The gensplash project cancelled

After some 8 months without a single release of the “stage 2” version of gensplash, the time has come to cancel the project. The probability of ever completing it has been getting lower and lower with every passing week. It was about a month ago that I realized that something has to be done. Struggling with various technical problems with the current, unreleased gensplash code, I decided that it would best to simply cancel the project.

Does it mean that Gentoo will be left without a ‘bootsplash’ solution? One of the reasons it took me a month to come to the final conclusion is that I always wanted to provide an alternative solution. Obviously, being left with fbsplash and splashutils is not an option — without the gensplash project kicking, they will probably soon be abandoned. One alternative was going back to bootsplash. While it doesn’t provide all the eye candy that I once promised to deliver, it has proven stable over the years and it’s still widely supported. Its code is fast, clean, and easy to debug. Having the JPG decoder in the kernel, which has once been thought of as a disadvantage, seems to be a good solution. Neither developers, nor users seem to mind adding a few bytes to the kernel image. After almost making the decision to switch back to bootsplash, another idea came to my mind. I recalled a project called ‘rhgb’, which is a ‘bootsplash’ solution used in Fedora and Red Hat systems. After doing some initial tests and considering both its advantages and disadvantages, I came to the conslusion that this is the perfect solution for Gentoo. True, it might lengthen the boot process by some 10s or so, and it won’t make it possible to display images during early boot (ie. when the kernel is still initializing its subsystems), but these are a low price to pay for the new features. I’m sure no one will mind watching a black screen for a little longer during the initial boot stages. With rhgb, we will be starting an X server somewhere during the ‘sysinit’ runlevel. Thanks to the capabilities of X and GTK, it will be possible to use rhgb to handle the
verbose mode. This means that fbsplash will be removed from the newer gentoo

Thanks to the flexible splash initscripts introduced a few months ago, the move to rhgb should be complete within as little as one week. Please stay tuned for more updates.

The precious development time saved thanks to this move will be used for more interesting projects, such as porting vesafb-tng to amd64 and ppc. I am also looking forward to working on graphics support for the GeNToo project. If all goes well, rhgb will be supported in GeNToo as well.


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