03
Apr
05

The future of gensplash

For those who didn’t figure it out yet, let me break the news: my previous blog entry was an April Fool’s Day joke. The gensplash project is not dead, fbsplash is not going to be removed from gentoo-sources and neither fbsplash nor splashutils will be abandoned. In fact, the development is going quite well, and fbsplash+splashutils is gaining popularity, being used not only in Gentoo but also in a few other distros. The word is it will also be added to software-suspend 2. So the project is anything but dead :)

However, as people say, there is a grain of truth in every story and in every legend. And our case is not very different. While the gensplash project will not be discontinued, some things will have to be changed. Originally, the whole project was divided into two stages — stage 1 being fbsplash+splashutils and stage 2 — the final ‘gensplash’ program with all the fancy features. It was supposed to use the DirectFB library and XML config files. The way I see it now, neither of these was a good idea. DirectFB has proven to be difficult to use in the harsh conditions of the initial boot stages, and it increased the number of dependencies heavily. XML config files were something I came up with because I was too lazy to write a new config file parser from scratch ;)

As it turned out, it is possible to include virtually all gensplash features in splashutils, keeping the deps as minimal as possible and making the whole thing easy to manage. Support for icons and TTF fonts is already in place. So is support for the ‘daemon’ mode. Support for MNG animations will be coming soon. The current config file format seems to be flexible enough to handle new features as they get added to splashutils. The code handles various framebuffer formats quite well. And all this is possible without DirectFB, XML and other things that would make splashutils bloated.

So, to summarize, what is the meaning of all this? Well, there will most likely be no ‘gensplash’ app. The features that were planned for it will be added to splashutils, and care will be taken to keep the code as fast, lean and clean as possible. With the ‘release early, release often’ attitude that I have adopted now, splashutils 1.2.0 should be the equivalent of ‘gensplash stage 2’.

Is there a grain of truth in the statements about porting vesafb-tng to amd64/pcc and me helping the GeNToo project with the development of a graphics subsystem? Well, I’ll leave these two for people to figure out themselves :)

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