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Making Linux Booting Pretty

Hemos posted more than 13 years ago | from the pretty-damn-cool dept.

Linux 265 writes: "Remember why you compiled your framebuffer into kernel? Of course! Because of the fblogo -- great penguin image on startup :) Now you can update your fblogo and create a graphical startup, just like in Windows. There are few themes (one is for Debian!) Check out the whole story on" You can get more info on the Linux Progress Page from their website -- that's not to say, of course, that streaming text isn't pretty in its own special way -- but eyecandy always counts for something. (Can anyone point to a good runs-under-Linux way to change the startup logo in the BIOS, as well, similar to this method that Windows users can use to update the "Energy Star" logo? We're well on our way to a hyper-custom boot process ...)

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Re:the beauty of linux (2)

Faulty Dreamer (259659) | more than 13 years ago | (#531728)

Well, in the case of a bootup screen I would hope to god that it is something that is put in via the boot configuration program, not something in the kernel. (Lilo or grub should allow this, right?)

The type of things that really make me shudder in fear is when people start saying that all of X should be put into kernel-space. Oh god, now that would be the last thing you would want to do. X locks? So does your box. Great idea guys.

But, for those hard-core gamers I don't see a problem in making an X module in the kernel that remains "optional". But I fear in this rush to embrace the Windows mentality of the average computer user we will slowly remove the idea of having "optional" things in the Linux kernel. I hope I'm wrong, but my paranoia has rarely been proven wrong lately.

I think it already does show the last line (1)

marnanel (98063) | more than 13 years ago | (#531730)

If you look at the screenshot [] , the bottom of the screen says starting gdm-- so I'd guess it already does do this.


Re:Bah. I don't need it and I don't want it. (2)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 13 years ago | (#531732)

Why are the two exlusionary? Why can't you have a beautiful bootup screen that has a window that scrolls the bootup messages? You get a nice looking bootup, and the useful information.

In fact why can't we add in sound to the bootup process? A good deep sci-fi voice would inform the user during the booting process:

"Your sound device has been configured and is online."
"Now configuring video interfaces."
"Video has been optimized for maximum speed/resolution/?."
"Now configuring hard drive interfaces"
"Maximum boot count reached. Checking disk for possible errors."
"All disk have valid filesystems."
"Hard drives have been optimized for maximum performance"
"Web server has been started"
"Networking file system is online."
"Unable to mount a network filesystem. Bootup will continue. Please review log files."

Completely and totally useless waste of electricity, but it would give the newbies out there the feeling that their computers were smarter than the Windows boxes ("Heh, my computer tells me what it is doing."), and a nice reassuring feeling that everything is working. It would also make the bootup 'feel' faster (though it would actually be slower), and it would let me do something else during bootup and still be informed if something went wrong.

Would somebody please explain... (1)

ChaoticCoyote (195677) | more than 13 years ago | (#531733)

...why we want Linux to "succeed" on the desktop?

In some segements of the Linux community, there seems to be an irrational penis-envy of Windows, which engenders an even more irrational desire to make Linux "look" and "feel" just like Microsoft's product.


Shouldn't we be working on something more important than eye-candy for spreadsheet monkeys? Like maybe defining a new desktop metapahor? Perhaps finding new ways of presenting information and interacting with it? Why is it that Linux's desktop environments seem bent on copying Windows, when they could strike out in bold new directions, taking us where no OS has taken us before?

Okay -- maybe it will be easier to get "the boss" to authorize Linux in the server room if it looks pretty on his desktop. Maybe... but should that dictate expending effort on fins when what's needed is better gas economy? In other words, are we engineering what Linux needs, or are we adding silly stuff just to keep up with Microsoft, or to assauge some false sense of inadequacy?

Re:Why should this matter? (1)

jellicle (29746) | more than 13 years ago | (#531736)

Not if you're running linux it isn't. Not unless friends routinely beat you up and leave you for dead, like apmd and apci do.

Re:Grammer.... Its not just for children anymore (2)

BJH (11355) | more than 13 years ago | (#531737)

I guess you must have skipped the day when they taught your class how to spell "grammar".

Re:Out of sight, out of mind. (2)

BrianHV (63256) | more than 13 years ago | (#531739)

This sort of thing is probably a good idea as long as it has one simple feature. If you press a specific key during the start up sequence the nice pretty image disappears and is replaced by the useful messages.

This does appear to be the case. It displays the image on virtual terminal 2, and the boot messages remain on terminal 1. It shows warnings and errors with an icon, and if you care for the details, just switch to terminal 1.

Why this is important... (1)

baudtender (80377) | more than 13 years ago | (#531740)

First of all, this isn't an official part of
Linux, it's just some fellow doing it as a
goof to satisfy his buddy. He does some
very minimal theme support and releases it
into user-land under GPL in case someone
else might get a kick out of it. Isn't the
ability to do _that_ part of the beauty of

Along with the "eyecandy" afficionados, I
think the main branch of folks who will
be appreciative of this would be the
embedded-Linux developers. There is quite
a push towards bringing Linux into things
like kiosks and consumer devices, and the
coders would very much need to customize
and "prettyfy" the boot process in order
to sell Linux to the suits (well, that and
fast-boot journaling filesystems like

Re:Asking Slashdot to be responsible... (1)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 13 years ago | (#531743)

Read the FAQ as to why this does not happen. Wait for a couple of hours they will be back up.

Open BIOS (1)

Sandlund (226344) | more than 13 years ago | (#531745)

A fully configurable BIOS -- graphical or command line, your choice -- is really the core of a truly open system. Problem is, most of us still run on AMI or some other closed source BIOS. (Don't even get me started about my experiences with Microid Research's MR BIOS upgrade. The product may be great, but my experience with the company was a nightmare.)

