Turning to a notebook boot test, we used the Lenovo ThinkPad T60 with an Intel Core Duo T2400 with 2GB of RAM, an 80GB 5400RPM hard drive, and ATI Mobility Radeon X1400 graphics.
Ubuntu 8.10 on the ThinkPad T60 booted in 31 seconds with a maximum disk throughput of just 16MB/s. With Ubuntu 9.04 there was a modest improvement to take the boot time to 21 seconds and more than doubling the disk throughput to 36MB/s. With Ubuntu 9.10, the T60 is looking at a boot time of still 21 seconds but the disk throughput dropped to 29MB/s.
Well, from this very simple testing, Ubuntu 9.10 is not looking like it will be booting significantly faster than Ubuntu 9.04, unless there are some last minute changes. Even by adopting EXT4 as the default file-system, using the newer Linux 2.6.31 kernel, and making other changes, there were no real boot-time improvements found in this Ubuntu 9.10 daily snapshot. The boot times right now though for the Intel Atom netbooks with solid state drives is not bad currently, but of course it can be made faster per Canonical's goals and even by looking at Moblin V2 right now with its incredibly fast boot times. Back in June, Canonical's Scott James Remnant laid out some of Ubuntu's boot plans for speeding up the process by Ubuntu 10.04 LTS by starting up the X Server faster, optimizing the initramfs, and taking other steps.
We will run these tests again on more systems once Ubuntu 9.10 is golden and as Ubuntu 10.04 LTS approaches.