I am looking for a Linux desktop which look retro, but is still fully functional in the inside.

Ideally I'd like a desktop which uses (or simulate) the 16-colours mode of the old PCs. The applications themselves need not to be in 16-colours, just the window and the menus. I'd like something close to Windows 95, Windows 3.x or OS2/Warp in how it looks/feel and is used.

This has nothing to do about memory efficiency, I actually think that strong, vivid colours look much better than the gray/black fad we have currently.

(I am not interested in neither LXDE nor XFCE, while those are not retro enough, among other reasons)

  • I'd like to know if my answer was relevant, or if it's not what you're looking for.
    – DankyNanky
    Aug 22, 2016 at 7:57

2 Answers 2


I think you can give a try at the FVWM window manager, it's fully customizable by a single configuration file, and it's default theme is something that looks like the old Windows 95 UI.

That can be a good start for what you want to use without too much work in the design.


In my opinion, most Linux distributions should be able to be customised to the point you're after. My suggestion (whilst not taking into considerations regarding DE, required applications etc.) would be Bodhi Linux.

Bodhi Linux uses the Moksha Desktop, which has a number of available themes to meet your requirements (plus it is quite easy to engineer your own themes) - just check out the user showcase here.

  • 1
    I admit I haven't tried the desktop yet, but looking at the screenshots, they do not look any retro at all. They look modern and feature creeped just like modern Gnome or KDE - although I could be wrong since those are just screenshots.
    – Bregalad
    Aug 22, 2016 at 16:55
  • @Bregalad It's all about theming it yourself. There is 95/NT themes etc. and the ability to downscale it, just like Kubuntu themes :) best of luck mate.
    – DankyNanky
    Aug 22, 2016 at 22:57
  • So Im just tryging it right now and I really don-t like it. First, it doesn-t handle the kezboard correctlz, then I couldn-t start it from command line without using GDM, then it crashed the first time I ran it. It also have other issues I don-t like about other linux window managers, and is neither retro looking nor simple to use.
    – Bregalad
    Aug 26, 2016 at 20:10
  • OK it was GDM who crashed not Moksha since it crashed again with another WM. I wonder why.
    – Bregalad
    Aug 26, 2016 at 20:14
  • @Bregalad How did we go here?
    – DankyNanky
    Nov 19, 2016 at 2:38

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