Install Cairo-Dock in Kali Linux

Install Cairo-Dock in Kali Linux - blackMORE Ops 400px - 3Cairo-Dock is a desktop interface that takes the shape of docks, desklets, panel and applets. It is designed to be light, fast and customizable, and is desktop-agnostic. It has a powerful DBus interface, to be controlled from a terminal or another application. Features can be added by plug-ins or applets, and applets can be written in C or in any language. Most actions can be done from keyboard. It is compatible with Compiz-Fusion, Beryl, Compiz and Xcompmgr, but it can also run without a composite manager (using fake transparency). Cairo-Dock can run under GNOME, KDE and XFCE.

Install Cairo-Dock in Kali Linux

To install cairo-dock you need to do the followings:

  1. Install Cairo Dock from Kali Repo
  2. Install Cairo-dock from Cairo-docks repo
    • Add Cairo-Dock repo in Kali Linux sources.list file
    • Add GPG Keys
    • Update package list via apt-get
  3. Install Cairo-Dock and Plugins
  4. Run Cairo-Dock

Install Cairo-Dock from Kali Linux Repo

If you’ve used the official Kali Linux repository, then you can install Cairo-Dock and all it’s requirements directly from Kali Linux repository.

Use the following command to install Cairo-Dock in Kali Linux from Official Kali Linux repository:

aptitude -r install cairo-dock cairo-dock-plug-ins

This will install all cairo-dock, it’s plugins and any recommended packages. Move to Running Cairo-Dock section from there.

Install Cairo-dock from Cairo-docks repo

In case you don’t want to install Cairo-dock from Kali Linux’s official repository, you can always add the repository for Cairo-dock and install from there.

Add Cairo-Dock repo in Kali Linux

First you need to edit /etc/apt/sources.list file

vi /etc/apt/sources.list

add the following line

deb stable cairo-dock

Save and exit the file

Install GPG key

wget -q -O- | apt-key add -

Update package list

Update source list

apt-get update

Install Cairo-Dock and Plugins

Run the following command to install Cairo-Dock and plugins

apt-get install cairo-dock cairo-dock-plug-ins

Run Cairo-DockAwesome Kali Linux desktop with black-element theme, conkycolor and cairodock - 400px - 1

Now you can launch Cairo-dock from
Applications  —> System tools —> cairo-Dock


Cairo-Dock is a nice tool to have and it adds some color to your Kali Linux’s boring desktop. I like monitoring and weather applets. They also got many theme’s that you can play with.

In fact since writing this post, I’ve done some more editing and ended up having a great Desktop. I’ve used black-element theme, conky-color and cairo-dock. Wallpaper was downloaded from Wallpaperswide. What a great community! Here’s a new screenshot of this desktop.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy and share.

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  1. Hi..i followed the steps and got this error msg after running apt-get install cairo-dock cairo-dock-plug-ins

    root@kali:~# apt-get install cairo-dock cairo-dock-plug-ins
    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information… Done
    Some packages could not be installed. This may mean that you have
    requested an impossible situation or if you are using the unstable
    distribution that some required packages have not yet been created
    or been moved out of Incoming.
    The following information may help to resolve the situation:

    The following packages have unmet dependencies:
    cairo-dock-plug-ins : Depends: libdbusmenu-glib4 (>= 0.4.2) but it is not installable
    Depends: libdbusmenu-gtk3-4 (>= 0.4.2) but it is not installable
    Depends: libetpan15 (>= 1.0) but it is not installable
    Depends: libindicator3-7 but it is not installable
    Depends: libzeitgeist-1.0-1 (>= 0.3.2) but it is not installable
    E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

    How do i resolve this?

    Thanks in Advance :)

    • Hey Rashed,

      Check your policy:

      apt-cache policy cairo-dock cairo-dock-plug-ins
      apt-cache show cairo-dock-plug-ins

      See solution here:
      You might want to switch to a different repo.. Cairo dock is available from mutiple repo.

