How to setup your desktop background as xsplash / gdm in Ubuntu karmic

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On a single user system i like to have the same background for bootsplash, login screen and desktop. As the new xsplash and gdm in ubuntu karmic (9.10) makes this easy to access.

Note:- Before running this script take a  backup of the default background file located  at /usr/share/images/xsplash.

Depends on

-- xsplash (default on ubuntu karmic)
-- imagemagick

Install imagemagick

sudo apt-get install imagemagick

or click on the following link


Download the script from here

1. Unpack, store it anywhere you like (e.g. ~/.scripts) and make it executable (chmod +x

2. Run ./ --install

3. Add to the startup programs (gnome-session-properties).

4. restart

Testing (without restarting)

Just start change your desktop wallpaper as you normally do (e.g. through gnome-appearance-properties).
Type sudo xsplash in a terminal to see the splash screen (exit with ESC) or log out to see the login screen.

Uninstall/Restore Default Xsplash

1. Remove from the startup programs (gnome-session-properties).

2. Extract your backup file. If you used the install routine this file is called backup.TIMESTAMP (where TIMESTAMP is dynamically generated number) and located at /usr/share/images/xsplash. To get the extraction path right use the following command (you may use the TAB key to complete backup. with the right timestamp number):

tar -C / -xf /usr/share/images/xsplash/backup.TIMESTAMP

3. Version 1.0 only:

sudo -u gdm gconftool-2 -t string -s /desktop/gnome/background/picture_filename /usr/share/images/xsplash/bg_2560x1600.jpg

4. restart (dont change your desktop wallpaper before restarting!)

Customize GDM

You want to use your gtk and icon theme for the login screen? Run ./ --gdm (Note that this only works for system wide installed themes)

If you want to use a different theme than the one you are using on your desktop just use the following commands and replace $my_..._theme with the name of the theme you want to use:

sudo -u gdm gconftool-2 --set --type string /desktop/gnome/interface/gtk_theme $my_gtk_theme

sudo -u gdm gconftool-2 --set --type string /desktop/gnome/interface/icon_theme $my_icon_theme

To restore the default gdm themes run ./ --restore-gdm




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6 Responses

  1. Mohamemd Naeem says:

    Nice Trick i will try it today 😀

  2. Matti says:

    I installed wallpaper_daemon. After that I get 5 errors with following content when I run sudo xsplash:

    (xsplash:2082): GdkPixbuf-CRITICAL **: gdk_pixbuf_get_width: assertion `GDK_IS_PIXBUF (pixbuf)’ failed

    and one each having (src) or (src_pixbuf) instead of (pixbuf)

    Now I dont get any splash at all during startup.
    Any Ideas what goes wrong?

  3. Matti says:

    Imagemagic was missing, Now it works fine.

  4. cassos says:

    Does it work with KDE ?

  5. John says:

    This really works like a charm!
    Thank you very much, booting up is nice agein 🙂

  6. Zebooka says:

    The easiest way:
    Replace images you need in /usr/share/images/xsplash/

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