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#1 2020-05-07 23:49:51

Registered: 2020-05-07
Posts: 1  

Request for review and testing: Plymouth boot splash for Beowulf

Hi folks,

I'm a long time Debian derivatives user/abuser/sysadmin since about 2002 and have been using Devuan on my Lenovo X230 Thinkpad as my main OS since ASCII. No surprises that I'm not a fan of systemd and I am a big supporter of init freedom of choice.

I decided to have a go a de-systemd-ing the Plymouth boot splash package as I was missing the shiny on my notebook. I am not a developer by any means, merely an amateur hacker and tinkerer.

I've patched the Plymouth package sources fetched from the Devuan repos and pushed them to the Devuan gitlab server here: … no-systemd

If you're interested, I'd appreciate some feedback and testing. BE WARNED! Trying this might break your boot process so unless you are confident in rescuing your system, you should probably avoid it.

To build the packages required; clone the repo; change into the plymouth-0.9.4 directory; checkout the devuan/no-systemd branch; dpkg-checkbuilddeps and install any missing build dependencies then dpkg-buildpackage. The built packages should be in the directory above the plymouth-0.9.4 one.

Before install, change /etc/initramfs-tools/modules to include your KMS graphics driver. For example, my Thinkpad needs i915 modeset=1

You can install the pacakges using dpkg -i and you'll need the following:


(I believe the plymouth-x11 package is only required if you are using Xorg X11 - I'm using gnome3/gdm3 + wayland so don't require it)

To change the boot splash image / animation, use sudo plymouth-set-default-theme -l and sudo plymouth-set-default-theme -R <theme-name>. You could also update all your initramfs images to have a splash using sudo update-initramfs -u -k all. The last change you'll need to make so that plymouth works as expected is to add the splash kernel switch to either your GRUB kernel command line or if using UEFI boot with EFISTUB kernel, to your UEFI boot entry using efibootmgr

On my Thinkpad, I am using UEFI mode boot with EFISTUB kernel and fully encrypted LVM root filesystem (I have an unencrypted FAT32 EFI partition, one large encrypted LVM partition which has /, /boot and swap on it plus another encrypted partition using zfs for my /home.

It also works using the rEFInd bootloader which chain-loads the devuan kernel and initrd.

I have not tested this using legacy BIOS mode boot or GRUB nor with an unencrypted root filesystem or with combinations of unencrypted+encrypted volumes e.g. BIOS mode boot + GRUB + unencrypted /boot + encrypted /.

With my setup, the password prompt for the encrypted LVM appears in a beautified password box early in the boot process on the plymouth boot-splash screen - this is without the /bin/systemd-tty-ask-password-agent binary - I am unsure as to the significance of this - any advice gladly received.

Obviously, if you are running UEFI boot with EFISTUB kernel, you'll already know that you need a couple of custom scripts in /etc/kernel/posinst.d/ and in /etc/initramfs/post-update.d/ to ensure the newly created vmlinuz kernel and initrd initramfs files are copied to the respective location in your EFI partition.

Let me know how you get on. Hopefully this will result in plymouth being removed from the devuan blacklist and possibly included in a Beowulf beta?!

Best wishes,


Last edited by JoeThunder (2020-05-08 03:58:36)


#2 2020-05-23 11:48:58

Registered: 2019-04-17
Posts: 20  

Re: Request for review and testing: Plymouth boot splash for Beowulf

Why has no one commented. Are there any prebuilt Deb packages available? Sorry my skills aren't up to that, if they are or become available I would happily give it a whirl on a test install and provide feedback. I run a bios boot from grub on unencrypted drives.

Last edited by Tobyb1906 (2020-05-23 11:51:11)


#3 2020-05-24 19:46:53

Registered: 2018-02-04
Posts: 172  

Re: Request for review and testing: Plymouth boot splash for Beowulf

I hacked plymouth once for removing systemd. You appear to have a better understanding on plymouth than me. The only difference of substance I found from mine ( … uth/debian) is the udev rule inclusion in the initramfs-tools hook file.

Oh, and the listed dependency on elogind. I guess if a person is willing to use plymouth, they'll be fine with elogind. I'm not sure it's actually required though. If you remove the --with-systemd flag, it won't even be looking for an [elogind] mechanism to use, right?

I think Devuan tends to attract folks who don't mind seeing the boot process though. I only de-systemdified plymouth for a total conversion attempt I was doing.

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