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Recurrents problems

Recurring Problems
Our F.A.Q
  • F.A.Q one question one answer

A black background?
  • ATI cards: please try to use the latest version of ATI drivers or try without the OpenGL backend (cairo-dock -c) => Drivers aren't correct!
  • Intel cards: some of them work with OpenGL (see the follow section) or try without OpenGL (cairo-dock -c) => Some drivers aren't correct!
  • KDE4 : launch systemsettings and do that: Look & Feel --> Desktop --> Desktop Effects --> Enable Desktop Effects. You can also have a look to this post: here.
  • Gnome without Compiz (just with Metacity): apply this command from a terminal :
    gconftool-2 --type bool --set /apps/metacity/general/compositing_manager true
    On newer versions (Gnome3), dconf is used instead of gconf, so run this command:
    dconf write /org/gnome/metacity/compositing-manager true
    gsettings set org.gnome.metacity compositing-manager true
  • Mate without Compiz (with Metacity's fork, aka Marco): Install mate-conf-editor and launch mateconf-editor. Now in the mateconf-editor, go to Apps / Marco / General / enable this key: "compositing_manager". (there must be a command like for Metacity...). With the latest version of Marco: launch dconf-editor, then: org/mate/marco/general/compositing-manager
  • XFCE with its Window Manager (XFWM): simply go to Applications / Parameters / Parameters Editor / XFWM4 module / General tab / Enable use_compositing (turn it to TRUE)
  • More details: Composite Manager
  • Another WM without composite manager (like OpenBox (on LXDE) or Musca, Awesome, etc.):
    • You need to install and launch (at startup) a composite manager like XCompMgr, Cairo-CompMgr, etc. but we advice you to install and use Compton which is a fork and an evolution of XCompMgr.
    • For more details, please have a look at this wiki page OpenBox FAQ or LUbuntu tips.
    • How to install and use Compton on LUbuntu: here
  • If you don't want to run a composite manager, you can use Cairo-Dock with the fake transparency; from version 3.3, this option is automatically enabled if no composite is running. Note that in this case, the dock will stay behind other windows.

A black background? Invisible icons?
If you only have these bugs with the OpenGL backend (and not without it), check that:
  • Intel cards: Cairo-Dock with OpenGL support seems to be "fully" supported, more information here
  • Nvidia cards : It has worked for a long time! More information here
  • ATI cards : Cairo-Dock with OpenGL support seems to be "fully" supported, more information here
  • Be sure to enable Composite in your Windows Manager.

Apps based on Qt4 like (S)MPlayer, Kaffeine VirtualBox, Skype, VLC
  • Note that this bug is fixed in version 3.2 and above.
  • Use this command to launch virtualbox (adapt for others):
    export XLIB_SKIP_ARGB_VISUALS=1 && virtualbox &
    env XLIB_SKIP_ARGB_VISUALS=1 virtualbox &
    sh -c "env XLIB_SKIP_ARGB_VISUALS=1 virtualbox"
  • But you can also make a little script:
    • Create a file with the extention ".sh" (launch_virtualbox.sh for example)
    • Add these two lines :
    • Change the right execution (Right clic on the file / Properties / Permissions / Execution => or directly :
      chmod +x launch_virtualbox.sh
    • Use this file to execute this app.
  • Or edit the launcher and use a command like this one:
    sh -c "env XLIB_SKIP_ARGB_VISUALS=1 virtualbox"

Problem with installation / update?
If you have something like this:
  • trying to overwrite `/usr/share/cairo-dock/default-indicator.png', which is also in package cairo-dock-data
    dpkg-deb: subprocess paste killed by signal (Broken pipe)
  • E: /var/cache/apt/archives/cairo-dock_2.0.0_all.deb: tentative de remplacement de « /usr/share/cairo-dock/icon-mouse.png », qui appartient aussi au paquet cairo-dock-data.

You need to do the following :
sudo apt-get remove cairo-dock* --purge
sudo apt-get install cairo-dock cairo-dock-plug-ins

Problem to change/save your configuration?
It could be a permission problem:
chmod u+rwx -R ~/.config/cairo-dock/

Problem with wifi applet?

It's a problem of access right to iwconfig command.
As root (root = sudo for Ubuntu for example), do this commands in a terminal:
chmod u+x /sbin/iwconfig # or "chmod 755 /sbin/iwconfig" if it still doesn't work
ln -s /sbin/iwconfig /usr/bin/iwconfig

Problem when Cairo-Dock is launched on startup?

If you have some bugs when Cairo-Dock is launched automatically at startup and not when it's launched manually : Try to launch it with a delay.

In your session manager (help here), use this command :
cairo-dock -w 15
(this will make the dock wait for 15s before starting)

Applications Menu misses some entries

If most entries are fine but some are missing, it's probably the environment variable XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP that is not defined.

