My MythTV backend boots Ubuntu off an SSD; I haven't timed it, but it spends noticeably more time in the BIOS than the OS boot process.
So I don't see why Linux can't boot fast even without removing lots of services.
I'm most certain that having an SSD would make any OS boot fast. However SSDs are still a new technology (questionable reliability) and not everyone wants or can afford one. Improving the OS's individual boot time would benefit all users.