Success is sweet: under 20 second boots
On 16 year old hardware:
I achieved under 20 second boot times :).
17 seconds from the pressing the power button to a login prompt, to be exact!
This impressive result (faster than my PC running Arch Linux) is mostly slowed by the BIOS and Grub load times; the actual boot from the kernel to the prompt is around 6-7 seconds.
But boot time is not everything! If it took over a minute to open vim to edit a file, I would count the performance as being effectively unusable. However, with the new OS, it takes around a second the first time – lag caused by having to load vim into memory – and is effectively instant after that. Python takes 1.42 seconds (according to “time python -c ‘exit()'”) on the first run, and .56 on subsequent runs.
It far exceeds my usability aims :)!
In theory, performance could be improved still further, but that is a project for another day…
Ironically, 17 seconds to boot is probably slightly faster than, if not hugely faster, than the boot times when it ran the original OS. The wonder of Linux…
As a side note, it currently uses around 8MB of RAM when booted, and another 6MB for the kernel. Still heavier than I wanted, but sufficient for running Lynx (6MB), Python (4MB), and Vim (1MB), with room to spare. The kernel would be hard to strip down much further without losing functionality, though.