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Revision as of 18:36, 28 August 2017 by Next-play (talk | contribs) (recommend plymouth-zfs for zfs encrypted hard drives)
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Plymouth is a project from Fedora providing a flicker-free graphical boot process. It relies on kernel mode setting (KMS) to set the native resolution of the display as early as possible, then provides an eye-candy splash screen leading all the way up to the login manager.


Plymouth primarily uses KMS (Kernel Mode Setting) to display graphics. If you can't use KMS (e.g. because you are using a proprietary driver) you will need to use framebuffer[broken link: invalid section] instead. In EFI/UEFI systems, plymouth can utilize the EFI framebuffer, otherwise Uvesafb is recommended as it can function with widescreen resolutions.

If you have neither KMS nor a framebuffer, Plymouth will fall back to text-mode.


Plymouth is available from the AUR: the stable package is plymouthAUR and the development version is plymouth-gitAUR.

If you also use GDM, you should install the gdm-plymouthAUR, which compiles gdm with plymouth support.

The plymouth hook

Add plymouth to the HOOKS array in mkinitcpio.conf. It must be added after base and udev for it to work:

HOOKS="base udev plymouth [...] "
  • If you use hard drive encryption with the encrypt hook, you must replace the encrypt hook with plymouth-encrypt in order to get to the TTY password prompts.
  • For a ZFS encrypted root, you must install plymouth-zfsAUR and replace zfs hook with plymouth-zfs
  • Using PARTUUID or PARTLABEL in cryptdevice= parameter does not work with plymouth-encrypt hook.

After adding the plymouth-encrypt hook, if input goes to the background in plaintext instead of into the password prompt you need to add your (kernel) graphics driver to your initramfs. For example, if using intel:

MODULES="i915 [...]"

Alternative plymouth hook (systemd)

If your mkinitcpio.conf includes the systemd hook, then replace plymouth with sd-plymouth. Additionally, if using hard drive encryption, use sd-encrypt instead of encrypt or plymouth-encrypt:

HOOKS="base systemd sd-plymouth [...] sd-encrypt [...]"

The kernel command line

You now need to set quiet splash as your kernel command line parameter in your bootloader. See Kernel parameters for more info.

Rebuild your initrd image (see mkinitcpio article for details), for example:

# mkinitcpio -p linux


Smooth transition

To enable smooth transition (if supported) you have to:

  1. Disable your Display manager Unit, e.g. systemctl disable gdm.service
  2. Enable the respective DM-plymouth Unit (GDM, LXDM, SLiM, LightDM, SDDM units provided), e.g. systemctl enable gdm-plymouth.service

Show Delay

Plymouth has a configuration option to delay the splash screen:


On systems that boot quickly, you may only see a flicker of your splash theme before your DM or login prompt is ready. You can set ShowDelay to an interval (in seconds) longer than your boot time to prevent this flicker and only show a blank screen. The default is 5 seconds, but you may wish to change this to a lower value to see your splash earlier during boot.

Changing the Theme

Plymouth comes with a selection of themes:

  1. Fade-in: "Simple theme that fades in and out with shimmering stars"
  2. Glow: "Corporate theme with pie chart boot progress followed by a glowing emerging logo"
  3. Script: "Script example plugin" (Despite the description seems to be a quite nice Arch logo theme)
  4. Solar: "Space theme with violent flaring blue star"
  5. Spinner: "Simple theme with a loading spinner"
  6. Spinfinity: "Simple theme that shows a rotating infinity sign in the center of the screen"
  7. (Text: "Text mode theme with tricolor progress bar")
  8. (Details: "Verbose fallback theme")

In addition you can install other themes from AUR, just have a look at the "Required by"-Array on plymouthAUR.

All currently installed themes can be listed by using this command:

$ plymouth-set-default-theme -l


$ ls /usr/share/plymouth/themes
details  glow    solar       spinner  tribar
fade-in  script  spinfinity  text

By default, the spinner theme is selected. The theme can be changed by editing /etc/plymouth/plymouthd.conf, for example:


Themes can be previewed without rebuilding, press Ctrl+Alt+F2 to change to console, log in as root and type:

# plymouthd
# plymouth --show-splash

To quit the preview, press Ctrl+Alt+F2 again and type:

# plymouth --quit

Every time a theme is changed, the kernel image must be rebuilt:

# plymouth-set-default-theme -R <theme>

Reboot to apply the changes.

Tips and tricks

Show kernel messages

During boot you can switch to kernel messages by pressing "Home" (or "Escape") key.

Replacing the Arch Logo and creating custom themes

The following themes use the Arch Linux logo supplied by Plymouth in /usr/share/plymouth/arch-logo.png: fade-in, script, solar, spinfinity. If you want to use another logo, you can take one of them or one of the plymouth themes in AUR, edit the file *.plymouth (and maybe *.script, too) and replace this image with one of your choice. You should create a package from your newly created theme, because changes in /usr/share/plymouth may not be persistent across package upgrades.

After installing and selecting your theme, you should rebuild the initrd image to use the new splash.

See also