Creating Splash Images for a Live USB


At work we need to configure lots of linux boxes. In order to stay sane we have a local instance of openSuse Build Service (OBS). OBS manages the building of all of our projects and the creation of our repository. We then have a series of live USBs that query a kickstart file from a local server which not only tells Annaconda which packages to grab from our local repository to create a functioning system but informs our administration packages that a new system has been created and what keys and packages have been installed.

On a whim I decided to alter the boot splash on the USB to theme it with the rest of our system. I learnt some odd facts about the syslinux splash image.

Disclaimer: this is for GRUB (GRUB Legacy) not GRUB2.

  • The image must be 640×480 (or at least one supported by the framebuffer before KMS)
  • The image is actually a PNG even though it’s extension is JPG.
  • The image is 16-bit colour

To scale your image to 640×480, I use Gimp as I would likely have created the image in Gimp so I may as well resize it while I’m there.

To convert your image extension to jpg from png is trivial enough;

mv image.png image.jpg

To convert your image to 16-bit colour is easy if you have ImageMagick installed (don’t change the file extension here though as ImageMagick will actually convert the format!);

convert -depth 16 -colors 65536 image.png image.png

ImageMagick can resize your image as well but I find that it tends to do an ugly job of it. I recommend sticking to Gimp for that task.

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