Startup, login, logout, sleeping, waking, shutdown

It’s important for the startup, login, logout, sleeping, waking, and shutdown processes to be visually and interactively consistent. So they should be considered together.


Startup is theater. For many people, the startup process will be their first impression of Ubuntu. It must exude professionalism and class. At the same time, some people will occasionally see it dozens of times a day, so it must withstand repeat viewing.

The startup process should be visually seamless with the login screen, and congruent with the shutdown process. For long-term trustworthiness, it should seldom change between Ubuntu versions.

What other OSes do

Windows Vista: An indeterminate progress bar appears near the bottom of the black screen, with the text “© Microsoft Corporation” underneath. The progress bar and text disappear. The mouse pointer appears in the center of the screen, momentarily changes to the busy pointer, then disappears. The Windows Vista logo fades in to the center of the screen, and the four-second startup sound plays as the logo fades out again. The login screen fades in. Good: nice logo animation. Bad: useless progress bar; legalese; spastic mouse pointer.

Mac OS X: The screen goes light grey, with a darker grey matte Apple logo in the center. After a few seconds, a spinner appears under the Apple logo. A few seconds later, the screen flickers and becomes matte blue. If there is time, a chromeless progress window appears on top, containing a 3-D Apple logo, the heading “Mac OS X”, and a progress bar, with text underneath for several stages of the startup (e.g. “Checking disks”, “Waiting for network initialization”). Near the end of the progress bar, the screen background suddenly becomes the default background picture, and the progress window suddenly changes to the similar-looking login window. Good: spinner and progress window look and behave just like those in the rest of the OS. Bad: inconsistent logos; multiple progress indicators; sudden background changes; incoherent transition from progress window to login window.


To a limited extent, we can increase perceived speed by pacing visual changes. This is not a replacement for making the startup process faster, but may improve people’s state of mind while they wait.

As soon as possible, an Ubuntu logo should appear in the center of the black screen, both horizontally and vertically centered, and at the same size it will have in the login screen. The text "Ubuntu" need not be present; the only text should be the version number, e.g. “10.04”, in 12pt grey print underneath.

If Ubuntu has not finished starting up two seconds after that, an empty progress bar should appear underneath the logo.

If Ubuntu has not finished starting up two seconds after that, the progress bar should begin filling.

When the progress bar is full, it and the version number should simultaneously fade out over one second.

If Ubuntu is set up to log in automatically, the Ubuntu logo should then accelerate off the top of the screen, leaving the screen black. Otherwise, the logo should (with proper acceleration and deceleration) slide up to its position in the login screen, and the rest of the login screen should slide down behind it.






MatthewPaulThomas/Sessions (last edited 2008-08-06 16:33:59 by localhost)