ObjectDock is a free Windows TaskBar replacement, sort of. You can look at the screenshots to get a feel for what it looks like. It’s not exactly fair to call it a TaskBar replacement, it is trying more to be a launch bar, and a host for small dock applets, like a weather widget, email notificaiton, etc. MacOS X has something similar, Google Desktop is similar. Here’s my quick review.
And OD is just darn pretty, which smooth-scaling icons and fun effects. It can list icons for running apps, keep screenshots of them when they are minimized, etc.
The problem? It doesn’t actually do anything. It feels like a fancy multimedia keyboard, with buttons to launch all the apps you’ll ever need (you know, those buttons you never use?). The weather widget, the coolest looking feature, doesn’t know how to use a network proxy, so it can’t be used behind a corporate firewall. And unless you pay $20 for the Plus version, it can’t even suffice as a taskbar replacement, since it cannot host your System Tray. It also doesn’t ship with a digital clock, so there is no quick way to glance at the time.
It is meant to be a widget hosting environment, to be fair, and I didn’t download any additional widgets. But it sounds like work to me to get software I don’t really need to do the bare minimum.
The thing can run just fine side-by-side with your taskbar, but of course that’s extra screen real estate you are losing.
So, in the end, it is a very pretty piece of software, does exactly what it says it will do, and does it well. But, for me, it just doesn’t do enough.