In your session manager (help here), use this command :
sh -c "env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=XFCE cairo-dock"
(replace XFCE by your actual desktop: GNOME, KDE, LXDE, etc)

A message at startup / Two Docks at startup

Read it or go here for more help!
And if you have two docks at startup: Execute cairo-dock at startup
  • For Gnome 2, open gnome-session-properties (System / Preferences / Applications at startup) / "Options" tab / Disable the option to remember which applications are launched
  • For KDE:
    • Open the panel to configure your desktop / "Advanced" tab / Session Manager / At startup section enable an option to start with an empty session.
    • Or add "cairo-dock" on the option to not restore some applications.
  • For XFCE: Go to your session manager and disable the option to remember which applications are launched
  • For OpenBox: if you use this file ~/.config/openbox/autostart.sh to launch the dock, remove this files:
    rm -f ~/.config/autostart/cairo-dock*.desktop
If you still have a second dock at startup, remove the caches:
rm ~/.cache/sessions/x*

No theme available?
Do you use a proxy to connect to the Internet? If yes, you have to configure Curl.
Edit (or create) this file '~/.curlrc', e.g. with gedit :
gedit ~/.curlrc
Paste these lines, and modify the last line with the address of your proxy:
#We want a 30 minute timeout:
-m 1800
#. .. and we use a proxy for all access:
proxy = proxy.our.domain.com:8080
If you have to use an username and a password, add this line, replacing "user" and "passwd" with your username and password:
user = user:passwd

Old release
After a problem with our registrar (vivadomaine) we had to change our domain name. So if you use an older version that the 2.1.3, please update it!
Something else?
Maybe your connection is too slow (or you're too far from our server), open the config panel of Cairo-Dock (right click on the dock / Cairo-Dock / Settings), click on the Advanced Mode (on the bottom-left) / System module / Connection to the server / and increase all relevant numbers.

No icon on menu, GMenu, etc. on Gnome 2.28?
Two possible methods to fix this problem :
From a terminal
Simply apply this command :
gconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/gnome/interface/menus_have_icons true && gconftool-2 --type bool --set /desktop/gnome/interface/buttons_have_icons true

With a GUI
Open 'gconf-editor', go Desktop / Gnome / Interface and enable "menus have icons" and also "buttons have icons"

Themes Manager only displays the _default_ theme?
If you have the version 2.1.3 (newer or equal), there is maybe a little problem with IPv6 (due to an old DNS server we guess). You can try this workaround:
  • Edit this file ~/.curlrc with a text editor, e.g. with gedit
    gedit ~/.curlrc
  • Add this line
If you still have the bug, please report this bug to our forum!

Skype is launched twice
If your Skype launcher launches a new instance rather than maximizing the existing instance from the Notification Area, you can use this method.
(NB:This issue is true for Ubuntu (please update if this is true for other distro or OS.)
Credits go to Jackwizard (More info on http://forum.skype.com/index.php?showtopic=332401)

sudo mv ~/Desktop/skype-single-instance /usr/local/bin/

  • Then change the command-line of your Skype launcher to

  • If you intend to merge your launcher with the taskbar-instance of Skype, you need to edit the extra parameters of your launcher and specify the class of program as:

  • As you launch the script for the first time, a prompt will ask you to authorise it to use Skype, accept that.
Now each time you click on the Skype launcher, the existing instance should be maximised.

Trash applet tries to open Nautilus in Xfce
in a terminal type:
gconftool --set --type=string /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/trash/command 'thunar %s'

Wrong application used when opening a file
If the Folders or Quick-Browser or Trash applets open files with a wrong application, it's because you have to specify in your file-manager the association between a kind of file and the program that should open it.
On Gnome, open Nautilus, then right-click on the file -> properties, then in the "Open with" tab, you select the desired application.
On XFCE, you can use gconftool to do that manually.
On KDE, try with Dolphin.
Or see the next tip

The dock doesn't launch the right files manager, images viewer, etc.
The dock doesn't directly launch these applications, it uses GVFS to do that: e.g. if you have a problem with the files manager, you should be able to reproduce this "bug" by launching this command:
gvfs-open file:///

Gvfs links a 'mimetype' with a launcher (.desktop file): e.g. for files manager:
gvfs-mime --query inode/directory

Now you've 3 choices:
  • use another application:
    mimeopen -d .
    (or edit this file: ~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list)
  • create a new .desktop file (in ~/.local/share/applications/ ; you can find a lot of examples in /usr/share/applications/) with the command that you want to use and then use (for the files manager):
    gvfs-mime --set inode/directory your_new_launcher.desktop
  • modify the .desktop file that is currently used with the command that you want to use
If you still have this bug or if mimeopen or gvfs-mime don't work (e.g. on KDE) it's maybe because gvfs is not well supported. Please report a bug to both kde and gvfs maintainers of your distribution.

