In an email to developers of the Linux distribution Ubuntu, Canonicals Scott James Remnant explained how they hope to achieve a 10 second boot time with Ubuntu 10.04, the version to be released in 2010, after 9.10 is released this fall.
The projected speed improvements come with changes to the kernel, such as making the X.org server, which controls the display elements in Linux, load up quicker. The boot process will divided into sections with time budgets: two seconds for Kernal and initramfs, Plumbing (drive loader), and X.org server; and four seconds for the desktop session and other services.
"This benchmark time is to a fully logged in desktop (auto-login) with an idle CPU and Disk. Deferring services is not an option unless done properly," Remnant wrote.
The reference platform that Canonical plans to use for this target is a Dell Mini 9 netbook, equipped with the typical Atom processor and an SSD hard drive. Remnant feels this is a good benchmark because it represents what he calls a "middle of the road" system and that some will be faster and slower, but the low price of the machine allows other developers around the world to purchase one to perform their own testing while helping to contribute to the goal.
"10s is a good number, especially for a generic, hardware agnostic, non-stripped down Linux distribution," Remnant wrote, "from that starting point, development teams will be able to customise and tailor Ubuntu for specific hardware - and the OEM team will be able to produce custom remixes of Ubuntu that boot even faster."
Remnant also said that a side-effect of the fast boot speed is that there will be no splash screen. He also said that the team is working to reduce the boot time in 9.10 (codenamed Karmic) but users should not expect the near instant boot they hope to hit with the next release.
Ubuntu already is known for having a quick boot time, as one user proved by back in April. He was able to install Ubuntu 9.04 RC on a system equipped with a speedy Intel SSD drive inside an IBM ThinkPad. When formatted in the ext4 file system, he was able to boot the system in 7.83 seconds. These additional speed improvement that Canonical is targeting for the upcoming Ubunutu release is a feature that Linux enthusiasts should be proud of.
Download: Fast Boot Presentation
Neowin member Executor89 contributed to this report.