The first drastic improvement for The Little Laptop That Could was what made me decide this thing wasn’t a hopeless case.
Backgrounding the network daemon is a sure-fire bet to get things up and running faster, and that’s what sold me on the idea of keeping this box. I added an “at” sign (the @ ;) ) to the network daemon in the trigger line in rc.conf, and now I don’t hang the entire system waiting for DHCP to authenticate.
I appreciate the fact that some people, like samba users, might need to be sure the network is running before going any further. But for my purposes, I can authenticate with the router while the rest of the boot process continues.
Like anything else, what you background is going to depend on what you use and what you need. If you mount network drives, or want specific embellishments, some of it can be pushed into the background, but others will have to stay in focus. Test and see what works. If it doesn’t, put it back like you found it.
Since that worked so well for me, I went ahead and backgrounded a few other processes: crond, acpid and alsa.
Sound is really something I should consider dumping altogether on this laptop, but I have a soft spot for it. I like the idea of plugging my new headphones in and listening to Groove Salad. And I play old Commodore 64 games on this, and Bruce Lee just isn’t the same without sound. Of course, if I get rid of sound, I lose alsa and all the sound modules, which would no doubt speed up my boot process. … Hmm. Maybe I’ll try it, just as an experiment.
Along those same lines, I have a soft spot for acpid, which allows me to shut down the laptop at the press of a button. Vanity, I supposed, but one of the few I will allow. It too can go, if only for the sake of science.
So I background a lot of processes. I also removed pcmcia and hotplug (which are disabled by default), as well as netfs since I don’t mount any filesystems on this machine. (I actually do have an Ubuntu laptop that acts as an nfs server that I could link to for music files, but that’s sitting four feet to the right and has a proper speaker system attached. It’s just not necessary.)
A different machine might need different things under different circumstances; if I run into a different setup, I’ll pick and choose appropriately.