This specification details the foundation team plans for the technology for the Lucid Lynx boot experience, changing from using usplash to plymouth to provide the graphical splash screen while waiting for the boot to complete. The “look” and “theme” components are not covered here.
Ubuntu 10.04 has switched from using usplash to Plymouth for the boot splash screen, providing a flicker-free experience on Intel, NVIDIA and ATI hardware.
About Plymouth :
Plymouth, is a fedora projetct, it is a program that starts earlier (even before / is mounted!), doesn’t require an X server, and gets rid of a lot of the noise during startup. Plymouth will requires DRM kernel modesetting drivers to get pretty graphics, but will have a text mode fallback for systems without driver support.
You can read more at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/