Just prior to the release of FreeBSD 3.1, a new feature was added to allow the display of ``splash'' screens during the boot messages. The splash screens currently must be a 256 color bitmap (*.BMP) or ZSoft PCX (*.PCX) file. In addition, they must have a resolution of 320x200 or less to work on standard VGA adapters. If you compile VESA support into your kernel, then you can use larger bitmaps up to 1024x768. Note that VESA support requires the VM86 kernel option to be compiled into the kernel. The actual VESA support can either be compiled directly into the kernel with the VESA kernel config option or by loading the VESA kld module during bootup.
To use a splash screen, you need to modify the startup files that control the boot process for FreeBSD. The files for this changed prior to the release of FreeBSD 3.2, so there are now two ways of loading a splash screen:
The first step is to find a bitmap version of your splash screen. Release 3.1 only supports Windows bitmap splash screens. Once you have found your splash screen of choice copy it to /boot/splash.bmp. Next, you need to have a /boot/loader.rc file that contains the following lines:
load kernel load -t splash_image_data /boot/splash.bmp load splash_bmp autoboot
In addition to adding support for PCX splash screens, FreeBSD 3.2 includes a nicer way of configuring the boot process. If you wish, you can use the method listed above for FreeBSD 3.1. If you do and you want to use PCX, replace splash_bmp with splash_pcx. If, on the other hand, you want to use the newer boot configuration, you need to create a /boot/loader.rc file that contains the following lines:
include /boot/loader.4th start
and a /boot/loader.conf that contains the following:
This assumes you are using /boot/splash.bmp for your splash screen. If you would rather use a PCX file, copy it to /boot/splash.pcx, create a /boot/loader.rc as instructed above, and create a /boot/loader.conf that contains:
splash_pcx_load="YES" bitmap_load="YES" bitmap_name="/boot/splash.pcx"
Now all you need is a splash screen. For that you can surf on over to the gallery at http://www.baldwin.cx/splash/.