ISS Sunrise – an animated plymouth theme for KDE Plasma

With most Linux distributions now days you can modify the “boot” screen. This is where you usually see a customized logo for your version of Linux and a little spinning thing to indicate the computer is doing something in the background while you wait for the login screen to enter your password.

The instructions below will assist you to change that boot up screen with an animated Earth sunrise from space using actual NASA images from the International Space Station.

This is a plymouth theme called iss-sunrise modified from another theme called space-sunrise. Gradually a sun rises with the KDE logo on it, and Earth lights up to a second ISS image. It’s quite spectacular. We assume in this tutorial you already have plymouth installed on your system. If not, time to check that out.

  1. Download the iss-sunrise.tar.gz by clicking the link in this sentence. Once you have the file downloaded extract the contents. It will create a directory called iss-sunrise.
  2. Copy this directory and it’s contents (in Ubuntu/Kubuntu) with this command:
    sudo cp -r ./iss-sunrise /usr/share/plymouth/themes
  3. You can skip this step for later if you just want to see what it looks like, but soon you will want to modify the file distro_name.png with something you like. The one included has my name on it. I used the GIMP to create it.
  4. Add the iss-sunrise theme to the Plymouth ‘alternatives’. This is a long line. Make sure you copy the whole thing, then paste it into a terminal.
    sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/share/plymouth/themes/default.plymouth default.plymouth /usr/share/plymouth/themes/iss-sunrise/iss-sunrise.plymouth 50
  5. Set the iss-sunrise theme as the default.
    sudo update-alternatives --config default.plymouth
    
    There are 3 choices for the alternative default.plymouth
    (providing /lib/plymouth/themes/default.plymouth).
    
      Selection    Path                                                       Priority   Status
    ------------------------------------------------------------
      0            /lib/plymouth/themes/kubuntu-logo/kubuntu-logo.plymouth     150       auto mode
      1            /lib/plymouth/themes/iss-sunrise/iss-sunrise.plymouth   50        manual mode
      2            /lib/plymouth/themes/kubuntu-logo/kubuntu-logo.plymouth     150       manual mode
    * 3            /lib/plymouth/themes/my-plymouth/my-plymouth.plymouth       50        manual mode
    
    Press enter to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number: 1
    update-alternatives: using /usr/share/plymouth/themes/iss-sunrise/iss-sunrise.plymouth to provide /usr/share/plymouth/themes/default.plymouth (default.plymouth) in manual mode.
  6. Update the initramfs
    sudo update-initramfs -u
    
  7. Reboot!

Author: Wayne Boyd

Wayne Edward Boyd was born in Morristown, New Jersey in 1953. He is a published author, former ISKCON sannyasi, and traveler, having lived on 3 continents and visited 37 countries. He presently lives in Amarillo, Texas working as a correctional officer and has interests in photography, political science and astronomy.

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