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Splashy: boot splashing Linux the right way

(Sorry for the x-posting, but, this is a one time announcement)

Hello all,

Almost a year ago we decided to do a boot splashing system for Linux desktops that would be simple, expandable and totally in user-space [1]. The system needed to be able to:

1. work without patching the Linux kernel
2. be flexible and allow people to set themes and configuration options
3. be as easy to install

Many attempts have been made over the years to solve this problem. None have been able to meet these requirements. So, we decided to start what was then called 'usplash', using Ubuntu's usplash specifications as a guide line. This was met by some controversy from the Ubuntu community.

The generic name "usplash" was already planned for the Ubuntu debian-based distribution, so, after some friendly discussions, we all agreed to change the name of the project to "splashy" and use usplash as a virtual package (or specification) so that we can say that splashy "provides usplash".

Splashy started as a C++ program originally written by Vicenzo Ampolo. At the very early stage of development, we went through a major transitional phase in which Otavio Salvador, myself and others decided to re-write the source code in C to cut down dependancy and improve the overall performance. Some members had reasons to keep the C++ version around or were simply dissatisfied with the code re-write and decided to form yet another usplash project of their own: uPower.

Along the way we met a series of developers in our #splashy channel at irc.freenode.net. Some suggested using other libraries to do the painting of the splashing image onto the framebuffer. We eventually settle on directfb [2], as this offered the most complete set of features possible. This in turn caused some developers to use bogl to create yet other projects, the most notably of which are now blotch and Ubuntu's own usplash!

As if there wasn't enough confusion already. However, this is what Linux is all about: choices.

We have closed many bugs from our bug tracking system (see references at the bottom of this message); as well as implement almost all the feature requests we got from the community. It has been an arduous job, but I believe we have pull it off!

We are glad to announce that splashy [2] has reach a major milestone in the development cycle. We will be soon releasing the version 0.1.6. With packages already in Debian experimental and soon to move to Sid; we hope to eventually work splashy into Debian's next stable release Etch.

Splashy also includes a set of nice themes, provided to us by the master peguin artist who love making their desktop kickass!

If you want to test splashy now, you can do so from:

# edit /etc/apt/sources.list
deb http://splashy.alioth.debian.org/debian unstable main

# then do:
apt-get update
apt-get install splashy splashy-themes

# lastest package is 0.1.5svn11

# if you have grub installed, then you would simply pick the (splashy) kernel from the menu and
# reboot. Others will make sure that they pass at least "quiet vga=0x317" (1024x768 resolution)
# or so to their kernel as arguments  for Lilo/Quik this is done in the append= line.
# All video cards should support VGA. See /usr/share/doc/splashy/README
# for other resolutions.

These packages are compiled on Sarge, so, they would work fine on Ubuntu, Debian Sid, Xandros, and all other Sarge-based distributions. In fact, since splashy is compiled statically, these packages should work fine for all Linux distributions.


[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-desktop/2004/11/msg00006.html
[2] http://splashy.alioth.debian.org

Luis Mondesi
System Administrator

"We think basically you watch television to turn your brain off, and you work on your computer when you want to turn your brain on" -- Steve Jobs in an interview for MacWorld Magazine 2004-Feb

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