One of the first thing hobbyists (or pros as the case may be) want to do when they install a brand new OS is – change the associated graphics to personalize their installation to suit their needs/taste. In this tutorial we will see how to create and change boot menu splash screen for Porteus.
We will split this tutorial in two parts for the ease of understanding for maximum readers. In part 1, we will see how to create a splash screen, and in part 2 we will see how to change the splash screen to the new one.
1. How to create a splash screen for Porteus
The splash screen for Porteus is the standard splash screen for the boot loader *1* in use. So, whether you use Syslinux, LILO, or GRUB etc the splash screen for Porteus remains the same as the one used by the boot loader.
In most simple words, the splash screen is a VGA resolution (640 pixels wide, 480 pixels tall) image. The file format used by default is PNG, but it can be in a more popular JPEG format as well. Image color depth is theoretically limited to 14 colors, but in practice I have used full color photographs and they have worked flawlessly. To create a splash image for Porteus you need to keep in mind the above three criteria.
To create an image conforming to the above you need to use a graphics tool such as ImageMagic, IrfanView, ACDsee, mtPaint, Photoshop, GIMP. Basically any graphics editor that allows resizing and saving to PNG and/or JPEG format will do.
To create a splash image, open your desired image in your favorite editor and resize *2* it to 640x480 pixels and save it in PNG *3* or JPEG format.
If you don’t understand much of above, just open the image you want to set as splash image in your favorite editor and resize it to 640x480 pixels. Save the image as PNG or JPEG format.
2. How to change the splash screen for Porteus
Method 1: If you saved your splash image to PNG format, rename your image to “porteus.png”. Now find the file named “porteus.png” on your boot media and replace *4* it with your image.
Method 2: Method 1 will overwrite the original splash image. If you would rather retain it in case you want to revert back to this image, you can either rename the original “porteus.png” to something like “porteus.png.org” and rename your image to “porteus.png” and place it in the same folder.
Method 3: If you saved your splash image to other than PNG format, you need to place your image in the folder containing the “porteus.png” and edit *5* your configuration file (usually “porteus.cfg”). Open the configuration file and change the MENU BACKGROUND line to reflect the name of your image file. Exact line to modify in your configuration file will depend on the boot loader you use.
Method 4: If you saved your splash image to other than PNG format, or you would like to keep more than one splash images on your boot media to use with different configuration files, or to change them frequently, follow the above method 3. Drop the image file in appropriate folder and edit the configuration file to use your image file rather than included “porteus.png”.
Done! Now you are ready to boot. If you did everything right you will see your new splash image!
3. A special note on aspect ratio
Due to the timeline of writing the boot loaders, and to retain maximum compatibility with various display devices, the resolution of the splash screen has been fixed at 640x480 pixels. While this resolution offers maximum compatibility, it also causes unpleasant side effects.
- If the size of attempted splash image is larger than the specified size, the boot loader completely ignores it.
- If the size of attempted splash image is smaller on one side, the boot loader tiles it on the smaller side.
- If the size of attempted splash image is smaller overall or is correct size, it stretches it to ‘fit the screen’.
640x480 is a 4:3 (1.333) screen ratio, the gold standard from 2 decades ago. But most displays these days have other aspect ratio, most common being 16:9. When the 640x480 splash image is “stretched to fit” a 16:9 screen, it distorts the visual (Things look fat. Lovely skinny ladies look like fat cows).
To prevent your final splash image from looking distorted start with an image that perfectly matches the aspect ratio of your screen. For example: if your screen is 16:9, start with an image of size 1366x768 or 1600x900 or 1920x1080 and resize it to 640x480. Similarly, if your screen is 16:10, start with an image of size 1440x900, 1600x1000 and resize it to 640x480.
Here is a sample image formatted for a 16:10 aspect ratio screen.
*1*. If you don’t understand what a boot loader is, there is nothing to worry. In order to create a splash screen you don’t need to understand it.
*2*. Some graphics editors have an aspect-ratio lock in place by default. Chances are most that you will need to disengage that lock in order to re-size the image perfectly to required dimension. If not, only one side of the resultant image may conform to the size requirement (640x480).
*3*. Most graphics editors save to JPEG format by default. Changing it to PNG may be beneficial in most cases, as PNG image are often relatively free of compression artifacts (compared to their similar sized JPEG counterparts).
*4*. To replace the file you need to be root.
*5*. To edit the file you need to be root.