Colin Harrington

Customizing rEFIt (an EFI Bootloader – Intel Macs) Slick!

by on May.05, 2009, under General, Linux, Logo, Ubuntu

I recently installed Ubuntu 9.04(Jaunty Jackalope) on a 17" Macbook pro and as a part of that process, I had to install a bootloader called rEFIt.  You could think of EFI is just a next-gen BIOS.

Even though the bootloader looks decent, I don’t like the look of silver/grey color, so I decided to customize it.  The process to customize rEFIt was relatively straight forward and the result is beautiful.

This is what I came up with:

background

This is what it looks like with a Windows Partition:

boot screen with 3 icons

I love the simplicity of it!!

Here is a closeup of the icons / OS Choices:

 

I don’t really know where the icons came from, but they look tasty :-)  On Linux there is a decent package for working with mac icons (.icns) or sudo apt-get install icnsutils  which will get you some useful tools (png2icns and icns2png)

I did have to make a few modifications to the Tux icon [os_linux.icns] to give him a ‘glow’ so that he doesn’t fade into the black on black:

Tux Crystal Modified by Colin

This windows Icon [os_win.icns] is the stock version I think (send me a link to the author if you know):

 

I did add a slight ‘glow’ to the apple icon [os_mac.icns] (send me a link to the author if you know):

I tried a number of custom ‘selected’ themes but gradients didn’t look right, so I went with the simple plan.  The selection bitmap can be found here:

selection_big.bmp

 

the process is simple once rEFIt is installed:  modify the refit.conf with the icons in place, and you are done!

Here is what I came up with for my refit.conf (comments removed):

timeout 5
banner hostname.bmp
selection_big   selection-big-ring.bmp
hideui tools shell funcs hdbadges label
legacyfirst

The original comments in the refit.conf file are helpful!  Its straight forward if you can read :-)

  • timeout = the number of seconds before it automatically chooses for you
  • banner = the bitmap of the upper part of the screen (top left pixel = background color)
  • selection_big = the grey ‘ring’ that indicated the selection
  • hideui = Hide elements of rEFIt so we can get a clean interface
  • legacyfirst = Legacy OS first (Linux)

Use at your own risk!!

If I had the time, it would be fun to build/enhance rEFIt to have an all-black fill instead of the grey/silver.

I’ve had a good experience with Ubuntu 9.04 on a 17" Macbook Pro, and I’ll Blog about it – and see what I can do to help update the documentation – look for an upcoming post.

 

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