Ubuntu – Unable to use a custom splash screen in Ubuntu 16.04LTS


I've downloaded a theme from GNOME-Look and followed the instructions in the readme file. This is not the first time I've tried installing a custom splash screen. It tells me to do something. I followed this tutorial, and at the end, he tells me to run sudo update-initramfs -u, as well as here in this current theme's readme file. Problem tho, is that no matter what I do, I always get this error:

W: plymouth module "(/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/plymouth//.so)" missing, skipping that theme.

Admittedly, I'm not new to Ubuntu, but I'm absolutely no expert. I have no idea what to do now.

I know that plymouth is already the newest version (0.9.2-3ubuntu13.1). when I run sudo apt-get install plymouth
Also, I'm running Ubuntu on VirtualBox, so it isn't using proprietary drivers. Resolution and everything is fine. I don't even know if the
W: plymouth module "(/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/plymouth//.so)" missing, skipping that theme is the cause of the problem, but I'm guessing so. I follow all the steps, it's that at initramfs -u which I get this error and then it returns to the old splash screen.

Best Answer

I also encountered this problem, here's how I fixed it.

The basis of the problem

Put simply, the file layout in Ubuntu 16 changes the location of plymouth themes from /lib/plymouth/themes to /usr/share/plymouth/themes and so all of the theme install scripts that assumed the previous layout now install to the wrong location. Thus, when update-initramfs runs, the source data is not where it's supposed to be which causes this error.

plymouth module "(/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/plymouth//.so)" missing, skipping that theme

and because of that, the theme is not installed. The fallback is the default ubuntu logo theme.

Fixing things

I found it convenient to simply perform things manually, and since you're familiar with Ubuntu, I'll concentrate on describing the approach rather than making it cut-and-paste like.

Partially initialize-correct with apt-get

Run the following command which will not only install a number of new themes into the correct location but also will fix the now incorrect update-alternatives scheme.

apt-get install plymouth-themes

after this runs there will be a new directory structure anchored in /usr/share/plymouth/themes which will have an identical layout to the previous path.

Move old themes

Consider if each theme is worth migrating, there might be duplicates in which case use the already installed ones.

ls -ltrd /lib/plymouth/themes
ls -ltrd /usr/share/plymouth/themes

migrating to the new location is simple; just move the directory as each theme is contained in a directory named after the theme

cd /lib/plymouth/themes
mv <theThemeDirectory> /usr/share/plymouth/themes

Fix old themes

The old themes are self-referential in that the .plymouth theme file contains a reference to the directory that the theme is installed. Change these references to the correct ones (e.g. vi /usr/share/plymouth/themes/orb/orb.plymouth and then replace /lib/plymouth with /usr/share/plymouth).

Update list with update-alternatives

Extending the orb example, use update-alternatives to make the theme list selectable.

update-alternatives --install /usr/share/plymouth/themes/default.plymouth default.plymouth /usr/share/plymouth/themes/orb/orb.plymouth 100

This has the added benefit of leveraging the script update-plymouth that is included with most themes from gnome-look. I'll include the text


echo "Choose the number of the theme you want to use, then [ENTER]"
sudo update-alternatives --config default.plymouth
sudo update-initramfs -u
read -p "Do you want to test the theme? (Y/N) "
if [ "$REPLY" != "n" -a "$REPLY" != "N" ] ; then
 echo "Running 10-second test..."
 sudo plymouthd ; sudo plymouth --show-splash ; for ((I=0; I<10; I++)); do sleep 1 ; sudo plymouth --update=test$I ; done ; sudo plymouth --quit

Running update-plymouth will allow you to select the theme you want, automatically build the new initramfs and let you preview it.

Bonus: use art from deviantart

Armed with this knowledge, we don't blindly have to run an installer, but rather with the understanding that all it takes to install a new theme is

  1. copy a theme directory to /usr/share/plymouth/themes
  2. run update-alternatives as described above
  3. run update-plymouth

That gives us access to larger selection of themes of which I think this sonic theme is the best.

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