I’m not overly fussy about how long it takes my computer to boot. Some people are. Some people also trainspot. Whatever. Anyway, there’s been a lot of hooplah about making Linux boot faster and faster. (Aside: this is one of the benefits of an open system like Linux: you can twiddle the plumbing to do exactly this sort of thing!) I’ve heard people boast about booting from a cold start to a full desktop environment in under 20 seconds. Now it seems that some folks have gotten that down to one second!
Granted, this was accomplished using Linux specifically tailored for particular embedded hardware, so it’s not something you’ll be able to do on your home PC or laptop (yet!). MontaVista Linux booted on Freescale Semiconductor MPC5121e hardware, which presented a specific controlled environment, so the Linux kernel could be tweaked to load only the drives necessary for the platform. Also, as sensational as this story is, it doesn’t make clear whether the one second boot loaded an entirely usable interface, or just for the kernel fully loaded into memory so that additional user space stuff could then kick off.
Regardless, fast boots from a cold start are really, really important for embedded systems. While I don’t mind waiting for a desktop or laptop to finish its boot sequence, I hate waiting for my handheld computing devices to come to life. I expect instant-on functionality from handheld computing devices, dammit!
Hat tip Internet News.