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Man Pages

Manual Reference Pages  -  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 )
-c, --cairo
  Force Cairo backend. Use this option if you have issue with the OpenGL mode.
-o, --opengl
  Force OpenGL backend. Cairo-Dock with OpenGL/Hardware acceleration.
-O, --indirect-opengl
  Use OpenGL backend with indirect rendering. There are very few case where this option should be used.
-A, --ask-backend
  Ask again on startup which backend to use.
-l, --log [option]
  Log verbosity (options : debug, message, warning, critical, error - default is ’warning’).
For example : cairo-dock -l debug
-F, --colors
  Force to display some output messages with colors even if these messages are not displayed into a tty.
-w, --wait Wait for N seconds before starting. This is useful if you notice some problems when the dock starts with the session.
-a, --keep-above
  Force to keep the dock above other windows.
-s, --no-sticky
  Don’t make the dock appear on all desktops.
-e, --env Force the dock to consider this environment (gnome, xfce, etc.) - it may crash the dock if not set properly.
-d, --dir Force the dock to load the configuration in this directory (default is ~/.config/cairo-dock).
-m, --maintenance
  Allow to edit the config before the dock is started and show the config panel on startup.
-x, --exclude
  Exclude a given plug-in from activating (it is still loaded though).
-f, --safe-mode
  Don’t load any plug-ins and show the theme manager on startup.
-W, --metacity-workaround
  Work around some bugs in Metacity Window-Manager (invisible dialogs or sub-docks)
-M, --modules-dir
  Ask the dock to load additional modules contained in this directory (though it is unsafe for your dock to load unofficial modules).
-T, --testing
  For debugging purpose only. The crash manager will not be started to hunt down the bugs.
-E, --easter-eggs
  For debugging purpose only. Some hidden and still unstable options will be activated.
-S, --server
  Address of a server containing additional themes. This will overwrite the default server address.
-k, --locked
  Lock the dock so that any modification is impossible for users.


Some other options with an output in the terminal :
-v, --version Print version and quit.
-h, --help Show the help and quit.
-C, --capuccino
  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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--> CAIRO-DOCK (1) Apr. 10, 2011

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