Desktop Environments

8 Best Free and Open Source Linux Docks

A dock is a graphical user interface element that allows the user to have one-click access to frequently used applications. This type of utility also enables users to switch quickly between applications, as well as to monitor programs. This type of application is an excellent way of extending the functionality and usefulness of the desktop. In recent times, the popularity of the dock has been enhanced by the Mac OS X operating system.

The concept of the dock dates back many decades. Acorn Computer’s Arthur and NeXT’s NEXTSTEP are early examples of operating systems that implemented the dock concept.

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 8 docks that genuinely add to the desktop experience. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for the desktop user.

Linux has a good selection of docks to choose from. Here’s our rating for each of them. They are all open source goodness. We give our highest recommendation to Latte and KSmoothDock.

Ratings chart for the best free and open source docks

Click the links in the table below to learn more about each dock.

LatteBased on plasma frameworks offering elegance and beauty
KSmoothDockDesktop panel with parabolic zooming effect for KDE Plasma 5
tint2Simple and light open source taskbar
PlankSimple dock with basic functionality
Cairo-DockLight and eye-candy dock to launch your programs
SimdockFast and customizable dockbar
DockyElegant, powerful, clean dock
Avant Window NavigatorMac OS X like panel for GNOME

This article has been revamped in line with our recent announcement.

Best Free and Open Source SoftwareRead our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.

There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments