I know a faster boot process is planned for next Ubuntu release (this idea goes further; so don't mark this as a duplicate for that).
The idea (advantages list is at the end of this idea):
Partner with computer builders, to provide this instant boot experience to the end user:
1) Sell computers with a dualboot of Ubuntu and Vista (it is important that they also should put Vista on it). It is *very* important that these computers should be marketed as premium computers (high price!).
2) User powers on his computer
3) Less than 1 sec later (maybe 0.5 sec or less!): show the Ubuntu login screen. This screen should look exactly the same as the current login screen we get when X is started. There only should be added some buttons at the bottom to boot from an inserted and bootable USB mass storage device, an inserted and bootable cdrom/dvd, or another OS installed next to Ubuntu.
4) This login screen will not disappear after some time interval (unless the user installed Ubuntu with auto-logon). Instead, it will wait until the user entered his username and password to proceed to the next screen.
5) This does not mean nothing should be loaded in the meantime. While the user is reading at the login screen, deciding whether he wants to boot another installed OS, boot a live CD, or boot Ubuntu, and while he is typing in his username and password, the system should already start loading Ubuntu.
6) It should start with loading a minimal environment with only a few applications (browser, email, and instant messaging), then it should proceed with loading the regular environment.
7) When the user finished entering his account information, he will be either showed to the minimal environment or the regular environment. If the user is very fast with entering his details, he still will have to wait a few secs to boot the minimal environment, but at least the *perception* will be that it is faster.