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Thread: A Beginner's Guide to Theming GRUB2

  1. #1
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    A Beginner's Guide to Theming GRUB2

    Would you like to learn to theme GRUB2? Now, when I say theme GRUB2, I don't mean to simply add a wallpaper and change the text's colors. I'm talking about adding graphics, different fonts, scrollbar, progress bar etc. Check out the attached file for a screenshot of what's possible.

    Interested? Well it's all explained in my latest tutorial 'A Beginner's Guide to Theming GRUB2'. It's a 37 page PDF document that explains it all. Of course, 37 pages complete with screenshots and a sample theme is quite a lot to post. So it's all in my tutorial available here:

    http://www.mediafire.com/?amub1vfdyfhj7v2 (This is obsolete, but is still there)

    Edit: Apparently, 4shared.com now requires you to login or register before downloading files. For this reason, I have moved the file from there and have published it from my Ubuntu One account.

    The 2nd and 3rd editions are now available for download here:
    http://ubuntuone.com/2EslXTLj5s2zzbeYKx17wJ

    This now covers GRUB v1.99 for the following distros:
    • Arch Linux 2011.08.19 using GRUB 1.99-5
    • Debian Squeeze using GRUB 1.99-14 from Debian Wheezy
    • Debian Wheezy using GRUB 1.99-14
    • Fedora 14 (Laughlin) and Fedora 15 (Lovelock) using GRUB 1.99-13.fc16 from Fedora 16
    • Fedora 16 (Verne) using GRUB 1.99-13.fc16
    • LinuxMint 10 (Julia) using GRUB 1.99-12ubuntu5-1linuxmint1 from LinuxMint 12
    • LinuxMint 12 (Lisa) using GRUB 1.99-12ubuntu5-1linuxmint1
    • Mandriva 2011.0 (Turtle) using GRUB 1.99
    • openSUSE 11.3 (Teal) and openSUSE 11.4 (Celadon) using GRUB 1.99-8.7.2 from openSUSE 12.1
    • openSUSE 12.1 (Asparagus) using GRUB 1.99-8.7.2
    • Sabayon 7 using GRUB 1.99
    • Slackware Linux 13.37 using GRUB 1.99
    • Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid), 10.10 (Maverick) and 11.04 (Natty) using GRUB 1.99-12ubuntu3 from Ubuntu 11.10
    • Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric) using GRUB 1.99-12ubuntu5
    • VectorLinux 7.0 using GRUB 1.99

    It includes instructions to upgrade to GRUB 1.99 from the repos of the respective distros.

    I have left the 2nd edition, which covers GRUB 1.98, in the tar archive.

    Please feel free to post any comments or questions about it in this thread.

    You may post your themes here:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1823915

    Happy GRUB2 Theming.:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by towheedm; April 9th, 2012 at 05:01 PM.

  2. #2

    Re: A Beginner's Guide to Theming GRUB2

    Moved to General Help.
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  3. #3
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    Re: A Beginner's Guide to Theming GRUB2

    Thanks, towheedm.

    This looks interesting.
    I learn something ubuntu everyday.
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  4. #4
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    Re: A Beginner's Guide to Theming GRUB2

    Quote Originally Posted by hansdown View Post
    Thanks, towheedm.

    This looks interesting.
    Most welcome. Please let me know how it works out for you, any bugs etc.

  5. #5
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    Re: A Beginner's Guide to Theming GRUB2

    The 2nd edition is now available for download at:
    http://www.4shared.com/file/lFCl6wxL/grub_guidetar.html

    It now includes Ubuntu and Variants (Karmic, Lucid and Maverick), Debian 6.0, Sabayon 5.5, openSUSE 11.3, Fedora 14 and LinuxMint 10.

    It also includes many other customization to the boot menu.
    The Definitive Guide to Theming GRUB2 is here.

