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Bootsplash micro howto

1. Introduction

2. Kernel

3. Theme

4. Bootsplash

5. Progress bar

6. Bootloader

7. Tips & Tricks

8. Related documents

9. About

1. Introduction

1.1. What is it?

Bootsplash is a feature that uses framebuffer to provide a nice splashscreen while booting and shutting down the system.

Additionally, it is possible to have a progress bar indicating the status of the boot and shut down process.

It is in every moment possible to switch back to the normal text console.

If you are newbie by GNU/Linux, the whole process could be too complicated. Consider this document, only if you already have some experience with kernel compilation.

1.2. Debian Limitation

Currenty, this feature has not been officially integrated in Debian. It is anyway possible to install it, using unofficial Debian packages.

1.3. Unofficial packages

Make available the required packages, by adding the following line in /etc/apt/sources.list:

  deb http://debian.bootsplash.de unstable main

Then, calling

  apt-get update

  apt-cache search bootsplash

you will see all the available packages related to bootsplash.

2. Kernel

The kernel must support this feature.

Since the Debian kernel does not support it yet, you have first to patch the official Debian kernel and then to rebuild a new one.

The following description is for kernel 2.6.8. Replace this number with your kernel number.

2.1. Installing kernel sources

Install the sources:

  apt-get update

  apt-get install kernel-source-2.6.8

and extract them:

  cd /usr/src

  tar xjf kernel-source-2.6.8.tar.bz2

2.2. Installing patch

Install the patch by calling

  apt-get install kernel-patch-bootsplash

2.3. Applying patch

Apply the patch by calling

  cd /usr/src/kernel-source-2.6.8


Instead, to unapply the patch call

  cd /usr/src/kernel-source-2.6.8


2.4. Configuring

Configure the kernel by calling

  cd /usr/src/kernel-source-2.6.8

  make menuconfig

and make sure the following items are selected:

  Code maturity level options -->

    [y] Prompt for development and/or incomplete code/drivers

  Processor type and features --->

    [y] MTRR (Memory Type Range Register) support

  Device Drivers --->

    Block devices --->

      <y> Loopback device support

      <y> RAM disk support

      (4096) Default RAM disk size

      [y] Initial RAM disk (initrd) support

    Graphics support --->

      [y] Support for frame buffer devices

      [y] VESA VGA graphics support

      Console display driver support --->

        [y] Video mode selection support

        <y> Framebuffer Console support

      Bootsplash configuration --->

        [y] Bootup splash screen

2.5. Building

Build the new kernel:

  cd /usr/src/kernel-source-2.6.8

  make-kpkg --append_to_version -yourHost --revision=yourRevisionNumber kernel_image modules_image

For example:

  make-kpkg --append_to_version -tux --revision=1 kernel_image modules_image

2.6. Installing

Install the new kernel:

  cd ..

  dpkg -i kernel-image-2.6.8.*.deb

3. Theme

3.1. Installing

All the available bootsplash themes can be listed with the following command:

  apt-get update

  apt-cache search bootsplash-theme

Install how many themes do you want, by calling

  apt-get install bootsplash-theme-xxx

replacing xxx with the name of the desired theme.

Tip: using synaptic is much more easier.

4. Bootsplash

4.1. Installation

This package provides the bootsplash tools and can create/update the required initrd image. Yes, unfortunately, an initrd image is needed in order to use bootsplash, but don't panic. This package will automatically update the existing one or will create a new one for you.

Install bootsplash:

  apt-get install bootsplash

During the installation process, you will asked for what boosplash theme do you want to use. Select one.

Eventually, you will also asked for the resolution to use. Select some according your needs.

5. Progress bar

5.1. Introduction

To provide such a feature, the /etc/init.d/rcS and /etc/init.d/rc must be patched.

This can be easily done by installing the next package.

The original files will be backuped and will be restored by deinstalling the next package.

5.2. Installing

Just call

  apt-get install sysv-rc-bootsplash

6. Bootloader

6.1. Grub

Make the following chages in the /boot/grub/menu.lst file.

Add the following parameters for the kernel:




Add the following initrd line:

  initrd   /boot/initrd.splash

For example:

  title    Debian GNU/Linux, kernel 2.6.8

  kernel   /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.8 root=/dev/hda1 vga=791 ro splash=silent

  initrd   /boot/initrd.splash



6.2. Lilo

What, are you still using lilo???? It would be time to switch to grub!!!

If not, here what do you need:




7. Tips & Tricks

7.1. Trying a new theme

To easily try different themes, it is not necessary to reboot.

Just call:

  splash -s -u 5 /etc/bootsplash/themes/current/config/bootsplash-1024x768.cfg

and switch to console 6 (yes, not 5!).

7.2. Selecting desired theme

Once tried different themes, select the desired one by calling:

  dpkg-reconfigure boostplash

8. Related documents

8.1. Homepage

This is the official homepage: http://www.bootsplash.org.

8.2. Useful site

This is an unofficial homepage but has a lot of usefully informations: http://www.bootsplash.de.

My document is based on the informations extraced from this site.

9. About

9.1. Author

Emidio Planamente <eplanamente@gmx.ch>

9.2. History

Version 1

  First public release

Emidio Planamente

Last modified on 2005-10-24