Plymouth themes: Fix, install, create in Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx)

Quick tips for those having trouble with their splash screens in lucid.

Plymouth replaces Usplash as the default boot splash program in lucid lynx. Some users have found that either they do not see the splash at all on startup or only for a split second before the login screen appears.

At present there are only a few Plymouth themes available in the repositories. Open synaptic and type Plymouth into the quick search field to see a list of the available themes.

To change the default splash screen:

sudo update-alternatives --config default.plymouth
sudo update-initramfs -u

To fix the delayed loading of the splash:

sudo -s
echo FRAMEBUFFER=y >>/etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/splash
update-initramfs -u

To install new themes manually; First copy the downloaded theme to /lib/plymouth/themes/mytheme; Then execute (replace mytheme with the name of the theme you are installing):

sudo update-alternatives --install /lib/plymouth/themes/default.plymouth default.plymouth /lib/plymouth/themes/mytheme/mytheme.plymouth 100
sudo update-alternatives --config default.plymouth
sudo update-initramfs -u

To create a very basic theme (wallpaper only) try the following:

1. sudo mkdir /lib/plymouth/themes/simple

2. Find a wallpaper you like and copy it to /lib/plymouth/themes/simple/wallpaper.png (must be a png!)

2. sudo gedit /lib/plymouth/themes/simple/simple.plymouth and paste the following:

[Plymouth Theme]
Description=Wallpaper only


3. sudo gedit /lib/plymouth/themes/simple/simple.script and paste the following:

wallpaper_image = Image("wallpaper.png");
screen_width = Window.GetWidth();
screen_height = Window.GetHeight();
resized_wallpaper_image = wallpaper_image.Scale(screen_width,screen_height);
wallpaper_sprite = Sprite(resized_wallpaper_image);

4. sudo update-alternatives --install /lib/plymouth/themes/default.plymouth default.plymouth /lib/plymouth/themes/simple/simple.plymouth 100

5. sudo update-alternatives --config default.plymouth (select simple from the list)

6. sudo update-initramfs -u

Reboot and you should see a boot splash of the image you copied.

For more details on creating plymouth themes check out:

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26 Responses

  1. penkoad says:

    These are great tips you publish but sometimes a little explanation would be appreciated and would turn your tips into enriching article.

    Nonetheless, great work !

  2. seaweed says:

    +1 thanks!! That sorted it on my IBM T40 Thinkpad. It’s now looking lovely again.

  3. Sasan says:

    after entering “sudo update-alternatives –config default.plymouth” it says “There is only one alternative in link group default.plymouth: /lib/plymouth/themes/ubuntu-logo/ubuntu-logo.plymouth
    Nothing to configure.”

  4. intosamadhi says:

    Sasan – Open synaptic and search for plymouth, you should see a list of available themes. Solar is my personal preference, Spinfinity is also nice but it doesn’t make it all the way through to gnome startup on my machine for some reason.

  5. kimberlite says:

    Thanks, it is great. Could you please be a little bit more verbose, otherwise these posts are very useful. Keep up …

  6. ThongTran says:

    @Sasan: you can have some plymouth themes to choose if you install them via Synaptic. As for me (like Intosamadhi) Solar plymouth theme is good and run well. Don’t choose Spinfinity because you can see login screen after it appears. If you hit this difficulty you can press Ctrl+Alt+F7 to be go through login screen. Good luck to you!

  7. Mindmusic says:

    Thanks for the tips – unfortunately, try as I might, I just can’t get this to work. The splash screen just displays a simple text image (which I think is actually plymouth-themes-text) rather than the desired wallpaper.
    I’ve tried various things including subsitituting the new simple script into the default ubuntu-logo folder and editing the script appropriately, but with no success.

    Does anyone have an idea of what might be going wrong?

  8. Mindmusic says:

    A quick update for anyone that’s interested. I’ve found that a blank theme – with the simple.script file referred to in the article left empty – gives a more old-fashioned, purely text boot and shutdown. That at least aids me in my goal to remove all purple from Ubuntu 10.04!
    Would still be nice to get a simple wallpaper theme to work though…

  9. intosamadhi says:

    mindmusic – make sure you execute: sudo update-initramfs -u
    after installing the new theme and selecting it as the default. If you didn’t get any errors when installing the theme or selecting it from the list it should be working.