      A detailed installation instruction can be found here:

      You could also try adding the following lines:
      Create a file like this:
      vi /etc/apt/preferences.d/cairo-dock
      and paste the lines below in that

      Package: cairo-dock* libgldi*
      Pin: origin
      Pin-Priority: 990

      Save and do
      apt-get update
      Then install Cairo Dock
      apt-get install cairo-dock cairo-dock-plug-ins
      It’s pretty simple … BMO used the generic installation instructions that suits everyone’s need, if you added broken package that means you have a custom installation … more work is needed …. :) I love Cairo Dock .. it’s like having a MAC without wasting the $$… Kali is too boring for me

  2. Thank you for all your info on this website. This site has been a life savor many times. I was wondering if you could explain to us the commands on how to set up a compiz manger >I have been trying to get one installed now for a day and keep messing up my Resp. in Kali. I know it seems to sounds easy to install but I am having trouble and cant figure out why. so maybe along with this section you could add instructions on the comp manger thank you. if just msg me with detail ins. on how to. any help I would love. Thanks guys.

    • Hi morrisonm6,
      That’s very kind of you, thank you! I only posted guides/issues that I’ve tried/experienced myself. I’ll get back on Compiz when I’m done testing. Thanks.

  3. Hey BMO!
    After we install dock, the bottom task bar gets disappeared or not?

  4. When I try to run cairo-docks, nothing happens. When I run cairo-docks in the terminal I get the following:

    root@unknown:~# cairo-dock
    cairo-dock: Symbol `myContainersMgr’ has different size in shared object, consider re-linking
    cairo-dock: Symbol `myDocksMgr’ has different size in shared object, consider re-linking
    cairo-dock: symbol lookup error: cairo-dock: undefined symbol: myShortkeysMgr

  5. I followed your posted guide to install Cairo-Dock and it failed during the install. After running Synaptic, fixing broken package, and completing the Cairo install everything is working as it should. I ran into this on a prior machine with backtrack.
    I thought it maybe worth mentioning as some of the other fixes are a bit more complicated.

    Great site you have here :)

  6. HIce todo lo que está en tu manual pero no se pudo , al final me sale esto .
    root@kali:~# apt-get install cairo-dock-plug-ins cairo-dock
    Leyendo lista de paquetes… Hecho
    Creando árbol de dependencias
    Leyendo la información de estado… Hecho
    E: No se ha podido localizar el paquete cairo-dock-plug-ins
    E: No se ha podido localizar el paquete cairo-dock

  7. BlackMORE ops U r really a super creature. I was not interested in Kali @ first place cz of its look up and lacked some tools but now you have open it up and now its my main OS now. Keep on posting and dont die early. I cud have make a party with you had it been we r so close.

  8. BlackMoreOps you’ve really helped me out here so thank you. I didn’t comment there but also wanted to say I found your guide to installing the nvidia proprietary drivers very helpful. I’m having a bit of trouble however with Cairo not replacing the taskbar from gnome. Is that normal? Is there a way I can get rid of it?

    • Just realised that Alt-Right click and I can do exactly what I need but thanks again for the guide’s they are much appreciated

  9. How to remove the taskbar and black rectangle? I saw cairodock that to remove black rectangle tick mark this but the black rectangle doesnt go off. And how can i remove the taskbar?
    thanks for your time :)

  10. Can u post how to use Conky > Conky manager?

  11. Hello! First at all Im sorry for my bad english (not my native language). I want to congratulate you for you amazing web page. It’s a must-read for me. I write this reply because I would like to know how did you configure all the applets you got in your screenshot (Im specially interested in those about monitoring but I dont know how to install them from Cairo dock… Are they even from Cairo?) Thank you so much for your help.

    • Hi Carlos,
      Yes, all applets in the bottom dock are from Cairo dock. The Conky applet on the right is something I created. Keep an eye on the website as I am about to post a guide on conky-manager.

  12. Carlos Ortigoza

    Hello again, my friend.
    Thanks for your new post, it was interesting and useful as always. However, unfortunately I managed to install conky colors just like you did but Im having a little problem: I have my applets running like your but Im having a problema with the icons on the left side. I mean those like the HDD, little calendar, RAM memory, and others. I really can’t find any solution. I was reading on internet and found that it could be a font problem. I would really appreciate your help with this matter. I was thinking about installing some repository which I can use to get proper font but I don’t think it is the easiest way. So, before doing anything stupid, I rather wait for your kindly reply.

