How to Install Animated Plymouth in Arch Linux

A tutorial on how you can install animated Plymouth during boot process in Arch Linux.

What is Plymouth

Plymouth is an application that provides the ability to show a graphical boot animation during the system boot process. For example, if you are familiar with Ubuntu or Linux Mint Plymouth – this is something you see in general during boot process:

The primary idea is to remove flicker or wall of scrolling texts during boot process in Linux using a nice graphical animation. This helps users in general to wait until the login screen appears while the system is booting up. This program has a fallback text mode when it fails to load the graphical animation.

How to Install Plymouth in Arch Linux

If you install Arch Linux from scratch, and load up with some desktops such as GNOME and KDE – none of them provides the Plymouth. Because it is a stand-alone program and bare-metal Arch installation doesn’t package it. In Fedora, Ubuntu and other Linux distributions – you get the animated boot screen because the respective distributions package it in their .ISO.

That said, you can still manually install in Arch Linux. Here’s how.

The plymouth package is in Arch User Repository (AUR) which you can install it using yay. So, first configure and setup yay using this guide (if you do not have it).

Then open a terminal session in your Arch Linux and run the below command.

yay -S plymouth
Install Plymouth in Arch Linux using yay

This will install plymouth package. Now it is time for configuration and integration with your Arch Install.

Configure Kernel Parameter and Grub

We need to add plymouth to the initial RAM disk environment as hooks. So that, before init starts, the plymouth is all set to show. To do that, open the mkinitcpio.conf and add the plymouth at the end of the HOOKS parameter.

sudo nano /etc/mkinitcpio.conf
Add HOOKS to plymouth in mkinitcpio

If you are using the nano editor, add the line as shown above and hit CTRL+O and CTRL+X for save and exit.

Once the above file is updated, run the below command to prepare for initial copy in/out.

sudo mkinitcpio -p linux

The next step would be to tell Kernel to have the boot process quiet (not too many messages) and show the splash screen that would feature the plymouth logo/animation. To do that, you have to change the GRUB configuration. Open the grub.conf via any text editor and append the quiet splash under parameter GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT.

sudo nano /etc/default/grub
Configure GRUB for plymouth splash screen

Once the above file is updated, generate grub using the below command.

sudo grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

Once this is complete, it’s time to set a nice Plymouth boot screen.

Configure Plymouth

The package installs several Plymouth themes. You can list them via below command.

plymouth-set-default-theme -l

And to set a theme, you have to use the command below.

sudo plymouth-set-default-theme -R <themename>

For example, if you want to set bgrt theme, you should use below.

sudo plymouth-set-default-theme -R bgrt
List and set Plymouth in Arch Linux

Now, once that is set, you have to change the display manager. First, find out what display manager you are using (for systemd systems) using the below command.

systemctl status display-manager

For example, this below screen shows, my system is using lightdm.

Find which display manager you are using in Arch Linux

To change the display manager, run the below command to set the plymouth display manager.

systemctl disable lightdm
systemctl enable lightdm-plymouth
Set the proper display manager for plymouth

For other display managers such as gdm, sddm – the command should be same.

So, that’s about it. Restart your system to see the new boot screen.

If you want to change the theme, you can run the only change command above and reboot.
Sample animation in test system

I hope this guide give you some ideas on how to set the plymouth animation in Arch Linux. Let me know in the comment box below if you need assistance.