Everybody knows the answer is almost always Linux, and one of the reasons for that is because Windows cheats. Mr. Exile has run a test in which he compares two laptops, one with four times the memory and about double the processor speed and a more advanced processor, with the hotter computer running XP and the older, less powered computer running Linux.
Since the valid test is not when the desktop pops up (because Windows is still busy booting when that happens), Mr. Exile instead timed how long it took for him to have a browser opened to his web based email page.
If you are a Windows Apologist Jingoist, don’t even bother reading Mr. Exile’s analysis, because you will simply become depressed and despondent when you see the results. If you are a Happy Linux person, go over to Mr. Exile’s post and drop him a line.
I should say that I have the same exact experience, except to get to email, I compare Evolution on a Linux computer with Outlook on a managed Windows computer. The amount of time from turning on the Windows computer on a Monday Morning (I turn the computer off over the weekend) and being able to read the most recent email on the managed computer is between 15 and 25 minutes, if I don’t have to reboot. It has been as long as 45 minutes, and earlier this week it was one day because the network was borked so I just went home and worked there. Yes, you read that right. NORMAL startup is 15 to 20 minutes before the first readable email.
The amount of time on the computer running Linux and using Evolution to access the same account plus four other accounts is … I don’t know, never felt the need to measure it. Three or four minutes, I think.