Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
While most operating systems ship their desktops with static top and bottom panels containing all kinds of icons, docks are livelier, sometimes animated, featuring a slick interface and cool transitions, and usually add color and spice to the typical computer experience.
I discovered that there are many such applications available, with various names and functions. A typical user could get confused when first trying a Linux dock app. Because there's Cairo with OpenGL and without it, there's Docky, there's Awn, which is a subset of the more fully featured Avant Window Navigator. Some of these programs require compositing; others do not. There's the matter of 3D drivers, effects, Compiz, and so forth. It can be baffling.
In this article, we will review a handful of popular Linux docks programs. There are many dock apps available, but I will focus on the best only. I will show you the main features, the looks, the bells and whistles, problems if any, configurations, and more.