Like other distributions, OpenSuse has a group of people working at a faster boot system. Atm there is no discussion about a new init system but about improvements on all fronts: kernel, init scripts, unnecessary system calls, etc.
The main aim of the Boot Time group is a bit flamboyant: to boot in 5 seconds from “grub screen until gdm loads”. At the moment this seems to be more of a motivation than a real aim. Also, there is not much code available yet. The team is focusing on discussion and data collection. You can find scripts for better bootchart diagnostics for example. The idea is to have a system where you don’t have to reboot but can restart your init system. I wonder why they do not simply test their scripts in a virtual machine?
However, noticeable in their attempt is that there is not so much talk about replacing init. According to the discussions parallelizing is not so helpful because all processes are waiting for I/O anyway – something I cannot confirm at all.
Also, they do not aim at taking over other init replacements – in a recent discussion Ubuntu’s Upstart was judged to be not “the right way”. Some Fedora members stated something similar, but I never heard reasons against Upstart, and must admit that I found the reasons and design ideas behind upstart pretty convincing.
Initng was also judged not to be very helpful because it would in the end start the same stuff with the same problems.
Out of these reasons and opinions the group seems to concentrate on improving current scripts and kernel mechanisms and also on choosing the right scripts and dropping everything which is not necessary.
The advantage with this attempt is that several of such improvements could be used by other distributions as well – improvements in X code or kernel code to make them faster would find its way upstream and from there into all other distributions.
In any case, this work shows me that Fedora is the last big distribution which haven’t really looked into this area. There were some initial thoughts about improving the boot time, but it was dropped in favour of other, more important features for Fedora 7. Let’s see if we see movement there when the Fedora 8 development cycle begins.