Meet Lingmo OS: macOS Looking Distro with Debian Base

4 min

A new Linux distribution, Lingmo OS arrives from China, that looks like a Cutefish OS fork.

Remember the Cutefish OS project, which got discontinued? Well, another look-alike distribution I spotted named Lingmo OS. The Linux distribution originates from China and comes with Debian stable base. The official project page states, it’s currently in beta.

Let’s go for a quick spin.

Lingmo OS: Another Cutefish Fork?

The project boasts that it can run on a minimum of 2 GB RAM, considering the theme and heavy customizations. Lingmo OS comes with the desktop UI – Lingmo UI which is a fork of Cutefish desktop environment.

It is built using Qt, QML and C++ and probably feels snappier due to that. The ISO file is of 3.7 GB. It uses a customized Calamares installer with a few basic options.

Lingmo OS installation
Lingmo OS installation
Lingmo OS GRUB menu
Lingmo OS GRUB menu

The desktop

At a first glance, the Lingmo UI feels like a modern Linux desktop, which looks similar to macOS. However, it has its own unique tweaks. At the bottom you get a fixed dock and a panel at the top. The bottom dock comes with pre-defined shortcuts and the necessary ones. It also holds the shortcut to launch the application menu. You can also move the dock around to left, top, right based on the settings.

Lingmo OS Desktop
Lingmo OS Desktop

Just like Cutefish Desktop, Lingmo UI offers a global menu, making it easier for you to access different application functions right from the top panel. The left part of the panel is dedicated to the global menu, while the right side is reserved for the system tray and notifications.

Global menu
Global menu

The system tray consists of three main components:

Components of Tray
Components of Tray
  1. Accessibility Menu: This section helps you quickly enable or disable various accessibility features.
  2. Battery and Volume Information: Here, you can find details about your system’s battery life and volume level. A convenient pop-up menu allows you to make adjustments to these settings as needed. This area might remind you of the new GNOME tray menu, offering a similar and user-friendly experience.
  3. Power and Notifications: The rightmost section of the panel provides you with a power menu, giving you quick access to power options and the ability to view notifications.

The application menu is the standard grid-based icons spread across 11×7 grid. This might get adjusted based on the resolution of your screen.

Application menu
Application menu


The settings app mostly gives you the basic options such as networks, display, appearances, and a few system settings. It has some hits and misses.

The appearance gives you the option to switch between dark and light mode with a unique shade of accent colours. You can also get to choose fonts and sizes. The dock settings offer styles, positions and size of the dock. You can also select a few pre-defined cursors themes.

Dark theme with subtle rounded corners
Dark theme with subtle rounded corners

However, the display settings does not give you the option to pick resolution. So, if you do install Lingmo OS, you might need to install arandr to get those resolutions.

The rest of the settings are mostly standard with basics. The accessibility has two new options which don’t normally available for other desktop environments. They are “Snap helper” and “Dim inactive” under the Barrier free function.

Lingmo OS – Barrier free features


Lingmo OS native apps
Lingmo OS native apps

Lingmo OS brings a few native apps for basic function such as file manager, text editor and package installer. The file manager is a native app with a very basic features without tabs or any advanced support.

The text editor is a very basic lightweight editor with only line numbers and character count as advanced features. However, gedit also comes as default to take care of your advanced text editing needs.

The Software app looks like GNOME Software, branded as Lingmo software. In case you are planning to use it, you should know that apt repo is in-house Lingmo server in China – not an official Debian server.

Moreover, LibreOffice, VLC media plater, qBittorrent and Firefox standard edition are preloaded. For developers, VSCodium is also available.


Although, the OS boasts about performance, but it does feel a little laggy even if in a virtual machine without any apps running after almost ~3 hours of uptime. There might be some memory leaks going on behind, contributing to the memory consumptions.

At idle, after ~3 hours of uptime, it uses around 1.9 GB of RAM. Most of the resources consumed by the kwin_x11 which is used by the Lingmo UI. It uses 9 GB of disk space for the default install. This metric is based on Linux Kernel 6.7.

Performance of Lingmo OS
Performance of Lingmo OS

Closing Notes

That’s more about what it has to offer. Overall, there is nothing special about this distribution, apart from the nice look and feel. For those who want a macOS like look out-of-the-box with Debian-base, may try this out. But it is still beta and has a few bugs. Moreover, few settings are missing or underdeveloped as well.

In addition, looking at the fate of Cutefish OS, it may also go away after a few years due to lack of attention and development.

That said, give it a try if you have spare time to test something different. You can download Lingmo OS from the official website. (The livecd password is “live”).


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