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Getting There Faster with GNOME Do and Docky

GNOME Do, a Quicksilver-like launcher of applications, and Docky, an application dock, share a common heritage and thus are mentioned together here. Like GNOME-shell and Zeitgeist, they are explorations of new ways to use your computer, in this case to launch applications.

To get started with GNOME Do, you need to install the gnome-do package. After it is installed, simply launch it by holding down the Super key (usually the Windows key) and hitting the spacebar.

To launch an application, simply start typing either its name or the command to launch the application, such as Firefox (Figure 6-25).

Figure 6-25

Figure 6-25 GNOME Do's main window

But GNOME Do can do more, to pardon the pun. You can maximize, minimize, switch to, close, or move an application to another virtual desktop. Just as before, type the application's name, but then hit the tab key to switch to the next box. Now either type the command or press the down arrow for a list of commands (Figure 6-26).

Figure 6-26

Figure 6-26 GNOME Do's command interface

GNOME Do can also open folders and Tomboy notes via the Open command. Bring up GNOME Do, type "Open," and hit Tab to select the next box. Just as you do to manipulate applications, you can start typing to get a folder name from the Places menu or a Tomboy note name or else press the down arrow to get a list you can scroll though.

If you want to expand GNOME Do capabilities, there are a wealth of plug-ins available. Launch GNOME Do and then click on the little down arrow in the upper right of the window.

This is also where you can have GNOME Do start automatically, but let's move to the plug-ins tab. There are far too many to talk about, but install a few and try them out. They can easily be turned off through the same menu.

There is a great deal more that GNOME Do offers, but at least you got a little taste. Install it and try it out. You never know—it might be the best thing since sliced bread for you.

Further Resources

As with GNOME-shell, GNOME Do isn't that old, so resources aren't that well developed. The GNOME Do Web site at http://do.davebsd.com is a good place to learn more and follow the most recent developments.

Docky is a replacement for the bottom panel meant for faster launching and switching of applications. After you have Docky installed, you need to start it. Like GNOME Do, it is not set to start by default.

If you run your mouse over the dock, icons will grow and shrink as you do so, exactly as the OS X dock does. This makes it easier to click on the correct icon. Depending on whether or not the program is already running, you will see two different things. If it is not yet running, the icon will bounce to show you it is starting before the application itself starts. However, if it is already running, you will zoom to that window.

On the far left of the dock is a brown icon with an anchor on it. This launches the preferences window for Docky. This is where you can choose whether or not to launch Docky at startup, various options for how it appears, and Docklets and Helpers.

Docklets are icons that appear on the dock even though they are not applications. These include a trash icon, a clock, and more (Figure 6-27).

Figure 6-27

Figure 6-27 Docklets

Helpers are small scripts that can add items to the right-click menu of an icon, such as controlling the playback of music in Rhythmbox. With the helper enabled, you can start, stop, go back, and go forward without opening Rhythmbox at all (Figure 6-28).

Figure 6-28

Figure 6-28 The Rhythmbox helper menu

New helpers are easy to install, either on a per-user or computerwide basis. To learn more, see http://wiki.go-docky.com/index.php?title=List_of_helpers.

Further Resources

The Docky Web site at www.go-docky.com is always a good place to start, and it includes a help wiki if you need a bit more help.

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