Hackers on TV, you know, the kind that hack government networks by mashing keys, always have this super cool over the top desktop themes, that unlike their button mashing hacker skills, I hope the desktop themes actually exist.

I'm tired of all these corporate friendly looking desktop themes. Any cool ones out there that look like the ones we see on TV? I already looked at several of the top theme websites, and all the cool themes were either outdated or not very techie.

And yes, I'm talking real desktop themes, I'm not asking for a GUI to one button trace an IP to someone's exact location or zoom and enhance programs ;)

  • 6
    You want to track someone's IP in real time? I'll write a GUI in visual basic.
    – Phoshi
    Nov 30, 2009 at 16:07
  • 1
    you mean the GLmatrix screensaver isn't enough for you? Nov 30, 2009 at 18:29

4 Answers 4


Well, if you run vanilla Enlightenment as your desktop environment, you're already pretty close. ;-)


From what I remember, those types of looks share a few basic features:

  1. Black
  2. Minimalist
  3. Gratuitous use of desktop effects

Start by picking a dark minimalist desktop & theme. In the stock gnome (with compiz added), Emerald & Beryl both have some cool dark themes, but you may get even more 'hacker-ish' by switching to a leaner window manager such as OpenBox.

For the "real hacker" look, don't forget to install conky to maximize your obscure hacker desktop info. Conky AFAIK does require a bit of tweaking to get it to 'play nice' in Gnome & KDE, because of they way they want to manage your desktop, but in leaner WM's it's a 'zero config' application.

typical conky

For desktop backgrounds, try deviant art & seach for hacker


a tiling window manager, and matrix-like green over black terms and ta-da


The sawfish window manager which used to be in Gnome (before metacity came along and made it all corporate and boring, or imposed some sanity, depending on your point of view) was great for themes. I used to run a bunch of green-on-black xterms/emacs decorated with a spiky metal theme and it looked great (for it's time). What eventually killed it for me was the increasing likelihood of having a black-text-on-white-background web-page open on the desktop; these just do not look good in a dark desktop theme (way too bright). What you really need to be able to do is theme web content too to match your dark hackerish look (OK probably possible through CSS overrides, and some sites let you pick a theme, but there's no standards. Wonder if anyone's done a firefox extension ?).

  • 1
    Try the Stylish add-on and search userstyles.org for global dark themes or site specific ones depending on what you want.
    – Nathaniel
    Dec 3, 2009 at 0:06
  • Thanks! Looks like I'm going to be spending a few hours going back to the Dark Side...
    – timday
    Dec 3, 2009 at 13:22
  • 1
    @timday. Just use a textbased cli webbrowser like lynx for casual browsing, won't clash as much.
    – user55244
    Nov 11, 2010 at 9:34

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.