How and Why to Set up Latte Dock From Supply Code

Latte Dock is one of the most popular and versatile panel and menu replacements for the KDE Plasma desktop. Installing it from source gives you the latest features and functionality that are not available in most distribution package repositories.

Regardless of which Linux distribution you are using, you are likely installing most, if not all, of the software through your distribution's package management system. Since the package manager generally handles all the necessary dependencies and updates for any program you want, this is usually the safest and most efficient choice.

However, sometimes, even if a program is available in your distribution's software repositories, you will end up with a much better finished product if you download, compile, and install the program from source. This is the case with Latte Dock.

Why you should install Latte Dock from source

Latte Dock is available through the package manager of most Linux distributions. However, in most cases, the version of Latte in distro repositories will be considerably older than the currently available version when you download the source code from GitHub.

Most Linux distributions' file repositories only update certain packages every few weeks or even months. Latte Dock, on the other hand, is an actively developed project with updates being added to its GitHub page almost daily. Check in and get updates anytime, and you'll always have the very latest fixes and features.

How to download Latte Dock source code from GitHub

If you've never used Git and GitHub, it can seem confusing and intimidating at first. But no worry. If you just want to download the source code of a project, you can do it in a few moments with a single Git command.

Important NOTE: Remember, Latte Dock is specifically designed for KDE Plasma. It doesn't work on GNOME or any other desktop environment.

Related: What is GitHub? An introduction to its basic functions

Check for Git installation

The first thing you need to do is make sure that Git is installed on your system. There's a very good chance it's already there. To check, just open up a terminal and enter git on the command line and press Enter. Once installed, you will get a quick help message with a list of common Git commands. If you get an error message, you need to install it using one of the following commands.

To install Git on RPM-based systems like RedHat and Fedora:

sudo dnf install git

To install on DEB based systems like Debian and Ubuntu:

sudo apt install git

Clone the Latte Dock GitHub repository

Don't let the terminology put you off. "Cloning" is just a fancy word to download an exact copy of the current source code from GitHub. You need to first go to the Latte Dock GitHub repository in your web browser and then start the download with Git in your terminal.

When the page loads you will see something similar to the picture above. The first thing you want to do is make sure you are looking at the "master" branch of the source code. This is the default, and you should see the stem as shown in the red box in the top left. If for some reason you don't see Master, click and choose Master from the pull-down menu.

Next, click the green code Button on the right. A pop-up window will open with the URL you need to clone the repository. Copy this url and return to your terminal.

Go to in your terminal or create the directory where you want to download the source code. Git will automatically create a Latte Dock subdirectory so all you have to do is navigate to where you want to put that subdirectory. For example, if you go to your / home directory and run the following git command, the source code will be placed in / home / latte-dock.

At your terminal's prompt, enter the following command (if necessary, replace the URL with the one copied from the website):

git clone https://github.com/KDE/latte-dock.git

It only takes a few seconds for the repository files to be duplicated on your system. You should see output similar to the one above.

Related: How to Create Your First Repository on GitHub

Install the dependencies needed to compile the code

Before you can compile the Latte Dock source code for the first time, you need to install some required libraries and packages. You only have to do this once. After that, you can compile newer versions with a simple command. The exact commands to install these dependencies vary by distribution. Select, copy and paste the commands for your Linux distribution at a terminal prompt.

Kubuntu / Ubuntu

sudo add-apt-repository ppa: kubuntu-ppa / backports
sudo apt update
sudo apt dist-upgrade

Kubuntu / Ubuntu and KDE Neon

sudo apt install cmake extra-cmake-modules qtdeclarative5-dev libqt5x11extras5-dev libkf5iconthemes-dev libkf5plasma-dev libkf5windowsystem-dev libkf5declarative-dev libkf5xmlgui-dev libkashf5active-dev-dev-dev libkashf5-active-dev-dev-dev libxcb-util5-dev libcrashf5-libst-libst-libst-dev-dev libcrashf5-dev-dev-dev libcrashf5-active-dev-dev-dev libkf5-libst-libst-libst-devk-dev libcrashf5active-dev-dev-dev libcrashf5-devk-dev-lib-libst-libst-libst-dev-dev-dev libcrashf5-active-dev-dev-dev libcrashf5-libst-dev-dev-dev libcrashf5-active-dev-dev-dev libkf5-libst-libf -shape0-dev libxcb-randr0-dev libx11-dev libx11-xcb-dev kirigami2-dev

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -Syu
sudo pacman -S cmake extra-cmake-modules python plasma-framework plasma-desktop

Fedora and RedHat

sudo dnf install cmake extra-cmake-modules qt5-qtdeclarative-devel qt5-qtx11extras-devel kf5-kiconthemes-devel kf5-plasma-devel kf5-kwindowsystem-devel kf5-kdeclarative-devel kf5-kxmlgui-g develk-util ++ -devel kf5-kwayland-devel git gettext kf5-karchive-devel kf5-knotifications-devel libSM-devel kf5-kcrash-devel kf5-knewstuff-devel kf5-kdbusaddons-devel kf5-kxmlgui- kglobalaccel-devel-kf5-kglobalaccel-devel kf5 -kguiaddons-devel kf5-kirigami2-devel kf5-kirigami-devel kf5-ki18n kf5-ki18n-devel

Important NOTE: Dependencies can change over time as the code is updated. A list of the most recent dependencies can always be found in the INSTALLATION.md file that is included when the GitHub repository is cloned.

Compile the Latte Dock source code

With the dependencies installed, you can compile the source code and use Latte Dock. All you have to do is go to the latte-dock subdirectory, if you're not already there, and enter the following command at your terminal prompt:

sh install.sh

Depending on the speed of your computer, it can take several minutes for the code to compile and install. You will see a lot of messages on the screen as the compiler does its job.

Start and activate the Latte Dock

When the compilation and installation process is complete, you are ready to launch and use Latte Dock. You should see it in your regular launcher menu under that Utilities Category. You can also start it directly from the terminal by typing Latte dock at the command prompt.

It will take a moment for the program to load, and then you should see the standard Latte Dock control panel at the bottom center of your desktop. The first thing you should do is right click on the dock and select Configure the Latte Dock. On the Settings tab of the dialog box that appears, select the check box to enable Latte Dock to start automatically on startup.

With the program installed and activated, you can go through the many configuration options and start creating your own personal dock and panel system. For some great examples of what you can do with Latte Dock, check out the custom Latte layouts available from the KDE Store.

Special note: If this is your first time using Latte, be careful when removing your plasma panel (s) and launcher (s). You can quickly make it harder to navigate your system if you remove existing launcher widgets before adding replacements to your new dock.

How to update Latte Dock from source

Once you've cloned the Latte Dock GitHub repository, it's incredibly easy to update the program at any time. Simply open a terminal, switch to the Latte Dock directory and enter the following commands:

CD path / to / latte dock
git pull
sh install.sh

the git pull The command will automatically connect to GitHub and update the source files on your computer with any changes made in the repository. If you run the installation script again, the program will be recompiled with the new source code. You can do this daily, weekly, or as often as you like.

You will never fall behind again

Now that Latte Dock is installed from source, you'll never fall behind the latest version again. Whenever you want, you can easily download and integrate the latest changes, corrections and functions.

Join the social coding trend and contribute to GitHub repositories

Would you like to train your programming muscles and help open source projects? How to contribute to GitHub.

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About the author

JT McGinty
(3 articles published)

JT is a technology industry veteran with over 25 years of experience. From technical support and programming to system administration, he did everything. He especially enjoys teaching new users the freedom and power of Linux.

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By JT McGinty

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