  6. #6
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    Re: A Beginner's Guide to Theming GRUB2

    For those using a separate /boot partition and having problems getting their themes to display, here is a very simple/quick fix:

    Copy the unicode font to /boot/grub:
    Code:
    sudo cp /usr/share/grub/unicode.pf2 /boot/grub/
    You may also need to add the following line to /etc/default/grub:
    Code:
    GRUB_FONT_PATH=/boot/grub
    Finally, update GRUB's configuration file.
    The Definitive Guide to Theming GRUB2 is here.

  7. #7
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    Re: A Beginner's Guide to Theming GRUB2

    Hey, I've just moved from Ubunutu 10.04 to Lubuntu 11.10 (so I'm using Grub 1.99-12ubuntu5), and I've got a couple of questions:

    • Am I correct in believing that "Modify /etc/grub.d/00_header" (pg19 of the guide) should be skipped, as for Grub 1.98+20100804?
    • Is there anything (that you know of) I should be aware of that is significantly different when using Grub 1.99? (Yes, I do realise the guide was not written for 11.10 and Grub 1.99...)

  8. #8
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    Re: A Beginner's Guide to Theming GRUB2

    Yes, you must skip this and continue on to 'Adding More Menu Items'.

    If you have a separate /boot partition then check the post above yours. This may have been fixed in GRUB 1.99 but I am not sure if it's been applied by all distros.

    Also, have a look at this thread first:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1846754

    If you have a 'Previous Linux Versions' menu item, selecting it may not necessarily show a themed screen.

    Note also, that the keypresses lags. This lag increaes as the number of menu items increases.

    You can also post your themes here:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1823915

    I have left Ubuntu in favor of Debian. While I do not monitor the forums as I did, I still remain a member, so feel free to post any support questions to this thread or you may also PM me.

    Hope you find the guide useful.

    I'm about to start the 3rd edition which will certainly include 1.99. This will be completed early next year. Keep your subscription to this thread as I'll post to it when I've uploaded it.

    OK, here's rather quick way to know, whether or not the themes will display properly. Download one of the themes from the post above and install it. If it displays, you're good to go. If not post back.
    Last edited by towheedm; December 3rd, 2011 at 06:04 AM. Reason: Quick way to check that themes will display
    The Definitive Guide to Theming GRUB2 is here.

  9. #9
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    Re: A Beginner's Guide to Theming GRUB2

    Thanks for the help!

    OK, so approximate steps I have needed to take to get the basic theme in your guide running: (pretty much as for 1.98+20100804)

    1. Copy 08_gfxmenu to /etc/grub.d/
    2. Put theme resources in /boot/grub/themes/theme_name
    3. Add GRUB_THEME=path_to_theme.txt to /etc/default/grub.d
    4. Run sudo update-grub
    5. Reboot


    More info/Oddities:

    1. I switched to Virtual Box just so I could test things quickly and to avoid any real risk. I then had some bizarre issues with failing to reach the login screen after a reboot (from the OS menu, with the VM power button, and even with killing the VM...) which have... gone away. This bothers me (that the problem just stopped happening) but I'm not going to chase it unless it comes back. Hopefully not GRUB related.
    2. The console area replaces parts of the background and menu items once a menu item has been selected. This looks horrible. Is there any way around this?
    3. The "Previous Linux Versions" option is indeed not themed (default white on black) if you descend into it. Is there a way to get this themed too?
    4. Neither the memtestx86+ options nor the "Previous Linux Versions" options have a --class by default
    5. sudo update-grub prints Found theme: path/to/theme.txt twice - maybe something to do with the new submenu?
    6. Plymouth seems to have only sometimes work. Not necessarily anything to do with GRUB or themes, but I am a sucker for eyecandy.
    7. I didn't set up a separate /boot partition so I can't tell you anything useful about that.
    8. Parts of your "Customising The Menu Items" section seem like they might not be the same for the 1.99 config files - I'll investigate this later.
    9. I haven't tried the install script yet.


    I'm looking forward to your guide v3~
    Last edited by Anomandaris; December 3rd, 2011 at 11:27 PM. Reason: Formatting

  10. #10
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    Re: A Beginner's Guide to Theming GRUB2

    Gee, it looks a bit like BURG but with a lot more stuffing around to achieve the same outcome.
    Regards, David.
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