If you're interested, take a look at the work of the folks at the Open BIOS project [] . They're seem to be mainly talk at this point, but the wishlist is acting as a discussion group right now and there's an ongoing debate between lots of features and a minimalist approach.

I'll admit that I'm a graphical weenie (personally, I'd prefer a Mac-like experience from the get-go), but if more developers got involved, we could all have our choice.

Re:Whine whine whine (3)

Azog (20907) | more than 13 years ago | (#531746)

Seriously, this is pretty dumb.
This is not dumb. This is very important for several popular applications of Linux - Kiosk-like systems, set top boxes, and other consumer applicances. It is also important for the consumer market - people who don't want to be engineers to run their computers.
Why does everyone want linux to "gain a substantial foothold on the desktop".
Uhh, because they can make money supporting it? Because we are all sick of dealing with Microsoft? Because Linux is more stable and cheaper than Embedded NT? Because it will make the world a better place? You NEED A REASON? What kind of geek needs a reason?

I'd really pay to see some of your faces when you compile that new kernel and all you get is a stupid splash screen instead of making sure everything is working
Don't you get it? This is perfect for applications where an engineer designs a system, puts it together, and sends the whole thing to consumers who doesn't know anything about computers.

Computers as Applicances. That is what most end users want. You turn it on, it works, you get your email and check, and you turn it off.

That is what you want if you are selling and supporting them. You do not want people to dick around and call in to tech support saying:

"I plugged in your system and now my TV has a lot of weird looking white and black text go by really fast when I turn it on. I can't read it all, and it looks confusing? Is my system broken? Should I take it back to the store?"

(shudder). No way. A pretty little logo is the way to go.

Torrey Hoffman (Azog)

Bah. I don't need it and I don't want it. (3)

arcade (16638) | more than 13 years ago | (#531749)

I remember the first time I booted windows95. The first thing I cried out is "Where is all the bootup information??" . From beeing readily available before, now most of it was hidden.

I don't want a penguin displayed during the bootup. I want the information, as it reveals if something isn't the way it should be, without having to fiddle with logging and other bullshit.

Eye candy is nice, but not when it removes possibly Very Important Information.

No penguin during bootup for me. I want the kernel info.


Why should this matter? (4)

Masem (1171) | more than 13 years ago | (#531751)

Who'd be rebooting their linux box often enough to require eye candy during start up time? :-)

Re:Out of sight, out of mind. (1)

kamzik (180000) | more than 13 years ago | (#531752)

I agree - it's a vital step to desktop acceptance for not-hacker-user. But we don't want to lose hackers, right? So it is also vital to leave a way how to kick off eyecandy and let kernel info scroll by. And it should be possible to do it either permanently (through some boot time parametr) or during the bootup (by hitting ESC or something).


the beauty of linux (2)

cowscows (103644) | more than 13 years ago | (#531755)

Isn't the beauty of linux supposed to be how rarely it needs to be restarted? As much as this sounds just like eyecandy, it's actually got the potential to be a bigger deal than you'd think. Especially for the whole linux as an OS for everyone movement. Think about the average consumer that doesn't care what their computer is doing when booting up, they just want it running. A nice graphical progress bar (something along the lines of the macos startup deal), but maybe just a tad bit more geeky just to keep it interesting. That would mean more to most people than text flying by faster than you can read it.

Re:Out of sight, out of mind. (2)

GypC (7592) | more than 13 years ago | (#531756)

If boot up messages intimidate them, wait until they login and are staring at a bash prompt... I think a pretty splash screen is the last thing to worry about when trying to make *nix more newbie-friendly.

But, whatever, it's a little eye-candy... my FreeBSD box has a nice boot splash too :)

"Oh twap!"

But... but... (1)

Parsec (1702) | more than 13 years ago | (#531757)

I'm booting without a monitor... and mouse... and keyboard...

In fact, the only things I have hooked up to my Linux box are power and ethernet.

Re:Linux Progress Patch (1)

marnanel (98063) | more than 13 years ago | (#531758)

When it can be integrated into a users system in a matter of seconds is when people will start checking it out more.

Unfortunately, I'd guess that most people will start using it exactly when one of the big distros adopts it as standard. Oh well; they already have a Debian theme [] .

(Also, you need to put a ml at the end of the Energy Star link in this story).

And in case that page is as hugely slow to load for you as it is for me, here's Google's cache [] of it. The process is also described at:

Re:Change boot logo (2)

dasunt (249686) | more than 13 years ago | (#531759)

Actually, on a x86 machine, it is possible to change your BIOS screen's logo, unfortunately, I believe its bios dependent, and there is no collection of howto's that lists several bioses (biosi?). A google search with your bios and a few other keywords ("change splash screen" or "change image" seems to work) should find it if its possible and a common bios.

Well we are on the subject...

To change Microsoft Windows startup/shutdown screen, do a search for logo.sys (boot), logow.sys (please wait...), and logos.sys (its now safe to...). Back them up, and then replace them with a 256 color bitmap with dimensions of 320 (width) x 400 (height). To remove the annoying startup screen (like I did) just download Tweak UI which can be found at Microsoft's website (its one of their powertools, and a free download). Tweak UI does a couple of other nice tricks, its worth hunting down if you need to use windows. [] has a list of other things to customize with windows.

Under linux, I wouldn't want to do a change like this, the information is rather useful that's displayed, and I'd hate for the dang image to cover up the error messages, it seems rather counter-productive.

