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Plymouth is a bootsplash used to show splash screens during system boot and shutdown.

Plymouth provides flicker-free animated boot splashes with support for progress bars, solar flares, and other nifty things. In addition to OpenRC, it has full systemd support.



Specific kernel options must be altered in order to get Plymouth working properly. Use the genkernel --menuconfig all command (or equivalent) in order to modify the kernel configuration. If you use a distribution kernel, you can continue to installing Plymouth.

It is highly advised to disable the Linux bootup logo. On some systems having the bootup logo displayed seems to cause problems.

KERNEL This example shows the correct way to disable the bootup logo:
Device Drivers --->
   Graphics Support --->
      [ ] Bootup logo  --->
Be sure to enable kernel modesetting (KMS) for the system's respective graphics card.

KMS for Intel cards

KERNEL Intel onboard GPUs set to use modesetting:
Device Drivers --->
   Graphics Support --->
      <*> Direct Rendering Manager (XFree86 4.1.0 and higher DRI support)  --->
         <*>   Intel 8xx/9xx/G3x/G4x/HD Graphics
         [*]     Enable modesetting on intel by default
If this is the user's first time modifying settings for on-board Intel GPUs the Intel article should be referenced for additional configuration.

KMS for Nvidia cards (Nouveau drivers)

KERNEL NVIDIAGPU set to use Nouveau:
Device Drivers  --->
    Graphics support  --->
        <*> Direct Rendering Manager (XFree86 4.1.0 and higher DRI support) --->
            <*> Nouveau (nVidia) cards
If this is the user's first time changing settings for the NVIDIA graphics card using the nouveau driver be sure to reference the nouveau article for additional information.

KMS for Nvidia cards (official drivers)

To use the official Nvidia drivers see the wiki's official Nvidia-drivers article.

So far the results of using official Nvidia-drivers are untested with Plymouth.

KMS for Radeon cards

KERNEL Radeon GPU set to use modesetting:
Device Drivers --->
   [*] Staging drivers  --->
      [*]     Enable modesetting on radeon by default
If this is the user's first time setting up a Radeon graphics card be sure to reference the radeon article for further information.

USE flags

USE flags for sys-boot/plymouth Graphical boot animation (splash) and logger

debug Enable extra debug codepaths, like asserts and extra output. If you want to get meaningful backtraces see
drm Provides abstraction to the DRM drivers (intel, nouveau and vmwgfx at this moment)
gtk Add support for x11-libs/gtk+ (The GIMP Toolkit)
pango Adds support for printing text on splash screen and text prompts, e.g. for password
selinux !!internal use only!! Security Enhanced Linux support, this must be set by the selinux profile or breakage will occur
split-usr Enable this if /bin and /usr/bin are separate directories
static-libs Build static versions of dynamic libraries as well
udev Enable virtual/udev integration (device discovery, power and storage device support, etc)


The sys-boot/plymouth package can be installed by running:

root #emerge --ask sys-boot/plymouth


/etc/plymouth/plymouthd.conf - the sole configuration file for Plymouth. It can be left untouched. Selecting theme is described in further section.

Building Initramfs

Bootsplashes are loaded by initramfs so they need to be included in it.

There are currently two initramfs generators that support Plymouth. Either one will produce essentially the same result. Determining which to use, is entirely the choice of the user. This article does not go into detail on troubleshooting failed results. So, choosing the more comfortable initramfs would be a wise choice. Using genkernel is recommended, since many users are already familiar with using genkernel.

genkernel recently add the ability to create an initramfs with a Plymouth theme included. Therefore, in order to proceed, either dracut or sys-kernel/genkernel will need to be selected, in order to build an initramfs capable of including a Plymouth theme.


Continue by enabling the plymouth USE flag in /etc/portage/package.use in order for Portage to emerge genkernel:

root #emerge --ask sys-kernel/genkernel-next

Use a text editor of choice to enable Plymouth and the Plymouth theme in genkernel configuration file:

FILE /etc/genkernel.confConfiguring Genkernel for Plymouth
# Enable splashutils in early space (initrd). Default is "no".
# SPLASH="no"

# Installs (or not if set to "no") Plymouth into the initramfs. If "splash" will be
# passed to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT at boot Plymouth will be activated.

# Embeds the given Plymouth theme into the initramfs.
The SPLASH variable listed in the file above should be set to "no". The SPLASH variable configures an option for the fbsplash bootsplash loader (media-gfx/splashutils) NOT Plymouth.
FILE /lib/udev/rules.d/71-seat.rulesConfiguring Genkernel for Plymouth - udev required
ACTION=="remove", GOTO="seat_end"

TAG=="uaccess", SUBSYSTEM!="sound", TAG+="seat"
SUBSYSTEM=="sound", KERNEL=="card*", TAG+="seat"
SUBSYSTEM=="input", KERNEL=="input*", TAG+="seat"
SUBSYSTEM=="graphics", KERNEL=="fb[0-9]*", TAG+="seat", TAG+="master-of-seat"
SUBSYSTEM=="drm", KERNEL=="card[0-9]*", TAG+="seat", TAG+="master-of-seat"
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{bDeviceClass}=="09", TAG+="seat"

Then use genkernel-next to generate the initramfs (note that Plymouth requires udev):

root #genkernel --udev initramfs

When using genkernel, skip the Dracut section, that immediately follows this section.

