In the previous post i was wondering about the use of the efifb by default in the latest Debian based Linux distros. For a reason to me unknown the "secure" way to have a console working is to disable the splash screen (boot theme) and utilize uvesafb. Secure is meaning trusty. I haven't a real machine to test on it, i say, this articles are only focusing VirtualBox emulation, but some user reported the same behavior on real hardware. Thanks to Keith to let me discover it.
This time i tried to enable Plymouth boot splash themes on latest Ubuntu Lucid, and I'm pretty sure that this is the case for the use of the efifb by default. But this story is just the beginning. These are only empiric tests, maybe my words are not the most corrected. In a few words we need to enable efifb to enjoy Plymouth animated themes. I'm not sure but we need also to have the vga16fb enabled. At this point after several restarts the console may appear or may not appear, this is up to your luck. I have to tell it, and it seems very strange.
Installing Plymouth themes is easy as apt-get install plymouth-theme-solar for example. You can do a apt-cache search plymouth-theme to get a list of available ones. Solar is very nice, you can imagine by the name. I prefer the plymouth-theme-ubuntu-logo one, plain and simple. Someone reported, thanks to Ubuntu forums guys, and i can confirm this behavior, that you have to create the /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/splash with FRAMEBUFFER=y in it if you have no splash at startup and issue the mandatory update-initramfs -u command.
Well, how to choose between themes? This is done via update-alternatives. Alternatives, as the name implies, is the way to choose between different "flavors of files". I suggest to take a look at the man page, it's a very intuitive system and for example you can use it to switch between different version of gcc. Basically alternatives are symbolic links whose reference is stored in /etc/alternatives and deeply in /var/lib/dpkg/alternatives if i remember correctly . The simplest way to list which alternatives a package has referenced is the command update-alternatives --display followed by the name of the desired file to inspect, in our case default.plymouth. Instead we can easily choose our Plymouth theme issuing update-alternatives --config default.plymouth and then select the desired one by the corresponding number. It's important to give the command update-initramfs -u (-k all if you have to update multiple kernels), to make the selected theme active.