Nice, but Whistler is more appealing (2)

Zagato-sama (79044) | more than 13 years ago | (#531760)

The KDE and Debian ones seem fairly cool. However I'd have to say that the boot screen for Windows Whistler leaves them all in the dust in terms of coolness ;) (Plus Whistler's XDM login type screen implimentation is really neat looking)

How long before we see distributions package their own boot screen with the OS install?

Re:Nice, but Whistler is more appealing (1)

The Troll Catcher (220464) | more than 13 years ago | (#531769)

Gotta love those IIS-using websites...

"Too many users are currently connected"

Re:Why should this matter? (1)

Vanders (110092) | more than 13 years ago | (#531773)

Damm yeah. TV, monitors & flouresent lights. Sitting in an office makes it seem like i have tinitus.

I used to have to unplug everything at night, as leaving it on standby would still leave the transformer buzz going. :(

Idiot lights (1)

platos_beard (213740) | more than 13 years ago | (#531774)

What Linux needs (not for you and me of course, but for our Moms) is idiot lights, some way of changing the boot text messages into pretty icons showing that various system have or haven't started -- doesn't Beos do something like this?

So... (1)

reh187 (182368) | more than 13 years ago | (#531834)

Linux now is going to have a splash screen? If anything, I kind of like the way FreeBSD and Sun starts up with the rotating CURSOR Oh well... There goes the neighborhood...

Anyone know what type of format this is going to be??? Is it going to be a bmp? gif? (oops, not gif... someone might SUE us :) jpg?, etc...

Appealing for the masses (2)

slim (1652) | more than 13 years ago | (#531839)

I once read a review of Linux by a non-technical writer. Believe it or not, the boot messages scrolling past were irksome to this reviewer, and she asked someone why they were necessary. The reply was "Oh, engineers like that sort of thing". This answer, apparently, summed up everything that was wrong with Linux for this particular reviewer.

Well, of course, if her computer went wrong, I'm sure she'd be glad if the support personell she called had something to go on -- but this does raise a point. Part of making Linux appeal to the masses (if that's your bag -- by no means does everyone even care if the masses use Linux) is to make every stage pretty: prettify X (with Gnome, E etc), prettify logons (gdm vs xdm), prettify the boot process. Many people *are* that shallow.

So: this is a good thing. I'd advocate putting it in the sock kernel; as long as there's a way to switch to the proper boot messages when you need to see them.

Re:Why should this matter? (2)

Vanders (110092) | more than 13 years ago | (#531851)

People who don't want to waste electricty when not using their computer, and people who do not want to listen to PSU fans whiring away at night.

People like me, in fact.

Re:Man, that perl is a fscked up langauge (1)

yobtah (16795) | more than 13 years ago | (#531860)

Uh... the .pl means Poland, not Perl.

Ease of graphical customization (5)

Bonker (243350) | more than 13 years ago | (#531862) not something that can be ignored when trying to get one's grandma to install linux or another OSOS.

Remember that one of the points that Apple is selling more than anything else about OSX is its graphical 'beauty' (something like that at any rate.) Steve and Apple marketing truly expect that the graphical theme they've layered on top of their GUI and *nix OS will draw users. When I worked on a Mac at a certain design firm, one of the most used applications was Kaleidoscope. (If you didn't know, it's a set of extensions that allows for complete skinning of the Mac0S.) Windows 'Themes' were so important that Microsoft took them out of the 'Plus' packs and put them into the Main OS install for both Win9x and 200x. While themes are available for some of the different X GUI's, *compelete* one button customization is just not there yet. While it doesn't add any real usability, this will be a major step towards getting more mainline acceptance (and mainline apps) for Linux or any other OSOS

Re:Why should this matter? (1)

silicon_synapse (145470) | more than 13 years ago | (#531867)

Hey those fans are great to lull you to sleep. There's just nothing quite like the steady whir and occassional buzzing of a half dozen 3" fans to calm your nerves!

Re:the beauty of linux (1)

kyrre (197103) | more than 13 years ago | (#531875)

I seldom have too reboot my computer. And when I do, I like to see whats going on. So for me this function is quite useless. My NT using, FreeBSD zealot friend showed me this a similar thing on his bsd box some 1,5 year ago. I was not impressed. Wheres all the boot information? /var/log/boot.msg, /var/log/messages is a place to look of course. ;)

Actually seeing all the boot information tends to impress my friends more, than the new windows logo of the week. If that is a point of this whole linux using business. Which it isnt.

Change boot logo (1)

QZS4 (7063) | more than 13 years ago | (#531876)

Changing the bootup logo is easy:

# cat > /proc/openprom/options/oem-logo
# echo true > /proc/openprom/options/oem-logo\?

Of course, this assumes that you're on a Sun...

Re:This was on freshmeat since last week!! (2)

British (51765) | more than 13 years ago | (#531878)

There was also news on Yahoo about some discrimination suit against MS, but that's not as important as the Boogie Bass or this. Go linux! wa hooo! With the linux boot up screen, we are one step closer to taking over the desktop!

LinuXXX - Jenna Jameson Edition (2)

kenthorvath (225950) | more than 13 years ago | (#531881)

Whaddya think? How long before this one comes out?

Re:the beauty of linux (1)

CSC (31551) | more than 13 years ago | (#531887)

A nice graphical progress bar (something along the lines of the macos startup deal), but maybe just a tad bit more geeky just to keep it interesting.

This sounds exactly like the startup sequence of MacOS X: progress bar plus a couple messages ("starting portmapper", etc.)

Universal Boot logo (1)

epodrevol (219315) | more than 13 years ago | (#531891)

I wanna a logo featuring Tux beating down bill gates further as the boot progresses.

