Install Plymouth and change your booting experience in Ubuntu

Ever thought of impressing your windows friends with your linux boot screen and failed to do so because of a dull boot up screen. Now it is possible with plymouth. Time to dig in to plymouth starting with the basics.

Mode Setting

Mode setting is done in the kernel space or user space. Mode setting is setting up the screen resolution and color depth for your GPU. Plymouth uses KMS(Kernel Mode Setting). The number of bits required to represent the color for a pixel is allocated, this is known as color depth. KMS is better as it is more secure than user space mode setting and can be tweaked. Now that we learnt mode setting, lets install plymouth and explore the possibilities.


Plymouth was first introduced in fedora 10. Plymouth is now available in Ubuntu 11.10 starting from Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. In Ubuntu plymouth is started by Upstart. Wondering what upstart is, upstart is an event driven model that starts the services in ubuntu systems. The daemon for plymouth is plymouthd. Make sure that your graphics drivers are installed correctly. To set up plymouth in your ubuntu machines install this package,

sudo apt-get install plymouth-x11

After installing,

sudo plymouthd --debug --tty=`tty` --no-daemon

This is to start the daemon.

To list the various themes that come default,

sudo plymouth-set-default-theme -l

To see the preview of a theme,

sudo plymouth show-splash

To display some message on your splash screen,

sudo plymouth message --text="hi this is Ubuntu"

Plymouth is well implemented in Ubuntu and fedora, not in other distros, lot of development is still required.

To install new plymouth themes go to http://gnome-look.org/index.php?xcontentmode=160

To make other alterations head to /etc/init/plymouth.conf. Plymouth executes during the system start up and shutdown phases.

Although there are not many screenshots in this article the one i want to show is the first plymouth screen implemented by fedora that replaced RHGB(Red Hat Graphical Boot)

Fedora 10 plymouth solar theme

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