  10. Mindmusic says:

    Thanks for the reply, but alas I was including that step. There were some other oddnesses too that lead me to suspect a bug in plymouth or elsewhere (particularly since I’ve had problems with my laptop’s graphics chip previously) – but in any case I’m happy enough now I’ve got rid of the purple, and can’t really afford to spend more time on it.

  11. Ken says:

    My initial attempt to create the simple wallpaper theme was unsuccessful, as I was getting a syntax error on the first line of the script file. I looked at the ubuntu-logo theme file and followed its example for my first two lines:

    wallpaper_image_filename = “wallpaper.png”;
    wallpaper_image = Image (wallpaper_image_filename);
    screen_width = 1440;
    screen_height = 900;
    resized_wallpaper_image = wallpaper_image.Scale(screen_width,screen_height);
    wallpaper_sprite = Sprite(resized_wallpaper_image);

    I also hardcoded the screen width and height, as my external monitor has issues and is initially interpreted as 1024×768.

    Now I’m happy with my splash screen. Thanks for posting this article!

  12. zzhao says:

    Thanks for the great tip. This helped me to see my splash again. Although after the spinfinity splash I was only left with a black screen, I am still satisfied that the other themes work well. BTW, I also can finally see my tty terminals.

  13. subuntunew34 says:

    Thanks a lot. This fixed the short delay that was present during boot up. Plymouth theme is working better now!


  14. subuntunew34 says:

    Thanks a lot. The plymouth theme doesn’t seem to be quite as delayed.


  15. debris says:

    I can’t get this to work. I tried both your way and Ken’s instructions. Plymouth uses the right image on shutdown, but nothing during boot. Does the image dimensions or mode matter somehow? I have an 800×500 (72dpi) RGB .png for 1680×1050 screen.

  16. simon says:

    # update-initramfs -u -k all

    if you have multiple kernel versions (linux-rt kernel, for example)

  17. stomp_stompclap says:

    I tried this, but the bootscreen went straight to GDM

  18. Dan BC says:

    Thank you for this! I tried it, it worked, I love my new plain wallpaper boot.

    My simple plymouth scheme is only going to be used on my machine. Is there any advantage to hardcoding the x and y dimensions?

    And if the image doesn’t need to be resized will tweaking these lines do anything?

    resized_wallpaper_image = wallpaper_image.Scale(screen_width,screen_height);

    wallpaper_sprite = Sprite(resized_wallpaper_image);


    I realise that any “speed improvement” will be tiny, but it’s nice to learn.

  19. Dan BC says:

    Oh, and anyone cutting an d pasting from this page into gedit needs to check that the quotes are correct. You’ll want normal quotes, “, not smart quotes, “ or ”

  20. Steve U says:

    Great article. One problem I ran into was where after installing a new kernel it would not show my theme anymore but rather would always show the default ubuntu text theme. The fix was to edit /etc/default/grub and add this line:


    Voila, themes work again. Thanks again for your post, this was a great help.

  21. Inoe says:

    Oh, great! Now my Lucid Lynx look pleasing when booting ^^

    I don’t like seeing a group of white text on a black background when booting 😛

  22. eyedunno says:

    you can also use Super-Boot-Manager to create and install your own plymouth themes. a few come with the app, but the creator is a bit cookie cutter. As someone who is a noob to code, creating a truly original splash has been a bit challenging to say the least. i almost want to use foul language.

  23. dvd says:

    i’ve isntalled the solar theme and i was wondering how can i modify the blue sky with stars into an other color?

  24. Roshan says:

    I would like to know how to change the default text “ubuntu” to some animated text like the fedora plymouth” ?

  25. KML says:

    Thanks!! I had issue with splash screen showing for only a second. It is all good now. The default Linux Mint 13 animated splash screen is showing. Thanks a lot!

  26. John Hunter says:

    Very useful; thank you. However for 16.04 Kubuntu the “plymouth” configuration files have moved from ‘/lib/plymouth/…’ to ‘/usr/share/plymouth/…’. With this minor adjustment, it still works.

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