I don't care how it looks, (1)

Bad_CRC (137146) | more than 13 years ago | (#531898)

I just want it to be faster.

on my machine, windoze kicks the hell out of linux in boot time. Linux takes probably 4 or 5 times as long. Any way to shorten that would be much more welcomed by me.


FreeBSD boot screens (2)

RenQuanta (3274) | more than 13 years ago | (#531900)

In FreeBSD, changing boot screens are simply a matter of changing the image file specified in the /boot/loader.conf. Or you could copy over the file specified with others (via cron, rc script, whatever. :)

If you have FreeBSD, check out FreeBSD Splash Screens [] for how to build what you need into the kernel. There's a few other instructions to follow, too.

Kewl... but how often do you get to see it? (1)

WareW01f (18905) | more than 13 years ago | (#531902)

I've always wanted change the startup screens on my PC & laptop (mainly so I could be a 1337 #4x0r like those guys (and gals) in 'Hackers') but then I asked myself, when would I see it? I usually only reboot for kernel updates on the PC and my Vaio's suspend mode fixes the issue on the laptop side. I'm not bragging about the stability if Linux, I'm just stating fact, my uptimes at at least 3 months.

Now something that I have thought about that's on my ToDo list (aka project limbo) is a hack to generate a unique terminal font, where the extended characters are remaped to make up 8x8 bit sections of a bitmap of my choice. Then all of my servers that I didn't bother to install X on can have neato non-ascii art penguins at the login prompt on the root console. Then I could gain the fear and respect I crave!

Out of sight, out of mind. (5)

kramer (19951) | more than 13 years ago | (#531908)

It's not just eyecandy. It's a vital step to desktop acceptance. I've installed linux for non techies on their machines. I showed them how to use it, shoewed them how it differend from windows, and what's the first thing I hear from them when it starts up? "Oh, I don't know if I can do this... look at all those lines scrolling by...."

Microsoft learned a long time ago that 99% of their users don't understand or care about those lines scrolling by, and in fact it intimidates them. It is generally not considered a good idea to intimidate your users. It just makes them not want to use your system.

Sure, in the perfect world nobody would be intimidated, and everybody would understand implicity that they really don't need to pay attention to most of those messages in most cases. But the world's no perfect, and neither are the people in it.

Re:Why should this matter? (1)

dboyles (65512) | more than 13 years ago | (#531910)

Laptop users like myself.

how about actually doing something? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#531914)

Here's an idea.. rather than display a cute image for no apparent reason, how about actually starting the gui up and letting me do something whilst the system loads? For example, the first few seconds of my linux boot up start up the drivers etc and eventually start init. Now if my init was my desktop application (eazel, kde, whatever) then I could have the screen and the mouse all in the right mode and ready to go at the instant that it actually starts. Then the first thing my desktop app can do is start all those daemons and run all those network startup scripts and give me a nice gui display that I can ignore if I want and go off and start working.

Innovation abounds (1)

platinum (20276) | more than 13 years ago | (#531915)

Hmmm, Linux gets a splash screen on boot. And only a few years after FreeBSD.

Whine whine whine (2)

Ripp (17047) | more than 13 years ago | (#531919)

Want some cheese to go with that?

Seriously, this is pretty cool if we *ever* expect Linux to gain a substantial foothold on the 'desktop.' The majority of users don't care how many bogomips or the details of how their scsi card is initialized, they just want to get going. All that junk *may* actually intimidate the average/novice user into thinking they're getting into something over their head.

Oh, and don't forget, in Win 9x/Me, you CAN hit -Esc- to show you all the juicy startup info....

Well... (1)

GauteL (29207) | more than 13 years ago | (#531923)

Newbies like it, and if it is possible to turn it off, then why not?

Re:Why should this matter? (2)

kootch (81702) | more than 13 years ago | (#531925)

people who live in california and are having rolling blackouts will probably need to keep on restarting their boxes.

Broken links (1)

Stskeeps (161864) | more than 13 years ago | (#531926)

The energy star link should be [] .. also, on the page, the url got a extra " that screws things up .. [] is the right url for the Linux Progress Patch ;). Anyhow, this is good, but - haven't tested it, can you press escape or something to see the _real_ boot msgs? :P

Re:Nice, but Whistler is more appealing (1)

Lonesmurf (88531) | more than 13 years ago | (#531927)

Do you have a screenshot of that that you could point us towards to back up your argument?


Re:Appealing for the masses (1)

ranessin (205172) | more than 13 years ago | (#531928)

Excuse me, but has anyone ever forced you to compile a certain feature into your kernel? Will anyone ever force you to do so? Didn't think so, so please shut the fuck up. Thanks.


Re:Appealing for the masses (5)

fizban (58094) | more than 13 years ago | (#531929)

Actually, making OSes appealing to the masses is not necessarily about just "prettying up" things. It's about making the OS transparent to the user.

I don't need to know the startup sequence my car goes through when I turn the key in the ignition. I just turn the key, the engine starts and I drive away.

This is the type of thing we should be striving for with computers. You turn the key, the machine starts and you use it. This whole logo thing hiding the boot messages at startup is not what we should be aiming for, though. We shouldn't get excited about it. But, neither should we want all those startup messages everytime we boot. What we should be striving for is a boot process that just does what it's supposed to - boot the computer and get the user to a state of working usefulness. If there are problems, you can flip a switch that provides diagnostics to send to someone (like taking the car to the shop), or the OS could be smart enough to even handle the error checking itself and fix any problems on its own, similar to the disc error checking that occurs if you shut down your computer "improperly."

The idea behind the the logo mentality is what matters here. Creating computer systems that are "user friendly" is the goal, and note that "user friendly" is not synonymous with "pretty" - it's means creating a tool that the user can use without caring what's going on inside.


