FreeBSD  Release  11.0  Install  Guide


Boot time Splash screen

There are 2 basic environments available in FBSD. The first is the default legacy UNIX virtual console text command line environment that has 8 virtual consoles controlled by the F1 - F8 keyboard keys. When you boot the system you arrive at the F1 virtual console text login prompt. The second environment is the X11 Desktop graphical environment.

During the boot process, first the boot loader messages are displayed pausing at the boot options menu. After the pause expires or an option is selected FBSD goes through a process of probing the motherboard hardware and devices displaying messages describing what it found and recognized. These messages really only have value for debugging FBSD installation problems.

FreeBSD has a feature to allow the display of a "splash screen" in place of seeing these boot messages rolling by. This makes for a clearer visually experience getting to the legacy UNIX virtual console text login prompt and/or the X-Display Manager graphical login screen.

After a user installs X11.
Handbook x11 Install Instructions

And one of the graphical desktop managers, gnome, kde, or Xfce
Handbook xdn Install Instructions

They can launch the X11 desktop from the command line by using the startx command. Some X11 users may select NOT to stop at the virtual console login prompt at boot time, but go directly to the X11 desktop display manager's graphical login screen. They could use the display manager of Xorg called xdm, or the display manager of gnome called gdm or the display manager of kde called kdm or one of the other display managers provided in the ports system. These display managers basically provides a graphical login screen in place of the default legacy UNIX virtual console login prompt and after successful login puts the user in their graphical windowed desktop.

In the virtual console command line environment the splash screen would hide all the boot probe messages and task startup messages before displaying the login prompt.

In X11 environments the users would get a visually clearer system start up experience resembling something closer to what a (Microsoft Windows or non-unix type system) user would experience.

Splash Screen Function

The "splash screen" function only supports 256 color bitmap (*.bmp) or ZSoft PCX (*.pcx) files. In addition, the splash image files must have a resolution of 320x200 or less to work because that is the default video support FreeBSD provides. Your 320x200 "splash screen" image will be displayed as a small block in the center of a solid white background screen.

If you want support for larger video resolutions up to the max of your video card you have to add VESA support by loading the VESA module during system boot. VESA support gives you the ability to display a "splash screen" image that fills the whole display screen.

While the "splash screen" is being displayed during the booting process you can hit any keyboard key to return to the boot message display.

The "splash screen" defaults to becoming your screen saver. After a time period of non-use your screen will change to the "splash screen" and cycles through steps of changing intensity of the image, from bright intensity to a very dark intensity and over again. You can override this default "splash screen" (screen saver) behavior by adding the saver= option (screen saver) statement in /etc/rc.conf. The saver= option has several built-in screen savers to choose from. Such as saver="warp". This default "splash screen" screen saver and /etc/rc.conf, saver= option screen saver only applies to virtual consoles. It has no effect on X11 desktop display managers.

At boot time with the "splash screen" enabled you still see a few boot loader messages leading up to and including the boot options menu and the timed wait count down prompt before the "splash screen" is displayed.

Enabling the Splash Screen Function

Your "splash screen" (*.bmp) or (*.pcx) file has to be placed in the /boot directory.

For default boot display resolution (256 color, 320x200 or less);

Edit /boot/loader.conf so it contains the following:

bitmap_load ="YES"
bitmap_name ="/boot/splash.bmp"

For larger video resolutions up to the max of your video card;

Edit /boot/loader.conf so it contains the following:

vesa_load ="YES"
splash_bmp_load ="YES"
bitmap_load ="YES"
bitmap_name ="/boot/splash.bmp"

The above assumes you are using splash.bmp as the file name for your splash screen. If you would rather use a PCX file, use these statements plus the vesa_load="YES" statement depending on the resolution.

splash_pcx_load ="YES"
bitmap_load ="YES"
bitmap_name ="/boot/splash.pcx"

You are not restricted to using "splash" as the file name. You can name it anything you want as long as it's a .bmp or .pcx file type. Such as splash_640x400.bmp or blue.wave.bmp.

Sample Splash Screen

Download your own copy of this splash screen

There are 2 another loader.conf options you may be interested in.

beastie_disable ="YES"

Will stop the boot options menu from being displayed.
You will still get the timed wait count down prompt.
Even with the display of the boot options menu disabled, entering an 1-6 option selection at the timed wait count down prompt will enact that boot option.

Loader_logo ="beastie"

This will replace the default words "FREE BDS" which are displayed to the right of the boot options menu with the colored beastie logo like releases in the past had.

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