We have talked about how the dock was one of the main attracting features of a macOS desktop. Elementary OS, a quite popular Linux distribution comes to mind when thinking of macOS like docks on Linux. Google it and there is hardly a screenshot of it that you will find without the dock. There are not many people I believe, who may not have tried it out after seeing screenshots or at least tried replicating it. It’s beautiful but once again, the striking feature is the dock. Pantheon desktop, which is the default desktop environment on Elementary OS, feels more like macOS as well, not just the dock. But maybe you don’t want to switch. Isn’t there just a nice and clean dock you could install? Well, of course, there are many. In fact, here are 5 macOS like docks for Ubuntu.
Either this or Plank would be high up on anyone’s list. Docky provides is a straightforward no hassle experience. Like most if not all of the software on Linux, Docky is free. It has always been touted as one of the best, and that’s not because it has the most features. Docky is known for the polish, attention to detail and the stability, pretty much like macOS itself. This isn’t the most customizable dock but it does support switching between 2D and 3D style dock, themes, intelligent hiding, docklets, and a panel mode. Being available in the Ubuntu Software center means it is just as easy to install as well. One of the major downsides that I feel is it doesn’t let you change individual icons.
If you thought Docky was the only straight-forward and simple dock available, think again. Many people will argue that Plank is the simplest dock on Linux and even if you’ve used many docks, you’ll find it hard to argue back. No, it’s not simpler than Docky, at least in my opinion. Docky has slightly more features though, so I suppose you could argue Plank is simpler. In fact, Plank and Docky are almost siblings since they use pretty much the same tech. It is not very feature rich but if you’d just like a dock that works, you can’t go wrong with Plank or Docky.
To install Plank run the following commands one by one in a Terminal.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:docky-core/stable sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install plank
3. Latte Dock
Most of the docks you will come across o Linux are made with a GTK desktop in mind. Not Latte dock though and it is best suited to work with KDE Plasma desktop. The dock is centered around the tools used in the KDE Plasma desktop environment. This makes it the best dock for KDE Plasma users. It’s not like other docks suck on KDE, but Latte will simply offer features, related to KDE Plasma that they won’t. For instance, it supports KDE Plasma widgets, different hiding modes, support for multiple docks on screen, multi-monitor support, various preset dock layouts, theme support, etc. It can very much replace the KDE Panel because it can do everything. Everything but let you change individual dock icons apparently.
It’s finally out of beta, and you will need to install it via a Debian package. In case you don’t know how to do that, you can see how to install and uninstall software in Ubuntu.
4. Avant Window Navigator
AWN is probably one of the oldest docks on Linux. This isn’t a dock I have tried myself but anywhere you look, people have only good things to say about it. It is said to be pretty light-weight and RAM friendly. Its main features include themes, different dock view-modes (3D mode, curve mode, edgy mode and etc), panel mode, window grouping and support for plugins. The development on AWN has stopped since a while, which is one of the reasons for me not trying it. The other, more important reason is listed below as the dock number 5 on this list.
To install AWN you’ll be relying on a PPA. Enter the following commands in a Terminal window and follow the on-screen instructions to install it.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8 sudo apt update sudo apt install --install-recommends avant-window-navigator
There is a good chance this may not work, in which case you’ll need to follow the instructions given on the GitHub page.
5. Cairo Dock
I may have mentioned or passed a reference to my love for Cairo in one of my previous articles. Not very surprisingly, I think it is the best dock outside the macOS platform, not just on Linux. It is packed with features and it might be really confusing for new users. It took me a while the first time I tried it but it was pretty much the only dock that allowed me to change icons individually. That means I just had to invest the time to learn how it works. If you’re trying to mimic the look and feel of macOS you cannot possibly do better than Cairo dock. A list of features will get quite long but the screenshot above will probably convince you. To give you an idea, the ability to use multiple docks, expand docks into panels, different animation modes, support for plugins, an application menu, and even a panel mode is all here.
It doesn’t really look like the macOS dock by default, of course. It looks quite dated and might I say ugly. In the right hands though, Cairo dock can look like any dock that you can imagine, if you just know how to make it look like that. You may need icons from somewhere else, the dock theme from somewhere else, but ultimately, you’ll get what you want. Cairo is easy to install since it’s available in the Ubuntu Software Center.
You can also install it via the official PPA
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cairo-dock-team/ppa sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install cairo-dock cairo-dock-plug-ins