Re:Why should this matter? (1)

mfkap (230504) | more than 13 years ago | (#531930)

If you really cared you would get a battery the size of a house to keep your box up! I mean, we are talking about UPTIME here!!! :)

Re:Appealing for the masses (1)

timcuth (73315) | more than 13 years ago | (#531931)

Well, even if the detailed messages are hidden by a GUI splash screen, they should still be written to a log file. So, if something does go wrong, the info should still be available.

Re:the beauty of linux (2)

Faulty Dreamer (259659) | more than 13 years ago | (#531932)

Isn't this one of the things about Corel Linux that bothered people? I know it certainly bothered me.

And let's not forget that the people that are claiming this is really, really important are the same people that agreed whole-heartedly with that article a while back that said that there are way too many packages included with Linux distributions. These people want Linux to be just exactly like Windows. They want a system that hides everything from them. They want a system that is basically as non-powerful as possible so that the system can tell them how to work, not the other way around. They want a system that comes with nothing, so that they have to run down to Best Buy and plunk down another couple of hundred dollars before they can get any work done. Frankly, I don't understand why they want to be so limitted in how they use their system.

Now, don't get me wrong. I see nothing wrong with eye candy, even if it is just for the sake of having more eye candy. As long as it is always optional, so that I don't have to wait for that "pretty" penguin screen to disappear on my server before going to the command line, or worse yet, get stuck with a full X-based install on a system that I'm trying to set up to be headless. But please, let's not get overjoyed every time we get Linux one step close to being just like Windows. There are still plenty of us out here that started using Linux because it wasn't like Windows, and we want to keep it that way. We aren't trying to avoid progress. We are trying to promote progress, and avoid regression.

To those that like Windows, and want a Windows like system, I have a suggestion: USE WINDOWS! I know, it sounds like blasphemy, but really it isn't that big of a deal. If you want Windows, it really isn't that terrible of a thing to use it. If you want a Unix like system, then there are plenty of free choices out there (Linux and the BSDs among them). But I do not understand why the free Unices must give up their Unix heritage so that they can be "more like Windows". Windows isn't that bad. Some of us just prefer using Unix and Unix like systems. For those of us that do, we do not want to be stuck having to choose between Windows and what used to be a Unix clone but is now a Windows clone. That will not allow us choice. Unless (as I've said before) you actually believed that the choice between George W. and Al Gore was a real choice. In that case, I have wasted my writing time.

Re:Whine whine whine (2)

I_redwolf (51890) | more than 13 years ago | (#531933)

Seriously, this is pretty dumb. Why does everyone want linux to "gain a substantial foothold on the desktop". If the majority of users don't care about the damned messages then whats the problem? I don't see any; if they don't like it then they don't have to use it. However people on here recommending adding more bloat to the kernel for a pretty startup screen need to think for a second.

1. If you plan on seeing that bootup splash screen alot then stability is not focus for you.
2. If stability is not your focus then don't use linux.
3. If you want pretty boot splash screens instead of dire information of whats inside your computer and how its operating with linux; then you're a fool. (This is why I don't tolerate macs and this is also why I always press ESC when starting a windows computer. To make sure that nothings going wrong)

I'd really pay to see some of your faces when you compile that new kernel and all you get is a stupid splash screen instead of making sure everything is working. Then again I've come to the conclusion that most of you don't compile kernels or work with enough hardware to know that you NEED those messages on startup for a machine that you don't know or for new hardware that you added.

Thank you.

Re:Why should this matter? (1)

freq (15128) | more than 13 years ago | (#531934)


you are my hero.


Re:Appealing for the masses (2)

ranessin (205172) | more than 13 years ago | (#531935)

Guess you've never heard of the framebuffer device, which is also part of the bootup code, but can be turned on/off during bootup, or just not compiled into the kernel at all...

Again, if you don't like a feature, no one is forcing you to use it. Hell, fork your own damned kernel, but stop your fucking whining.

You, sir, are the biggest idiot I've had the displeasure of reading on Slashdot so far today.


Re:Appealing for the masses (2)

gimpimp (218741) | more than 13 years ago | (#531936)

it's projects like this that provide a reason for having virtual frame buffers's in the kernel in the first place.
okay - it doesn't alter the usefulness of the kernel, but it *does* provide the perception of friendliness. if you can't see the confusing messages, you don't get confused - simple.
this is something i had wondered about a couple of years ago when i started using linux. in my opinion - it's pretty cool.

a similar project is aurora [] .

Linux Progress Patch (2)

suprax (2463) | more than 13 years ago | (#531937)

I tried the Linux Progress Patch sometime last week and found it to be interesting. Sure, it was neat seeing this fancy debian boot screen, but it was not all that easy. A patching of the kernel and entire kernel recompile is neccessary in order to get it working.

If I were to suggest anything, it would be to allow the user the hit escape to view the boot information. Sure you can hit F2 to see it there, but I would like it much more to just hit escape.

Another key point is that if you move the mouse while it's booting, it leaves big black streaks across the screen (but then again, why would you move your mouse).

Overall it's an okay program with lots of work to go. When it can be integrated into a users system in a matter of seconds is when people will start checking it out more.

(Also, you need to put a ml at the end of the Energy Star link in this story).

Scott Miga

Re:So... (1)

baudtender (80377) | more than 13 years ago | (#531938)

It's tiff.

Re:Why should this matter? (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 13 years ago | (#531939)

Suspend/resume is your friend...