Dock is not placed correctly on the screen
If you use Metacity as the Window Manager, and the dock is not placed correctly (its orientation is good but it's as if the screen size was 0), then try to launch this command:
gconftool-2 --type bool --set /apps/metacity/general/disable_workarounds false

The dock is very slow to hide itself only with OpenGL backend?
It's possible that your video card doesn't support well some OpenGL functions. So the auto-hide effect works but "its very glitchy like a vsync on it is messed up". The better thing to do is to report this bug to drivers devs but you can also use a workaround since the version 2.3.0: you can disable the effect through the config panel (Visibility module)

The dock is in the middle of both monitors (dual screen)
Simply enable multi-monitor option (right click on the dock / Cairo-Dock / Settings / (Advanced Mode) / Position module / Multi-Monitor).

The dock or its dialogues are invisible
A few window managers (like Metacity) don't handle opacity and transparency (_NET_WM_OPACITY) correctly. This is why the dock or its dialogues can be invisible (e.g.: when we click on the 'Shutdown' menu entry of the Logout applet, nothing happens). As workaround, you can use this option to launch the dock -W (since the version 3.1.0)
cairo-dock -W

Icons are corrupted after waking up from sleep mode
There is a bug with some icons when resuming from suspend/hibernation but only when using nVidia proprietary drivers.
This bug has already been reported a few years ago but feel free to add new comments there: http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=2289131 (and/or report this bug to nVidia devs again ).
But there is a workaround: you can launch a daemon which will relaunch the dock when resuming from suspend/hibernation.
  • Download this file here (click on 'download file link on the top) (source: LP: #535065)
  • Launch it at startup (help here) by adding a new entry with this command:
    python /path/to/the/file/refresh_cd_on_resuming.py
Note: you can also use a program which does the same thing but coded in C: https://bugs.launchpad.net/cairo-dock-plug-ins/+bug/535065/comments/12

How to change the default backend (with/without OpenGL)
Simply launch the dock with this command from a terminal:
cairo-dock -A
-A = Ask again on startup which backend to use.
Then select Remember this choice and then the new backend that you want to use by default.

Radiotray doesn't start
That's because radiotray needs a systray (Notification Area) to work. Simply activate the one in the dock and then launch radiotray.
Note that radiotray doesn't indicate the proper icon to the dock, so you may want to create a radiotray-on.png icon by duplicating the radiotray_on.png one:
cp /usr/share/radiotray/images/radiotray_on.png ~/.config/cairo-dock/current_theme/icons/

LogOut doesn’t work with LXDM

LXDM (the display manager of LXDE) does not allow any direct switch between users, this is due to a bug in LXDM regarding systemd:


Here is a little workaround to solve the problem. There is a specific command to come back to the greeter :

You can add this command into the field “specific action to switch user” into the configuration panel of the applet logout (this option is still in development in 3.2 rev, use the BZR version or wait for 3.3 release). It will bring you back to the greeter once you click on another user.

Advance Switch :

Here are two little scripts you can use to get around this problem:
  • init_user_list.sh:

    user_tty=$(sudo fgconsole)
    user_name=$(eval whoami)

    #check if the file that contains the list of connected users exists
    # if yes, delete the current user of the list and add in again (case of logout + login)
    # add the tty number + the user name

    if test -e $list_user 
    -"/$user_name/d" $list_user        
    echo -e $user_tty" "$user_name\\>> $list_user
        echo -
    e $user_tty" "$user_name\\$list_user
        chmod g
    +rw $list_user
        chmod o
    +rw $list_user
  • glx_dock_swap_user.sh:

    user_to_swap=$(grep "$1" "$list_user")

    if ((
    "$?" ))
    length=$(expr index "$user_to_swap" " " )
    length length 1))
    terminal=$(expr substr "$user_to_swap"$length")
    sudo chvt "$terminal"

Save these two files for example in /usr/share/lxdm (or any other directory with read access for any user). Be careful, if you choose another directory than your personal one, you need the root right to do so far :
sudo cp ~/init_user_list.sh /usr/share/lxdm/
… for example will solved it.

The first file must be added into “the applications to launch" on opening graphical session for any user registered on the system. The second one is the command to add in the specific field “specific action to switch user” of the applet log-out.

Be careful, to make it works you need to allow the commands “sudo fgconsole” and “sudo chvt” to be execute without any root password. To do so far you must modify the config file sudoers (only with command visudo). Example :

## Uncomment to allow members of group wheel to execute any command

%wheel ALL=(ALLALLNOPASSWD:/usr/bin/chvt, /usr/bin/fgconsole

%user_switch ALL= (ALLNOPASSWD: /usr/bin/chvt, /usr/bin/fgconsole

Here the administrator (which is a member of the group wheel) gets the rights and the other user should be added to the group “ user_switch”.
Be aware that you are supposed to open a security fail with this modification… but natively you need the root right to execute “fgconsole” and “chvt” commands only from X11 session, but not in a standard command terminal… it’s up to you!

For help, you can post your question on the original post.

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