Integrating new console colors in D-I (was Re: Call for testing: Aubergine-love for Server folks!)

Dustin Kirkland kirkland at
Tue Mar 29 20:10:48 UTC 2011

On Sat, Mar 26, 2011 at 10:21 AM, Colin Watson <cjwatson at> wrote:
> It would have to go on the kernel command line, not in the CD preseed
> file.  The latter is read too late for this.
> It would probably be better to add new values for the existing
> FRONTEND_BACKGROUND environment variable (which can also go on the
> kernel command line) rather than inventing a new preseeded template
> which would basically just be a synonym for it.

Great idea, Colin.  I have this now working, with an upload of
cdebconf-0.154ubuntu2 to Natty archive.  This will not make Beta1, but
should absolutely land in Beta2, and will need release-team approval.
Note that it will also require a re-spin of debian-installer.  I'm
tracking this in Bug #730672.  There's a debdiff for cdebconf there.

As of that upload, any user of the text installer will be able to
optionally specify a FRONTEND_BACKGROUND value on the kernel command
line.  The cdebconf-newt-udeb package provides the following:
 * dark -- high contrast, accessibility theme
 * original -- the traditional, legacy newt theme
 * ubuntu -- the aubergine theme (basically, s/blue/magenta/g)

These are installed to:
 * /etc/newt/palette.dark
 * /etc/newt/palette.original
 * /etc/newt/palette.ubuntu

By default, there is a symlink installed by cdebconf-newt-udeb in the
ISO filesystem:
 * /etc/newt/palette -> /etc/newt/palette.ubuntu

At debian-installer/cdebconf initialization of the newt frontend, if a
kernel parameter FRONTEND_BACKGROUND=<whatever> is found, then the
symlink at /etc/newt/palette is broken and replaced with a symlink to

In this way, any derivative of Ubuntu can ship their own palette in a
udeb that's included in their ISO build, install that palette at
/etc/newt/palette.kubuntu, for example, and append
FRONTEND_BACKGROUND=kubuntu to the kernel parameters.

If you (or your Ubuntu derivative) just want the legacy behavior, then
don't bother shipping your own palette, but simply append
FRONTEND_BACKGROUND=original to the kernel parameters.

I hope this helps with your calls for reconfigurability!  I've enjoyed
working with everyone on this ;-)


Dustin Kirkland
Ubuntu Server, Core Developer
Canonical, LTD

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