Re:Bah I don't need it and I don't want it (2)

Ian Wolf (171633) | more than 13 years ago | (#531940)

I feel the same way, but this has a place©

In a perfect world, a splash screen would be on the primary console and bootup on the second© Ninety percent of the time, I don't even look at the bootup messages and that's because I rarely have a problem© However, if I've made some changes, to the machine and suspect that it might act up, I could alt-F2 to the bootup console and see if I can spot the problem© Its the best of both worlds and another win for Linux©

One of Linux's greatest strengths is that it can be whatever you want it to be from a firewall to a web server to a desktop© Anything that makes it better in a given area without sacrificing another is always a good thing©

Re:I don't care how it looks, (2)

paRcat (50146) | more than 13 years ago | (#531941)

Computer 1 - A P-III 600 with 128M of RAM and Windows 98

Computer 2 - A P-II 350 with 96M of RAM and Linux running kernel 2.4

I can start the Windows machine rebooting while at the CLI on the Linux machine. Once the Windows machine it through the BIOS messages, I start the Linux machine rebooting. By the time Windows is to the desktop and done loading, I have already booted into Linux and started X.

Maybe you need to look at your rc.d directory?

Re:the beauty of linux (1)

platinum (20276) | more than 13 years ago | (#531942)

Using the splash screen during boot on my laptop with FreeBSD tends to turns heads, though. Remember, not all unix systems are servers.

Horses for courses (1)

waz (89418) | more than 13 years ago | (#531943)

I wouln't dream of masking linux boot-up messages when I'm installing and configuring, but once it's up and running, would be nice to tart up the start-up.

With Windows 9x, no real point viewing an internal gubbins as doubt you could fix serious problems anyway without certification in registry hacking, or my usual method, being really quick at reinstalling.

Of course, there's [] for a nice pretty boot manager, because - let's face it - lilo ain't attractive!

Re:Out of sight, out of mind. - oh please (1)

heller (4484) | more than 13 years ago | (#531944)

when you start a car you hear all sorts of grinding and clicking sounds as the starter engages, yet you don't think "i can't do this". If it's something you don't understand, ignore it. Surely it will be usefull for someone else.

** Martin

How do you see if there are error messages? (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 13 years ago | (#531945)

I propose they should put in a hotkey so if the system doesn't boot, you can use the hotkey to cancel out the graphics and see the actual boot information.

63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs,
ya get 1 whacked with a service pack,

Re:I don't care how it looks, (1)

gimpimp (218741) | more than 13 years ago | (#531946)

just stop the services that you dont need, and take all the unwanted stuff out of your kernel. my debian system boots to gdm in about 25 secs.

Not really innovative enough for my liking (1)

mikera (98932) | more than 13 years ago | (#531947)

A picture at boot time getting people excited? Well that's just great.

Linux could be really good if it stopped duplicating "cute" features from elsewhere and started doing something really innovative.

So we've got all this DRI/OpenGL stuff in Linux. Why not use it to build a 3D flyby sequence on startup, an impression of cyberspace at your command. Demo coders have been doing that stuff for years, surely it can't be that hard to knock together?

That, as much as anything else, would cause the windoze mob to actually stop and think "cool... gotta get some of this linux thing. It's got, like, the best startup sequence of any OS anywhere."

Of course, if you don't want to see linux on the desktop and think it should be reserved for elite hackers and sysadmins who actually care what a compiler does, then you can safely ignore this.

BIOS logo vs. bootup logo (3)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#531948)

On the BIOS side of things, some enterprising geeks did the full-screen BIOS logo update for the I-Opener:

Openflash []

This runs in QNX from the console, but there's no reason it couldn't be adapted to other motherboards and BIOS setups.

The nice thing is that it's a BIOS hack, so even if you yank out a hard drive to boot Windoze to play some games, you still have your funky boot logo.

Yeah, I also like watching my PC autodetect the hard drives, and I also like seeing all the boot log stuff scrolling by on a *nix boot. But as others have correctly pointed out, this just scares most sheeple, who want to look at something pretty so they don't have to wonder what's going on under the hood. Whether we like their preference or not, it's real, and our obligation should be to the user, not to our notions of what a *nix boot "should" look like.

Turn off some services (1)

suso (153703) | more than 13 years ago | (#531949)

Sounds like you have a lot of services turned on (like a webserver, sendmail, etc.). Change the init scripts so that they don't startup and you can reduce the boot time. Remember that Windows boot time includes the time that it takes to get to the desktop and that hour glass icon to go away. I think Microsoft has done a good job of making people think it is fast, when it really isn't. After all, look at the Mac. Apple knew that they could make a Mac seem faster if they would make the desktop menus respond as fast as possible. What Linux really needs is not fancy boot up screens and stuff, but good level minded ergonomics engineers.

BIOS logo (1)

stilwebm (129567) | more than 13 years ago | (#531950)

I noticed some (or maybe all) FIC motherboards include a utility on a CD with drivers, to help OEM's change the BIOS boot logo. I'm sure other motherboard manufacturers do this too. Also Sun SPARCs let you change the oemlogo shown at boot, which is stored in the nvram. I think there are even some Linux and SunOS utilities to help you if you don't feel like modifying it in the boot monitor.

Re:Start XDM immediately after kernel boot (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#531951)

that's leet! But I say sooner! Let's get the gui up and running before the filesystems are even mounted. Before the harddrive drivers are even initialized! Put the gui in the kernel. Start it on bootup then push it back out to usermode. Get rid of kernel compression and make sure the kernel is taking up contiguous sectors on the harddrive. Get the bios to load track by track the entire thing straight into memory. Ok.. maybe this wouldn't be the fastest, maybe we need to start the framebuffer driver, then the harddrive driver, then load the gui from some precompiled locations on the disk and get it rollin' in userland before we start initializing all the other drivers.

