plymouth - graphical boot animation and logger
Plymouth is an application that runs very early in the boot process
(even before the root filesystem is mounted!) that provides a graphical
boot animation while the boot process happens in the background.
It is designed to work on systems with DRM modesetting drivers. The idea
is that early on in the boot process the native mode for the computer is
set, plymouth uses that mode, and that mode stays throughout the entire
boot process up to and after X starts. Ideally, the goal is to get rid
of all flicker during startup.
For systems that don't have DRM mode settings drivers, plymouth falls
back to text mode (it can also use a legacy /dev/fb interface).
In either text or graphics mode, the boot messages are completely
occluded. After the root file system is mounted read-write, the
messages are dumped to /var/log/boot.log. Also, the user can see the
messages at any time during boot up by hitting the escape key.
Plymouth isn't really designed to be built from source by end users. For
it to work correctly, it needs integration with the distribution.
Because it starts so early, it needs to be packed into the
distribution's initial ram disk, and the distribution needs to poke
plymouth to tell it how boot is progressing.
plymouth ships with two binaries: /sbin/plymouthd and /bin/plymouth
The first one, plymouthd, does all the heavy lifting. It logs the
session and shows the splash screen. The second one, /bin/plymouth, is
the control interface to plymouthd.
It supports things like plymouth show-splash, or plymouth
ask-for-password, which trigger the associated action in plymouthd.
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.
Plymouth isn't done yet. It's still under active development, but is
used in several popular distros already, including Fedora, Mandriva,
Ubuntu and others. See the distributions page for more information.