    Best regards,


    P.S.: I attach a link to a screenshot of my applet running. Hope it helps. If it is ok for you, we can talk via email.

  13. Hello,

    Great site, I use this all the time for all things tweaking Kali.

    I’ve used Cairo-Dock on Ubuntu with no issues, and other installs of Debian. However, when I install on the latest version of Kali i’m getting a black box around the dock when the dock shows. The transparency doesn’t seem to be working. After some Google-Foo I’ve tried several things with to avail. A common suggestion is going to the system settings and turning on transparency, but that must be for an older version as the transparency setting is no longer there.

    I’ve tested this on a fresh install of Kali in Vmware from ISO, and the downloadable VMware image. Still having the same problem.

    Anyone else having this issue?

  14. Hi, could you kindly share your conkyrc config for a result like the one in your screenshot above? It’s beautiful.
    Thanks for your very helpful articles.

  15. I’ve followed your instructions, and after installing this software and after restarting the computer I wasn’t able to log in to X-server, I’ve only got textual mode.

    Now, what should I do maestro?

    • Easy to fix. CTRL + ALT + F2 and you get tty login. Then kill cairo-dock, uninstall if you feel like or check logs to troubleshoot.

      killall cairo-dock

      apt-get remove cairo-dock

      service gdm restart (replace gdm with your dm).

      ALT + CTRL + F7 to get back into default dm.

  16. ## Kali Regular repositories
    deb kali main non-free contrib
    deb kali/updates main contrib non-free
    ## Kali Source repositories
    deb-src kali main non-free contrib
    deb-src kali/updates main contrib non-free

    :// stable cairo-dock HOW DO I SAVE?

  17. hey i did all steps to add cairo but when i add apt get update this messeage is shown plz help me out …
    ” :~# wget -q -O- | apt-key add –
    root@:~# apt-get update
    E: Type ‘Cairo-Dock’ is not known on line 10 in source list /etc/apt/sources.list
    E: The list of sources could not be read.”
    thanks in advance

  18. hello when i try this i have give error after this command

    apt-get install cairo-dock cairo-dock-plug-ins

    error is==>
    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information… Done
    E: Unable to locate package cairo-dock
    E: Unable to locate package cairo-dock-plug-ins

    Please help me.

  19. apt (1.2~exp1) experimental; urgency=medium

    [ Automatic removal of debs after install ]
    After packages are successfully installed by apt(8),
    the corresponding .deb package files will be
    removed from the /var/cache/apt/archives cache directory.

    This can be changed by setting the apt configuration option
    “APT::Keep-Downloaded-Packages” to “true”. E.g:

    # echo ‘APT::Keep-Downloaded-Packages “true”;’ \


    Please note that the behavior of apt-get is unchanged. The
    downloaded debs will be kept in the cache directory after they
    are installed.

    [ Compressed indices ]
    If you use Acquire::gzipIndexes, or any other compressed index targets,
    those will now be compressed with the fastest supported algorithm,
    currently lz4.

    — Michael Vogt Tue, 05 Jan 2016 19:22:16 +0100

    apt (1.1~exp9) experimental; urgency=medium

    why ADMIN?

  20. Hi Blackmore, i’m not sure it works today with the 2.0 repository, some guys on the french kali forum broke their installation adding.

    I really love that desktop environement but i’m a bit afraid to try it…Just a little doubt but what i can say when, all i know right now on Kali is because of you and Coyotus? :)

    Sorry for my bad english. Just hope you understand! At least, take the compliment!

    Right bro, i’m a Stack’ and BlackLab user since 7-8 years from now + 2 years on BlackBox and thats with you two, i learned the most! Nice site, nice explications, not too long and boring, serious, i love your site…Hope you continue again for 50 years!

    Salutations from the Quebec Family!


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  22. hi bmo i m not able to process this command “aptitude -r install cairo-dock cairo-dock-plug-ins” when i type this command it shows bash: aptitude: command not found what to do pls help me

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