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Plymouth presents a graphic animation (also known as a bootsplash) while the system boots. It provides eye-candy and a more professional presentation for scenarios where the default high-information text output might be undesirable. It also handles boot prompts, such as entering disk encryption passwords.


Before installing, check that the driver you're using for your card supports kernel modesetting (KMS) which is required for Plymouth to function:


# indicates a command must be run as root. Omit if signed in as root, otherwise replace with sudo.

To install Plymouth and its base set of themes, run:

# apt install plymouth plymouth-themes

If using Debian with KDE Plasma in Buster or newer, you may also want to install the KDE Breeze Plymouth theme and an easy integrated configuration module for Plymouth with:

# apt install plymouth-theme-breeze kde-config-plymouth

If you run into any issues trying to set the theme, or if it doesn't appear, you may need to install the proprietary GPU firmware. This is especially likely on AMD cards. Enable the contrib and non-free sections in your SourcesList file and run:

# apt install firmware-linux

Enabling KMS (NVIDIA Proprietary)

In Debian 10/Buster, modesetting is enabled by default for NVIDIA graphics cards using the proprietary driver if they're from the GeForce 8 series or newer. These instructions can probably be skipped unless you're using an older version of Debian, or an older graphics card.

To manually force-enable modesetting on the proprietary NVIDIA driver, you must add an additional kernel parameter. The easiest way to do this is to open /etc/default/grub in your text editor of choice. This file requires administrative permissions to edit, so you can may launch your text editor as root using sudo, run it while logged in as root, or use a text editor that supports PolKit such as Kate/KWrite which can edit the file without special permissions.

Within the quotes on the line that starts with GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT, add the option nvidia-drm.modeset=1. The final line may look similar to:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash nvidia-drm.modeset=1"

Afterwards, apply the change by running:

# update-grub2

After which, rebooting will load the driver with proper modesetting.

WARNING: With some versions of the NVIDIA driver prior to Debian 11/Bullseye, there may be a bug that can cause a blank screen on some DisplayPort-connected monitors whenever logging in to GNOME while modesetting is enabled.


Please edit the file /etc/default/grub and change the resolution. To do that, search for the line #GRUB_GFXMODE=640x480 and remove the # at the start to uncomment it. You can then set it to match the resolution of your monitor.

For example, on a standard 1080p screen:


You can also write the color depth:


If your GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT does not contain a splash option, add it like so:


Take care to not remove or modify the modesetting line for the NVIDIA proprietary driver if you had previously added it.

Finally, apply the change by running:

# update-grub2


If you're using KDE Plasma and have installed the kde-config-plymouth package, terminal commands are not necessary to view and set your Plymouth theme. The "Boot Splash Screen" panel in your system settings will allow you to do the same. In this case, the "Breeze" theme is also recommended for aesthetic consistency.

Otherwise, to display all installed themes, run:

# plymouth-set-default-theme -l

The default output will be:

# plymouth-set-default-theme -l

Then, to set your desired theme run:

# plymouth-set-default-theme -R THEME

Where THEME refers to one of the listed values from the executed command.


If you still are having issues after installing the proprietary firmware and otherwise verifying that there's nothing that should be preventing Plymouth from functioning correctly, it's likely there is an issue with the kernel modesetting.

You can follow the instructions for enabling modesetting in the NVIDIA Proprietary driver but change the option to forcibly enable it in other drivers.

For Nouveau, the option is nouveau.modeset=1.

For AMD, the option is radeon.modeset=1 when using the radeon driver and amdgpu.modeset=1 when using the amdgpu driver.

If issues are experienced on Intel, you are recommended to remove the xserver-xorg-video-intel package entirely and use the internal modesetting driver for display. Otherwise, if you require the package, you might add the i915.modeset=1 option.

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