Plymouth is responsible for the boot splash and login screen in Ubuntu 10.04 onwards, having replaced Usplash/GDM in earlier versions (and the short-lived use of XSplash in 9.10).
There are already a bunch of themes available in the repositories, and finding and installing them is as easy as entering “plymouth” in the Quick search bar in Synaptic. But if you install one, it won’t automatically switch to it, and there is no ready way to change between those you’ve added. But it’s actually quite easy, which you’ll see if you enter the following into a terminal:
You will be presented with a list of installed themes, with an asterix (*) next to the one currently in use. Simply type the number of the desired replacement theme, and you’ve switched themes. However, even though running that command again would show that the theme you picked is now the default, when you reboot you will find that the previous splash is actually still in use.
What is missing here is that you need to update initramfs (the initial RAM disk filesystem used when booting), which is done with the following command:
sudo update-initramfs -u
You will see something like the following message:
update-initramfs: Generating /boot/initrd.img-2.6.32-22-generic
If you get no error messages after that, all went well, and your new splash and login theme will be there when you reboot.
BOOT FAILURE WARNING!
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