How to Customize Ubuntu Splash and Login Screen

Posted by jun auza On 7/14/2012
Ubuntu, which is perhaps the best Linux distribution around, has won over many Windows and Mac users thanks to its amazing repertoire of features and applications. Not only does Ubuntu excel in speed, stability and features, it also has an ability to attract new users thanks to its amazing artwork. Beautiful fonts, gorgeous wallpapers, and some eye-catching themes give Ubuntu its distinct identity.

And though the custom look and feel of the Canonical-sponsored OS wows many naysayers, it still fails to charm the tweakers / customizers among us. Don’t worry if you belong to the latter category though, as Ubuntu, unlike Mac OS X, allows its users to customize their distro to any extent. Though a complete customization will take a lot of time, you can simply customize the boot splash screen and the login screen to get a dramatic change in your GUI. So, if you’re looking for ways to customize your distro, here is a quick guide on how to customize your Ubuntu boot splash and login screen.


Changing the Ubuntu boot splash:

To change the boot splash screen, you’ll first have to install Plymouth Manager. Simply open your terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and paste or type in the following commands:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:mefrio-g/plymouthmanager
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install plymouth-manager

This will install just the splash screen manager; however, to install the themes, you’ll have to type in the following command:

sudo apt-get install plymouth-theme*

Now, simply open the Plymouth Manager by looking for it using the launcher and choose your favorite boot up screen.



Changing the Ubuntu login Screen:

Changing the login screen is as easy as changing your wallpaper, as Ubuntu 12.04 changes the image on the login screen once you change your wallpaper. That said, you might want to try out something new, and in that case, Mint Display Manager or MDM comes in handy. Firstly, install MDM by typing in or pasting the following commands in the Linux terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mdm mint-mdm-themes

During installation, choose MDM instead of lightDM and your login screen will be replaced by a gorgeous Mint-style login screen. Though Mint’s login screen doesn't blend that well with Ubuntu, it does, however, prove to be one of the best choices if you want to give your desktop a brand new look.


KDM, KDE’s default login screen manager isn't that bad either. It has a chic, elegant, and glossy look, which will definitely appeal to many users. To install it, you’ll have to install the KDE desktop first that can be done by entering the following command:

sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

Then, once KDE is installed, switch to KDM using the following command:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure gdm

This will open up an ncurses menu allowing you to switch between GDM and KDM. You can then customize your KDE login screen by going to the settings menu in your KDE desktop.


Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.

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