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Is it possible to compile the linux kernel so that when it is booting up, instead of the boot up text to display and image and ONLY an image (like osx)?

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This sounds like something typically done by the bootloader, e.g. GRUB, a popular bootloader, not the kernel. –  jw013 Aug 15 '12 at 23:05
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

There are typically two main components:

  • The bootloader (nowadays typically grub2) on Linux boot cds typically isolinux
  • A program displaying some kind of graphical interface, nowadays typically plymouth

If you are using a Distribution targeted for consumers both should automatically be configured and installed from your distribution.

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