Are you thinking that every app is loaded into memory at boot??
At boot only the basic Core + flwm_topside + Xorg + ATI drivers + Alsa sound + Wbar + Conky + Wifi + Xprogs +?? looks sharp, I'll bet you want a screenshot!
User programs waiting to load are many, Chromium + Flash 10 + Xine (for dvd's etc) + Mplayer-nodeps (for mp4's etc) + Foxit Reader + xzgv image viewer + AlsaMixer + a bunch of games for the kids the pc was Intended for.. Oh and Xarchiver, tar, and some dev tools.
when I'm going to use the notebook as a backup online browser, I'll often set chromium to load into memory at boot for instant access, but obviously is rare due to the memory it uses.. I think that's called "Selective copy to file system"
I have only 256BM of Ram installed (because the person I loaned the other stick of ram too never returned it, and was thinking of donating the notebook anyway. memory is not the problem, CPU is the big issue especially when playing online Flash video, YouTube, DVD's, mp4 video, etc etc But Flash is the big issue, it drops a frame or two to keep sync with the sound. other than that it runs great for a
650mhz cpu, sorry it's a 650MHz I'm getting my machines mixed up here. , lol the rig is 12years old..