Initramfs Generators


Dracut (sys-kernel/dracut) is an alternative initramfs generator created by the Fedora development team. Fun fact: Plymouth and Dracut are both cities in Massachusetts. Though this is speculation, the creators of these programs might have taken this into consideration.

Dracut should enable Plymouth automatically if it is installed. See the Dracut installation instructions.

Some themes such as kde-plasma/breeze-plymouth require certain files to be included in the initramfs such as label plugins and fonts. These currently have to be added manually using install_items[1]. See this section on the Dracut page for customizing the image, and the example mkinitcpio hook for which files to add.[2]

Manual initramfs creation

When creating a manual initramfs, for example using Custom Initramfs, it is possible to bundle Plymouth.

First, disable udev USE flag for Plymouth (it will not display anything until udev is properly initialized). Otherwise udev will need to be added to the initramfs as well.

root #echo "sys-boot/plymouth -udev" >> /etc/portage/package.use
root #emerge --ask sys-boot/plymouth

Then, populate the initramfs with the plymouth files and theme. While it may be done manually, the better way is utilizing /usr/libexec/plymouth/plymouth-populate-initrd. It will deliver all the binaries, config and themes needed (only the theme that is enabled, so do not forget to re-execute when changing theme).

The script will copy all the files to selected directory.

Add this code snippet to the initramfs generation script, just before the initramfs packing:

FILE /path/to/the/generator.shInitramfs generation script
# populate plymouth if available
if [ -x /usr/libexec/plymouth/plymouth-populate-initrd ]
        /usr/libexec/plymouth/plymouth-populate-initrd -t $INITRAM_DIR

Finally, update the actual init script in initramfs:

FILE /path/to/initExample init file
# Plymouth needs /dev/pts mounted
mount -t devtmpfs none /dev                                                                                                                                                                                      
mkdir /dev/pts                                                                                                                                                                                                   
mount -t devpts /dev/pts /dev/pts
# early in the process start plymouthd and show splash
if [[ -x /usr/sbin/plymouthd -a -x /usr/bin/plymouth ]]
        mkdir -p /run/plymouth
        /usr/sbin/plymouthd --attach-to-session --pid-file /run/plymouth/pid --mode=boot
        /usr/bin/plymouth show-splash

Init systems


Plymouth automatically registers itself with systemd to show splash screens during shutdown and restart. No additional configuration is required.


There is a plugin for Plymouth that extends a single line version of OpenRC's status to the framebuffer. It can be installed via:

root #emerge --ask sys-boot/plymouth-openrc-plugin

No additional configuration for the plugin is necessary, it should be operational next time Plymouth is run. To remove this functionality simply uninstall the plugin.

Additionally, make sure that the RC is non-interactive. Edit the /etc/rc.conf file:

FILE /etc/rc.confRC configuration for Plymouth example



When using GRUB, an update to GRUB's configuration file must be made in order to enable the splash screen during early boot. Append the options quiet splash to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT variable. It may be desirable to adjust the resolution in the GRUB_GFXMODE variable to match the desired resolution for the monitor, and set GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX to "keep" in order to preserve the graphics mode during the entire boot.

This all can be performed by modifying the /etc/default/grub configuration file:

FILE /etc/default/grubConfiguring GRUB for Plymouth


After emerging Plymouth, a number of themes will be pulled in automatically, however more Plymouth themes can be downloaded from the web and installed manually. Extract the downloaded themes to the Plymouth theme directory: /usr/share/plymouth/themes

Make sure each new theme is contained in its own folder (just like the default themes that are installed) or they will not be detected by Plymouth.

Once the themes have been extracted, verify successful extraction by requesting Plymouth generate a list of all available themes. Do this using the plymouth-set-default-theme command:

root #plymouth-set-default-theme --list

To get a preview of the individual themes the following command can be used. Running plymouth from within X can stay on top, preventing the usage of the desktop, hence the killall command after five seconds. It will set a theme, start plymouthd and show the theme, wait five seconds and then kill plymouthd to again allow access to the X session:

root #plymouth-set-default-theme solar; plymouthd; plymouth --show-splash; sleep 5; killall plymouthd

Assuming the solar theme is desired as the system's theme, run:

root #plymouth-set-default-theme solar
The solar theme will be used for the rest of the examples in this article. Simply replace solar anywhere it appears with one of the other themes listed when using the plymouth-set-default-theme command, to set a different theme.

It is possible to create themes for Plymouth. See the Theme creation article for more information.

There is also a Theming guide which provides a detailed introduction into creating themes.


Regenerate the initramfs using the genkernel or dracut command, depending on which generator you've chosen earlier: If dracut is used, execute the dracut command to regenerate it:

root #dracut --force

As long as the configuration has been performed properly, this will pack the selected Plymouth theme into the initramfs.

Finally, regenerate GRUB config to use the initramfs and apply the GRUB graphical settings:

root #grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg
For Plymouth to work as intended, the proper GRUB video modules must also be loaded. Generally the correct video modules are loaded by default on Gentoo, so inserting additional ones is not usually needed. If frame buffer or video problems are being experienced with GRUB, be sure to investigate missing modules as a possible culprit.


According to the README file distributed with Plymouth, boot messages are dumped to /var/log/boot.log after the root filesystem has been mounted read-write.

External resources