No no, you see... (2)

Akardam (186995) | more than 13 years ago | (#531952)

... I still like to be able to see my nameserver flip out and go "kernel panic!" after line 12!

You're right but you're wrong as well (2)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 13 years ago | (#531953)

Linux is about choice. You should be able to have a graphical login, AND see the last line of the boot messages at the same time. Or else you hit return and you get the boot messages. I don't know if the boot prompt actually does this, but it should.

Re:Appealing for the masses (1)

am 2k (217885) | more than 13 years ago | (#531954)

Maybe you should take a look at dmesg and /var/log/messages...

Better quicker than prettier (2)

mirko (198274) | more than 13 years ago | (#531955)

Well, to satisfy everybody, I'd say that some kind of animation during the boot could be cool provided Linux startup is still informative and quick enough.
I'll take RiscOS [] as an example :
In this case we have:
  1. a resources check during which the screen background color change.
    It is really quick and hence, not disturbing.
    In case there is an hardware error here, just remember the last color you saw and check with the manual if it was due to the mainboard, the ram, the sound/video chip (VIDC) or the cpu.
  2. some information are then displayed (proc, RAM, extensions.). This step is also quite short (2-3sec)
  3. then the Wimp (aka RiscOS' GUI) appears.
  4. A complete startup on a clean machine can be as short as 5 secondes.

  5. So my question is : Do we need machines that are nice to contemplate while one's waiting for them to finish booting or do we need machines with a quick, informative and efficient boot sequence ?


Re:the beauty of linux (1)

I_redwolf (51890) | more than 13 years ago | (#531956)

If I could mod you to +5 Godly. I would; It seems that the majority of slashdot readers now with few exceptions such as yourself and others want linux to morph into a windows desktop. I hope that we in the linux community that want to use Linux for whatever we want don't have to now cater to these "jump on the bandwagon" zealots. The ones that actually think that putting this into the kernel is a good idea. It's not;

Re:Bah. I don't need it and I don't want it. (1)

DebtAngel (83256) | more than 13 years ago | (#531957)

Personally, I want a meld of both.

The neatest thing about Windows 2000, in my brief experience with it, is that if it's doing something on bootup out of the ordinary (like converting a partition), it will create a pseudo-console, wrapped by the Win2000 logo and a scrolling line thingy, that manages to contain the scrolling text and look pretty.

That's what I would want, but all the time. The important information stays, without sacrificing the "ooo..." factor. I like my boot info, but I like my Penguin too.

Port some VGA/SVGA demos... (2)

Spoing (152917) | more than 13 years ago | (#531958)

...and use them as the boot logo. The demo scene, so interested in small tight code, could be a good asset.

If not that, use flash and a limited runtime boot program, such as the one I mentioned earlier [] . Who wouldn't want to see boot messages drift away like StarWars credits. (OK...once in a while. After all, how many times do you need to reboot your machine each year?)

How about some useful info? (2)

Ami Ganguli (921) | more than 13 years ago | (#531959)

Rather than a boot logo, I'd like the information that currently scrolls by to be presented a little more usefully.

The stuff that scrolls by 1)goes by too fast 2)is filled with noise that obscures useful information.

How about a table (kind of like the bios info table) that gets filled in as the boot process continues. Possible entries:

  • Version of kernel
  • A few important config settings (like firewall support)
  • Drives detected
  • Memory detected
  • bogomips
  • resources allocated by which drivers
  • ...

Re:Bah. I don't need it and I don't want it. (2)

the Man in Black (102634) | more than 13 years ago | (#531960)

Perhaps I'm the only one that actually went to the site, but it appears that bootup messages are piped to the splash screen. I'd double-check the code before I installed it, though.

Personally, I'll definitely be giving this a try...anything to make my box more custom, sleek, and sexy is cred by me. I've single-handedly drawn most of my friends to Linux by extolling it's many virtues, and this is just another "Wow, cool!" factor.

Bottom line: It's Open Source Software. The beauty of that is, you have a choice. Install it or don't, but don't shit all over the people who think this is a cool thing.

--Just Another Pimp A$$ Perl Hacker (who gets paid to 'fiddle with logging and other bullshit')

Blue text on a black background (2)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 13 years ago | (#531961)

Blue text on a black background is kewl and rad, but unreadable.

but it already boots pretty (1)

brujito (301318) | more than 13 years ago | (#531962)

I think is really cool to see when linux is booting. Is cool to see just how works in the inside. Just think of it like a transparent device. YOu know like those cool transparent phones when you see all the wiring. Well if you think a picture is worth a thousand words put one.

Start XDM immediately after kernel boot (2)

LF11 (18760) | more than 13 years ago | (#531963)

I just got something like that working this morning. The answer: start XDM first thing after mounting the partitions. My boot scripts are custom made (by me), so it's easy for me to do, but it shouldn't be too hard even on distro scripts.

So, my computer checks the filesystems, mounts them, starts xdm, and then continues on to set up networking, services, etc. I'm working as soon as it starts xdm.

My X setup takes mouse data from gpm. This could cause some problems with kdm (which can use the mouse), but the mouse is not needed or used in xdm. I have gpm starting afterwards, and gpm is loaded by the time I finish logging in.

Hope this helps,


Re:Horses for courses (2)

mirko (198274) | more than 13 years ago | (#531964)

Another pretty boot manager is Icepack Linux [] Boot Manager, which is free and graphical.


Re:Why should this matter? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#531965)

No I do all my work in Windows, and only use Linux to waste time.

Re:Out of sight, out of mind. (3)

richc (64788) | more than 13 years ago | (#531967)

This sort of thing is probably a good idea as long as it has one simple feature. If you press a specific key during the start up sequence the nice pretty image disappears and is replaced by the useful messages. Then you have the picture that doesn't scare non-technical users and the text available if there is a major problem.

