I have been using Linux after almost 5 years and observed that boot process has been almost abstracted. I mean, not much is visible to the user what is going on behind the scenes (Due to splash screens etc). Now, this might be good for the end users but not for the geek :)

I want to bring back the verboseness of old times. Here is what I have done:

I have been able to get rid of some of it by removing the "splash" and "quiet" parameters from the command line. However, I still cannot see the services being started one by one (like the ones in init.d).

I assume its because of init daemon being replaced by upstart. Are there some configs file which I can tweak to bring back the verboseness of what is going on.

Also, as soon as the login screen comes, it erases the boot log history. Is there a way to disable that ?

Note: I know I can do that by simply switching the distro to Arch or Slackware. But I don't want to do that.


You can pass --verbose on the kernel command line (replacing quiet splash) to make upstart more verbose. See Upstart debugging.

You can put console output in the global configuration file /etc/init.conf so that every job has its stdout and stderr connected to the console (by default, they're connected to /dev/null). (I'm not sure whether this in fact works; /etc/init.conf is not actually documented, I haven't tested if it's read in this way and this thread is not conclusive. Please test and report.) This directive can go into individual jobs' descriptions (/etc/init/*.conf) if you want to be selective (some already have it).

  • Thanks a lot. I think that was exactly I was looking for. Let me try. Jan 4 '11 at 22:31
  • Also consider that part of the motivation for upstart is to paralellize the boot by starting stuff not in some linear order but as soon as its requirements are met. By force this means less chattiness. Sorry you miss it.
    – vonbrand
    Jan 24 '13 at 19:56

plymouth handles Ubuntu's splash screen.
/usr/share/doc/plymouth/README.Debian explains how to remove it:

There are two methods to disable the splash screen.  Both have the
same effect.  Your boot will show such messages as are emitted by
the starting services, and will still be able to prompt if needs be.

1) Remove all of the plymouth-theme-* packages from your system,
   including the text ones.  Plymouth will remain installed to
   permit boot-time prompts.

2) Remove "splash" from the kernel command-line.  You can do this
   per-boot, or make it permanent by changing the
   GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT line in /etc/default/grub

Note that you have to run update-grub after the second method.

plymouth is also responsible for /var/log/boot.log.
More boot messages are available over dmesg.


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