidden and still unstable options will be activated.
Address of a server containing additional themes. This will overwrite the default server address.
Lock the dock so that any modification is impossible for users.


Some other options with an output in the terminal :

Print version and quit.
Show the help and quit.
Cairo-Dock makes anything, including coffee !


Your config files are saved in this repertory. You can use '-d' option to change it.
Data files for Cairo-Dock.
Binary files for Cairo-Dock and its plug-ins.


Most of the Cairo-Dock project was written by Fabrice Rey (fabounet) <>.

The Cairo-Dock Team is currently formed by Fabounet (Fabrice Rey) and Matttbe (Matthieu Baerts).
With the help of Eduardo Mucelli for our third-party applets.

Thanks to our former developers: Mav (Yann Sladek), Tofe (Christophe Chapuis), Nochka85 (Yann Dulieu), ChanGFu (Rémy Robertson), Paradoxxx Zero (Florian Mounier), Necropotame (Adrien Pilleboue), Rom1 (Romain Perol), Ctaf , Augur and SQP as well as numerous beta testers and contributors: lylambda, taiebot65, Franksuse64, ppmt, etc. see the 'About' menu in the dock and this web page.

Don't hesitate to contribute to this project ;)
Please have a look at this wiki page:

This manual page was started by Julien Lavergne <>, for the Debian project (but may be used by others).
Updated by Matthieu Baerts (matttbe) <>.


Your bug is maybe a recurrent problem (black background, window at startup (use -c or -o), problem with OpenGL, etc.). Please go to:

For any other bugs, you can post them on Cairo-Dock forum:
or on Launchpad


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Apr. 10, 2011