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I think those who are suggesting DSL or Puppy are confusing two different things with each other: a light weight or small distribution isn't necessarily the same thing as "instant on" or fast boot times.
The two might be related to each other, in that a smaller distribution will have fewer features _during_ boot. But this is somewhat moot. The best suggesting given was to "trim the fat". Specifically, if one really wanted a fast boot, then you'd have to compile a customer kernel. This allows the kernel to bypass hardware detection because it will hardware support is already present. The other thing to do is trim all the usual /etc/rc stuff to only support the things your system has. e.g., don't start services which you know you won't need; do you need NFS or SAMBA for surfing the web? Probably not. Once the system is booted, it almost doesn't matter what is actually installed on disk or what additional service are started, as that is another problem.