The ancient browser wars have nothing on the current competition for top honors. Firefox has responded to stiff challenges with a variety of changes and upgrades, but here's the thing about changes: Not everyone likes them. While no one's calling for a performance downgrade, those users who prefer a more classic look can indulge their retro (or retrogrouch) impulse with Nautipolis for Firefox. This free theme for Mozilla Firefox uses high-quality icons from art.gnome.org to give the Firefox interface a sleek, retro-inspired look without sacrificing up-to-date rendering and features. Nautipolis also supports a wide range of add-ons and plug-ins, including download manager and many Google extensions. We tried it in Firefox 9.
We saved and extracted Nautipolis for Firefox to a folder and opened Firefox, and then its Add-ons manager page. We clicked the Settings icon next to the search field and selected Install Add-ons from File, and then browsed to the theme's executable file and selected it. After that, Nautipolis installed normally, including restarting Firefox. Nautipolis does indeed mix retro and modern, with familiar icons rendered cleanly and crisply. The Bookmarks icon has the Netscape-like look of a real book's sewn-in bookmarks, and the Help file uses the classic life preserver, which we're seeing more of lately in other apps, too. With subtle shading and Aero highlights, the theme has an up-to-date look and feel, and the icons and layout might better be described as "classic" instead of "retro," since they're more timeless than nostalgic. We saw no better demonstration of this than when we returned to the usual Firefox look. Much to our surprise, the new interface actually looked more "retro" than Nautipolis, though it's clearly the more contemporary design. The visual quality of the art.gnome.org icons made all the difference, to our eyes.
Nautipolis for Firefox is one of the better Firefox themes we've tried, and we've tried a bunch of them, dating back to the browser's beginnings. Its clean, classic look goes well with the latest enhancements to Firefox.