A note on Fedora Core 10's graphical bootloader Plymouth

Fedora Core 10 comes with a graphical bootloader called Plymouth, which for me, is little but eye candy. It slows down the boot sequence and can even freeze the system during a bootup — something I've experienced on my Pavilion laptop. So, if you are planning to check out Plymouth, I suggest you read this note first. It describes a simple way to make sure you can easily recover your system if it freezes.

In order to use Plymouth, you are required to add a command at the end of the relevant kernel entry in /etc/grub.conf. As an example, my grub.conf is shown below with the addition in bold.

[root@krypton vivek]# cat /etc/grub.conf
# grub.conf generated by anaconda
#
# Note that you do not have to rerun grub after making changes to this file
# NOTICE:  You have a /boot partition.  This means that
#          all kernel and initrd paths are relative to /boot/, eg.
#          root (hd0,1)
#          kernel /vmlinuz-version ro root=/dev/VolGroup00/LogVol00
#          initrd /initrd-version.img
#boot=/dev/sda
default=0
timeout=1000
splashimage=(hd0,1)/grub/splash.xpm.gz
hiddenmenu
title Fedora (2.6.27.7-134.fc10.i686)
    root (hd0,1)
    kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.27.7-134.fc10.i686 ro root=/dev/VolGroup00/LogVol00 rhgb quiet vga=argument
    initrd /initrd-2.6.27.7-134.fc10.i686.img 
title Fedora (2.6.27.5-117.fc10.i686)
    root (hd0,1)
    kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.27.5-117.fc10.i686 ro root=UUID=691e1b56-baaf-4dd1-adbb-a215b06b2ccd rhgb quiet 
    initrd /initrd-2.6.27.5-117.fc10.i686.img
title Windows XP
    rootnoverify (hd0,0)
    chainloader +1
[root@krypton vivek]#

The added command is

vga=argument

The links given at the bottom of this page describe the possible options you have for this argument, basically a display mode indicating the desired resolution (please note that Plymouth loads AFTER grub, it is not exactly a bootloader in the strict sense).

I suggest that if you are curious to use Plymouth, you add the following line to grub.conf:

vga = ask

This ensures that when you choose to boot into Fedora 10, you are first asked which display mode you want to use for Plymouth. At this point, you can select a wide variety of display modes (including a no Plymouth mode) and check out out which of them works for you. Then you can add the appropriate hex code instead of 'ask', to /etc/grub.conf. As always, make a copy of grub.conf prior to editing it in the first place.

http://docs.fedoraproject.org/release-notes/f10/en_US/What_is_New_for_Installation_and_Live_Images.html#sn-Plymouth

http://www.mjmwired.net/kernel/Documentation/fb/vesafb.txt

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