Thank you to Dave Jaye for this recommendation. You can hear more from Dave Jaye at his Myspace page.
Cairo-Dock is an animated launch bar similar to SimDock or AWN. You can use it to launch applications and utilize small applets that live on the bar. It lacks some of the visual effects provided by AWN, but it my experience it runs a little faster.
This application is an continuation of the abandoned GNOME-Dock project. According to the Ubuntu Wiki:
[...] it is compatible with Beryl, Compiz, Metacity+xcompmgr and probably KDE since Kwin now manage composite display.
There's definitely a lot of eye candy infused into this bar. It has animated icons, a 3D plane with reflection. And then there's my favorite: carousel view --- the icons are arranged in a circle, saving some screen estate and wowing your friends.
Sexy, I know. It turns out that cairo-dock runs quite a bit faster than earlier projects. This video shows that off quite well. The dock is highly configurable, allowing you to tweak almost every aspect of the appearence. And, you can even attach it to the top of your screen instead of the default bottom placement.
Dave Jaye likes the small application size and the flexibility provided by cairo-dock:
I really like the auto-hide feature of Cairo-Dock, it doesn't intrude on my desktop until I need it. It's also quite flexible. You can configure it in a number of different ways from a simple 2D plane view, a 3D tilted plane or a carousel configuration.
Installation is a bit more complicated than for previous posts. First, fire up your browser and install the dependencies if you haven't already:
sudo apt-get install libcairo2 librsvg2-2
Now, go to the cairo-dock project site and download the latest .deb file. If you want, you can do that with the following command:
Finally, you can install the deb file by clicking on it, or by using the following command (if you downloaded a different version of the .deb, please adjust the command accordingly).
sudo dpkg -i cairo-dock_v184.108.40.206_i686-32bits.deb
To try it out, type the following into the Terminal or into the Alt+F2 dialog: