Posted by: reformedmusings | May 1, 2010

Corrupt bootsplash fix in Ubuntu Lucid 10.04 LTS

One of the remaining bugs from the Lucid alpha and beta programs concerns the Lucid bootsplash and proprietary video drivers. Apparently, the new Plymouth boot program has timing issues with the proprietary video driver’s load sequence. From forum posts, it looks like both NVidia and Intel drivers are affected. The net result is a blank or corrupt bootsplash screen that’s totally unreadable. There’s no way to know if the system locked up or if it’s checking the health of a hard drive without waiting a long time for the boot to finish. I’ve suffered with this issue all day today once I installed the NVidia drivers. It doesn’t show up with the LiveCD, only once your install or upgrade on the hard drive.

Providentially, there is a known workaround for the problem and has been for at least five weeks. Scott James Remnant provided it in the Launchpad bug report. In the terminal, type these lines (or cut and paste them):

´╗┐sudo su
echo FRAMEBUFFER=y > /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/splash
update-initramfs -u
exit

The sudo su give you root access. The change will not take if you don’t. The exit line takes you out of root mode – a dangerous place to hang out.

As I understand it, the fix forces Lucid to wait for the graphics driver to load. It supposedly introduces a significant delay in the boot sequence, but I didn’t notice any significant delay. The FRAMEBUFFER=y line flashes onto the screen a fraction of a second before the bootsplash appears. Frankly, I’ll take that insignificant delay in order to see the bootsplash and any messages thereon.

I can’t believe that the Lucid team released the OS without fixing this issue. Everyone using proprietary graphics driver will likely be affected. Was less than a second of boot time extension really worth it?

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