Apetis uses Plymouth to implement the animation on boot.

To customize its boot animation, Plymouth has support to define a set of splash themes.

From the Plymouth README file:

“Plymouth supports various “splash” themes which are analogous to screensavers, but happen at boot time. There are several sample themes shipped with plymouth, but most distributions that use plymouth ship something customized for their distribution.”

You can list the available themes on your system by executing:

$ sudo plymouth-set-default-theme --list

And can change the default theme with:

$ sudo plymouth-set-default-theme <theme>

where <theme> is your selected theme (i.e: spinner)

After changing the default theme the initial ram filsystems has to be regenerated to add this information:

$ sudo update-initramfs -u

Plymouth sample splash themes

The list of samples themes includes 2 text based themes and 7 graphical ones:

  • Text: “Text mode theme with tricolor progress bar”
  • Details: “Verbose fallback theme”
  • Fade-in: “Simple theme that fades in and out with shimmering stars”
  • Glow: “Corporate theme with pie chart boot progress followed by a glowing emerging logo”
  • Script: “Script example plugin”
  • Solar: “Space theme with violent flaring blue star”
  • Spinfinity: “Simple theme that shows a rotating infinity sign in the center of the screen”
  • Spinner: “Simple theme with a loading spinner”

Specifying which Plymouth theme to use on boot

There are two ways to specify which theme will be used by Plymouth:

  • Adding plymouth.theme=${THEME} as a parameter to the kernel command line
  • Specifying Theme=${THEME} in the /etc/plymouth/plymouthd.conf Plymouth configuration file.

Plymouth splash theme definition

Each theme is defined on a .plymouth file using the INI file format. Following is an example of the spinner.plymouth file that defines the Spinner splash theme:

[Plymouth Theme]
Description=A theme designed by jimmac that features a simple spinner.


Each Plymouth splash theme uses a ModuleName which is a plug-in that defines the actual theme behavior and the configuration parameters that can be changed for a theme. Different themes can use the same module of course and changing the available parameters for that module.

For example both the Spinner and Glow sample themes use the same two-step module. Modules are implemented in src/plugins/splash.

Modifying and adding new Plymouth splash themes

Plymouth is flexible enough regarding with its splash themes and these can be changed at different levels. If any of the available splash plug-ins fit the requirement then modifying the boot animation could just be adding a new .plymouth file and modifying the parameters for that module.

Or if none of the available splash themes can be used, a new splash plug-in can be used to have a more fine grained control of what is displayed on boot.

Testing your theme without reboot and adding debug info

The splash that will be displayed by Plymouth can be tested on X by installing the plymouth-x11 package:

$ sudo apt-get install plymouth-x11
$ sudo plymouthd plymouth.splash=${THEME}"; sudo plymouth show-splash; sleep 5; sudo killall plymouthd

And if you want more debug log, you can add plymouth:debug to the kernel command line.