Ubuntu Usplash

Posted by on Feb 22, 2008 in Technology, Ubuntu3 comments

When I first installed Ubuntu, I had a minor problem – well, more of an irritation – whereby the boot up splash screen was blank. The OS booted no problem, but the geek in me likes to see feedback on what’s happening when the OS is booting!

Usplash is the application that controls the boot splash, so I did a quick search in /etc for a conf file. Oddly enough, one exists, and it’s called usplash.conf . Running
more /etc/usplash.conf
revealed that the screen resolution was set to 1024 x 768 – my laptop is “widescreen”, and thus 1280 x 800. A simple one to figure out! I ran
gksu gedit /etc/usplash.conf
and changed the settings as follows:
# Usplash configuration file
xres=1280
yres=800

I also edited the menu.lst file, in /boot/grub/

gksu gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst

and changed the end of the “kernel” line for the default Linux image boot, removing “quiet”, and ensuring “splash” was also included:

title Ubuntu 7.10, kernel 2.6.22-14-generic
root (hd0,6)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.22-14-generic root=UUID=[Your UUID] ro splash
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.22-14-generic

Saved, rebooted, and voila! The geek was satisfied, and lots of shiny orange text informed me of funky background stuff!

Additionally, I downloaded, via the Synaptec Package Manager, some extra usplash screens. The following command allows you to change the splash screen (changing usplash-theme-ubuntu.so to whatever you want to install – Synaptic will install theme packs into /usr/lib/usplash)

sudo update-alternatives --set usplash-artwork.so /usr/lib/usplash/usplash-theme-ubuntu.so
update-initramfs -k $(uname -r) -u

There’s also a great HowTo available in the Ubuntu Community Documentation on how to create your own Usplash screens: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/USplashCustomizationHowto

Update, 24/02/08:

I downloaded and installed usplash-switcher today
sudo apt-get install usplash-switcher
however, when I try to run it, it returns “Segmentation fault (core dumped)”, and both /var/log/messages and /var/log/syslog contain “kernel: [ 7909.401911] usplash-switche[14217]: segfault at 0000000000000010 rip 00002ad106c67058 rsp 00007fffa9ea5f30 error 4”.

I’m looking further into this one, but until I find a solution, the command line will suffice for changing themes :)

Update, 20/04/08: I meant to add this a long time ago, but just haven’t had the chance. Anyway, Usplash Themes can now (well, for a long time already) be managed with StartUp-Manager, which can be installed either with Synaptic (search for startupmanager) or by the following:

sudo apt-get install startupmanager

Once installed, it can be accessed via System-> Administration -> StartUp-Manager. The Usplash Themes, along with myriad other options, can be configured in the “Appearence” section.

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