I'm looking for something like a dialog/ncurses menu but as a full interface. There are plenty of of programs I have found that do a task like say: find a file and delete it, connect to an AP, monitor cpu, and cfile browser... But I'm looking for more like a complete interface, like a simplified cli environment. Or a text menu version of the main menu from the gui, from which I can browse or launch non graphical apps and files.

I know I could probably achieve what I want with a massive number of shell scripts, dialog menus, boxes, lists, and a collection of existing programs but I figured before I put in the time and effort it would be prudent to see if one already existed.

I have tried finding such a thing via Google search and Github without much luck. Does something like this exists?

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    I am confused. Take raspi-config as an example, there are CLI like text mode and gui mode. I also google freeware menu tools and build my project specific menus. Often I include application specific user select menus so that user can select things when running my python program. This way user can always remember what can select. Also it is newbie proof, because user need NOT change any python source I also use declarative programming style, (like GPIO Zero), abstracting away OS, boards, pins. Experienced user can add more menus using dictionaries, without change procedural code.
    – tlfong01
    Sep 26, 2019 at 5:09
  • Yeah, I'm more looking for a full environment. Like a text based desktop environment. If that makes sense? I think I'm going to try just using MidnightCommander and some dialog menus and bash scripts to create something simple. I was just wondering if anyone had created such a thing. Sep 26, 2019 at 13:02

1 Answer 1


The closest thing I've ever heard of like this would be Midnight Commander.

GNU Midnight Commander is a visual file manager[...]. It's a feature rich full-screen text mode application that allows you to copy, move and delete files and whole directory trees, search for files and run commands in the subshell. Internal viewer and editor are included.

To install, run sudo apt install mc and execute via mc.

  • This is actually pretty close to what I'm looking for... I didn't realize it could run commands. :) thank you Sep 26, 2019 at 12:52
  • @Nareik Seivad, Never heard Midnight Commander. Googled an example. The text box style interface reminds something I might have seen long time ago. So I wikied and got remind more things, until I read at the very bottom of the wiki page. And Oh My Goodness! I saw the reference called "Norton Commander" inspired software. I was once a huge fan of Norton Commander and other Norton tools. It is sad that they are no longer around. I have been writing layered user select menus, perhaps I, unknowingly, must be inspired by Norton and perhaps similar tools like "Still River Shell" I also like.
    – tlfong01
    Sep 26, 2019 at 13:18

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