One of the issues in Ubuntu 11.10 that I have made widely known is that it's booting slower. Since the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS release each succeeding release has largely been regressing when it comes to the boot performance, among other areas. I have found the boot performance to be an issue on a wide-range of hardware and an obvious regression from the ten second boot time focus in Lucid Lynx.
Besides my extensive tests on a range of hardware and on multiple Ubuntu releases doing clean installs, the number cited during this session was a Dell Mini 10 would boot in 12 seconds on Ubuntu 10.04, but with Ubuntu 11.10 it's now taking 23 seconds.
During this session they were looking at ways to improve the performance when in the desktop, but ignoring the Linux kernel and other low-level areas. Dropping the initrd requirement should speed up the boot time too.
Ubuntu developers found the X.Org portion (surprisingly) hasn't regressed much in the past 18 months, but Compiz is taking a lot of time to load due to loading many shared objects and its extensive use of GConf. During the Ubuntu Precise cycle they will be switching over to GSettings, which will affect the results.
Developers have also found the load time for the Nautilus file manager is regressing. As a result, Nautilus will also be looked at during this cycle along with the gnome-settings-daemon, delaying the start of telepathy-approver, static linking of default Compiz plug-ins, and various other items.
Notes on the desktop boot speed can be found on this Ubuntu summit page.