About 2 weeks ago I started noticing something different with Ubuntu 11.10 on my laptop. During shutdown none of the ugly boot messages were showing. I was elated. Since the days when boot splash was introduced into Linux nothing much has developed over the course of, more or less, a decade. Sure the names are different and they keep coming up with something new – bootsplash, usplash, plymouth – but these apps have one thing in common in that it never truly hides the boot messages. Always there are remnants of the these ugly text during logout and on shutdown. These graphical boot splash apps are kind of clunky, inconsistent, and lacks the finesse when compared to the Windows 7 and prior Windows OS versions.
Well, I am now very pleased with the way my Plymouth Ubuntu theme looks. It is now more consistent throughout the entire boot process.
In line with what I mentioned in my previous article about looking for a minimalist Plymouth theme with a dark/black color scheme, apparently I did not have to look any further. The default Plymouth theme for Ubuntu is already perfect. It is is simple, yet elegant enough, and does not break whenever a disk check happens on every nth boot.
Starting Ubuntu 11.04 I have observed that Plymouth starts late in the boot process. Often you can only catch a glimpse of it before GDM/LightDM pops up. The same is true for Ubuntu 11.10. After a quick search on the Internet, I found out that Ubuntu 11.x versions appear to have gone away from the framebuffer technique that was used in earlier versions. Accessing the video memory directly through the framebuffer is an old technique. The newer way, supposedly, is to have Kernel Mode Setting (KMS) handle the graphics card and setup the display resolution early in the boot process to allow Plymouth to display correctly. One other reason for moving into KMS is to minimize screen flicker that is often observed when using the framebuffer technique.