KSmoothDock is a desktop toolbar (similar to KDE's kicker) for KDE 3.2 and above with two smooth zooming modes, normal and parabolic. It's aim is to provide a cool alternative or complement to kicker. As it is intended for KDE/Linux, it's behavior is similar to kicker in many ways.



The recommended installation procedure in Kubuntu 6.10 (Edgy) or 6.06 (Dapper) is to build KSmoothDock from source code. While this may seem intimidating to a new Linux user, the process is quite simple.

System Preparation

  1. Install the libraries and utilities necessary to build the KSmoothDock program (KDE 3.2 or above libraries, C++ programming language, and automake-1.9).

    • sudo apt-get install kdebase-dev build-essential automake1.9    
  2. Review any version release notes

  3. Warning /!\ Download the ksmoothdock-4.3_automake1.9.tar.gz source file to the Desktop using the following commands.

    • cd ~/Desktop
      If you save the file to another directory, make sure to alter the path in the second line of the next step to reflect your local location.

Compile the Program

  1. Create unpack the source code to the /opt dir
    • cd /opt
      sudo tar -xzvf ~/Desktop/ksmoothdock-4.3_automake1.9.tar.gz
      cd ksmoothdock*         
  2. Compile the source code and install the program
    • ./configure
      sudo make install       
  3. Test run the KSmoothDock program

    • ksmoothdock     
  4. Choose initial setup configuration

  5. Press <ctrl-c> to stop KSmoothDock once you are sure it starts correctly. Below we will configure KDE to launch KSmoothDock as part of the start-up process.


Warning /!\ If nothing happens when you run "ksmoothdock", it is likely that your KDE desktop is not installed in the standard location. In this case, there are two things to try.

  • cd /opt/ksmoothdock-4.3_automake1.9/src
    - or -
    cd /opt/ksmoothdock-4.3_automake1.9
    ./configure --prefix=/YOUR_KDE_DIR
    sudo make install       

KSmoothDock Autostart

To have KSmoothDock start automatically at start-up, create a link to the program in the Autostart directory with the following script.

  • ln -s /usr/bin/ksmoothdock ~/.kde/Autostart     

KSmoothDock Configuration

To access the various options in KSmoothdock, right click on the tool bar over one of the various icons on the bar.

  1. Right clicking over the KDE menu or an application icon will display the following menu.

  2. Right clicking over a virtual desktop icon will display two menu items that launch KDE System Settings screens for desktop configuration.
    1. Configure Desktop Wallpaper
    2. Configure Desktop Screen Saver
  3. Left clicking on the clock will bring up a calendar.

  4. Right clicking over the clock will bring up the Configure Clock menu.

Edit Quick Launch Menu

The KSmoothDock Quick Launch Menu can be synchronized with a menu folder from the main KDE menu, or maintained independently.

Warning /!\ It is recommended that you do NOT synchronize to a menu folder with a large number of items. Having more than 10-15 quick launch items can cause the ends of the KSmoothDock tool bar to extend off the screen, especially if used simultaneously with the task bar feature.


Edit Preferences

Panel Components

The panel components tab enables or disables components of the panel. The components will be displayed on the panel in the order listed below.

  1. Quick launch menu is always enabled, but all items can be removed using the Quick Launch Menu Editor if a minimal look with no application icons is desired.

  2. Pager displays an icon in the tool bar for each virtual desktop. The icon displayed will be the current wallpaper for the specific desktop.

  3. Taskbar will display the icons of each application currently running, with the additional option of showing applications from all desktops, or only the current desktop.

  4. Clock enables or disables the current system time display.

Icon Zooming

KSmoothDock can be switched between normal zooming where the size of the icon currently under the mouse is increased, or parabolic zooming where the icons to the left and right of the current icon are also increased in size to create a proportional wave effect across the panel.

The zooming speed can also be adjusted to be less CPU intensive or simply for effect.


The KSmoothDock panel can be placed at the top, bottom, right or left of the screen, but it is recommended that it not be in the same space as the default KDE kicker unless the length of both panels is carefully considered to avoid conflicting with each other. See Tips below for more ideas about how to arrange these complementary tools.

The arrangement options also control the the minimum and maximum size of the icons while zooming in both normal and parabolic modes, as well as the base amount of icon information loaded for quick launch items. It is recommended that the base size be equal to the maximum size of the zoomed icon for sharpest display.


The KSmoothDock panel can be set to automatically hide, similar to KDE's kicker panel.

Warning /!\ If your panel will not become visible again after hiding, try either killing the panel process or restarting X-Windows. If you do have any issues related to this, or any other feature, please let the development team know so we can address it.


The colors and presence of a panel border and various other display items are configurable in this section.


The panel opacity can be configured in this section. Currently KSmoothDock only supports a simulated transparency effect by displaying the current desktop wallpaper as a panel background. Please see the application website for more technical details on why transparency in KDE is just not stable enough to implement in KSmoothDock at this time.


The size, font, and color of tooltips for the panel icons can be configured, or the tooltip feature can be disabled entirely.


The font, format (12h or 24h), and color of the clock can be configured.


KSmoothDock and the existing KDE kicker panel can "co-exist quietly and peacefully" in a couple ways.

  1. Try choosing a screen arrangement location different than where KSmoothDock will be running. For example, set kicker to run at the top of the screen and KSmoothDock at the bottom. Also try the kicker autohide feature to remove it from view unless specifically opened by moving the mouse to the top of the screen or a specific corner.

  2. Remove all the components from the kicker panel except the system tray, and set it to 10% width in a bottom corner of the screen. Combined with autohide, and setting the "Raise when the pointer touches the bottom left corder of the screen", kicker won't be popping up unless you specifically move the mouse to bring up the system tray.


Author: Jonathan Pruett montanamax-yahoo.png CategorySoftware

KSmoothDock (last edited 2011-04-09 01:42:40 by D9784B24)