Not ducks, though if you're using the same font I do on my laptop, you'd be forgiven for thinking it said that.
Docks. Mac's great gift to all systems, and something that lately, I'm happy they did.
There are lots of docks out there. Mac users need not look, I believe they get theirs pre-installed. Windows users, I know of only the Rocket Dock.
Linux has many, the ones I know of are the (Recently discovered to me) Avant Window Navigator and Cairo-Dock. I know there's more out there though.
Cairo-Dock was good, but somewhat limited, and put me off docks. AWN has won me irrevocably back to them, however, with a simple combination of being able to replace 90% of all things on my GNOME panels, a theme that means it takes up little space, and a whole hoard of applets. When i used the ever-useful Ubuntu Tweak to enable the testing version, it had me.
My AWN Dock is as follows:
MiiMenu - Replaces the standard Ubuntu "Applications/Places/System" menus found normally on the top panel.
Volume Control - Speaks for itself
File Browser Launcher - useful for going directly to where I need
Notification Area - this used to take up a nice chunk of the GNOME panel, now it's nice and neat and far less space.
Cairo-Clock - Well, it helps to know the time. Especially when you have no sense of it.
Show Desktop - Another self-explanatory one. I don't actually use it often.
Trash Applet - Ditto.
And of course, the AWN settings launcher, followed by running programs.
I did consider adding the launchers for some programs I use often, but even using my new theme for it, awn-shiki-brave, found on Gnome-Look (Under other Gnome stuff, they really need an AWN section) this all takes up just under half the lower part of the screen.
So, the ex-main panel at the top now holds my launchers, the desktop switcher, and the menu for logout, shutdown, etc. And a handy little tweak found in the panel properties means it takes up only a small amount of space, rather than the whole of the top, and is on auto hide.
This setup only loses me a small amount of screen real-estate, but provides far more in other ways. AWN's got me hooked.
So thanks to AWN's developers, the maker of each of the applets I use, the creator of the awn-shiki-brave theme for it, but mostly, and most unusually for me, to the Mac - for putting the Dock into the computer.