Nostromo boot noise

Last edited on 2022-10-05 Tagged under  #linux 


Add sound effects to the Linux boot sequence.

Let's go!

Alien (1979) is one of my favourite movies. At the beginning of the movie, the spaceship Nostromo's computer boots up in a burst of blinks and noise. Inspired by this Alien-themed Linux greeting card, I create a short clip of that boot noise that plays when sound becomes available during the Linux boot sequence!

Audio clip

Use yt-dlp to extract audio (requires ffmpeg for WAV conversion) from this sound effects clip on YouTube.

$ yt-dlp --extract-audio --audio-format wav --audio-quality 0 --restrict-filenames

Copy the first 25 seconds from the original WAV file (example: input.wav) to make a new sound clip (example: bootsound.wav) ...

$ ffmpeg -i input.wav -ss 00:00:01 -to 00:00:25 -c copy bootsound.wav

Save bootsound.wav to /usr/local/share.

Sound card

Identify the sound card(s). In this instance, my laptop shows a single card ...

$ cat /proc/asound/cards
 0 [PCH            ]: HDA-Intel - HDA Intel PCH
                      HDA Intel PCH at 0xf2530000 irq 32

Output the systemd device unit for this sound card ...

$ systemctl list-units | awk '/sound-card0/{print $1}'


Create a shell script (example: bootsound) that plays the clip ...

# bootsound - play sound at boot via bootsound.service

# card1 is '-c 1'
amixer -c 1 sset Master unmute
amixer -c 1 sset Master playback 100%
# card1 is 'plughw:1,0
/usr/bin/aplay -D plughw:0,0 /usr/local/share/bootsound.wav

Make the script executable, and save to /usr/local/bin.


Create a systemd unit file (example: /etc/systemd/system/bootsound.service) to run the shell script as soon as the sound card becomes available ...

Description=Boot Sound

ExecStartPre=/usr/bin/sleep 8


Enable unit file ...

$ sudo systemctl enable bootsound.service

Reboot and hear the glorious cacophony of a Nostromo boot!

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