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SDB:Animated penguin GRUB splash screen

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This HOWTO is about changing frequency of substitution of the default GRUB splash screen with an animated splash screen that has a couple of penguins moving around.


  • Root access to the machine
  • Text editor
  • Shell/Terminal access
  • openSUSE theme for Gfxboot (installed by default)


The short way

  • In a terminal
su -
and enter the root password.
  • Change the frequency of the splash screen appearance by running
gfxboot --change-config penguin=100

Whereby you can change 100 to any number from -1 to 100.

Value Meanings
-1 Date dependent, use this for e.g. Christmas surprise.
0 Penguins never show
100 Penguins always show
1-99 Probability (% of the time)

The long way

  • Create a temporary new directory in your home folder. (You can create it anywhere, but for simplicity, I will say the path as the home folder and the directory name as new).
  • Now copy the file message from the /boot folder in this directory using the command
cp /boot/message new
  • Now change into the new directory
cd new
  • Extract the files from the archive message using the command
cpio -i < message
  • Now minimize the terminal and open the directory new that you created. Edit the file gfxboot.cfg using your favorite text editor.
  • The file will contain a line penguin=-1 or similar, depending on openSUSE version. This number (variable from -1 to 100) is the probability of the penguin splash screen being shown. The meaning of the values are the same as the table above.
  • Change the number to desirable value (e.g. if you like penguins and want to see them always write 'penguin=100'). Save the file.
  • Coming back to the proceedings, delete the message file in the directory new by running
rm message
in the terminal.
  • Now recompress the archive
ls . | cpio -o > message’
  • Now the last step, enter the command
su -
cp message /boot

Enter your root password if required and you are done. Next time you boot up, you will be greeted by the penguins depending on the probability set.