Eye Candy, etc (3)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 13 years ago | (#531968)

Professionals often like their systems lean and mean, stripped down with only the essentials to get the maximum performance out of their equipment.

There is also those other strange people who want to put every bell, light and whistle on their rig, even if it is just to scare people, and intimidate the neighbors. Sort of like the Hell's Angels (with paint jobs, etc) or other motor cycle enthuthiasts with lights, radios, and enough gear to outfit a mobile home.

As a side note, this might be related to this story [] over the holidays describing how men in bars flaunt their mobile phones to attract women (and it works). The geek with the most impressive rack of equipment could attract the best partners. Or so the logic would go.

The only point here is that mental/emotional factors have to be considered as well.

So an opening animated graphic (or even a shockwave/flash file) would be attract to some people, beginners and otherwise. I imagine you could even have a whole operating system where many cues are not done by sound files(as in windows) but are by embedded flash files, etc. The computer could seem to be alive to the beginner, if this were done cleverly.

This would certainly attract alot of people.

Are these people the kind of people we want to attract?

Grammer.... Its not just for children anymore (1)

el_munkie (145510) | more than 13 years ago | (#531969)

Look at the title of this article, "Making Linux Booting Pretty". Did the editors skip elementary school?

Caldera has this since one and a half year already (1)

haggar (72771) | more than 13 years ago | (#531970)

Subject line tells it all.

Re:Man, that perl is a fscked up langauge (1)

Hairy_Potter (219096) | more than 13 years ago | (#531971)

Thanks bud, but I'll take the kharma hit.

Humor is a tough thing to pull off, apparently I was anti-microsoft enough.

Asking Slashdot to be responsible... (1)

Rigor Morty (149783) | more than 13 years ago | (#531972)

Would someone with some authority at Slashdot be so kind as to consider mirroring downloads locally? I really wanted those bios-editing files from the Windows site, and it's slashdotted all to hell and back.

If you're going to post the news article, at least be kind to the people who might want the software.

Re:Why should this matter? (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 13 years ago | (#531973)

Then I bet you can hear that scanning noise that monitors and TVs make too. That annoys me more than anything else.

Whenever someone had a monitor or TV with no signal to it (especially newer TVs that don't display "snow" but just go to a black screen, or th emonitors that don't go into som elow power mode and do the same).

It bugs the hell out of me, whenever someone does it I have to seek out which tube it is and turn it off.

In any case, my solution is just to not put computers in the bedroom, and even then, its the LEDs that bother me the most. In my old apartment I had to cover them with electrical tape to get to sleep.


Re:Out of sight, out of mind. - oh please (1)

Bothari (34939) | more than 13 years ago | (#531978)

Actually, if your car informed you through a sequence of beeps, honks and whistles about everything that was going on inside, you *would* mind.

Also, notice that the tendency is for cars to become *quieter* in everything, so as to not disturb passengers/people around it, so you're sunk there too.

Yes, I know I ramble and my spelling isn't quite up to scratch. If you wish to complain,

RedHat 7.0 initscripts (3)

Matthias Saou (264938) | more than 13 years ago | (#531981)

RedHat 7.0 users will probably find this useful : I've built a patched version of the "initscripts" package that includes tests to display the services startup messages with the Linux Progress Patch (of course, you can still use a non-patched kernel without any problems).
My scripts are available in the official packages, but you can grab an updated RPM (easier and cleaner to install) from my website in the "initscripts-lpp" directory : []

A link to this RPM should soon be on the new official website ( anyway.


Foul heretics! (4)

hawk (1151) | more than 13 years ago | (#531982)

It's not just unnecessary, it's *evil*.

For crying out loud. First they took away my toggle switches, and then the whole front panel.

Then the machines started taking it upon themselves to boot a DOS or TOS without even a "by your leave," let alone a keyboard command from the monitor.

Then they took the monitor.

NOw you want to take my boot sequence from me?

evil, evil, evil.

The *only* change that should happen in the current *nix boot sequences is to ad Majel Barrret's voice announcing key checkpoints , such as "going multiuser" and daemon initialization . . . :)

hawk, crankier than usual

Aurora? (1)

Jason300zx (301482) | more than 13 years ago | (#531986)

I like Aurora - which has a pretty nice graphical bootup. It replaces the scrolling text with graphics and icons. It still shows enough information so you can see what's starting/failing.

I can now be sneaky sneaky (2)

cluge (114877) | more than 13 years ago | (#531988)

When it boots it shows a Windows 2000 screen..... My XDM looks exactly like a windows 2000 login. No one knows I run Linux/FreeBSD/insertfavoriteunixhere, my CTO think's I'm a good little Microsoft boy. He's amazed by the amount of work I can get done. I keep telling him my outlook is fubar, so I'm using something else. He believes me.

Fantasy? Not any more

fast working on that new xdm login screen

Re:Whine whine whine (2)

Ian Wolf (171633) | more than 13 years ago | (#531989)

Here are some reasons I would like to see Linux "gain a substantial foothold on the desktop"©

- I'd like to get my mother running Linux so that it doesn't break every couple of weeks and I have to fix it, and if it does break it's generally easier to fix©

- I'd like to see better interoperability between computer systems© An explosion in Linux on the desktop would require more companies ¥namely MS to focus on "real" standards and not making everything proprietary©

- I would like to see Open Source become the preferred methodology in software distribution and development©

- Better acceptance on the desktop leads to better acceptance in the boardroom©

I could go on for hours as to why its a good thing, but I think you get the point©

Re:Why should this matter? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#531990)


I'm most productive when using windows, too.

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