crazy idea: screen based init system?
You may have heard of upstart, the new event based init system. I think something similar can be created with scripts that look like this:
#!/bin/bash (/etc/init.d/some_daemon start && screen /etc/si.d/some_daemon_started) & (/etc/init.d/other_daemon start && screen /etc/si.d/other_daemon_started) & screen /etc/si.d/some_event_finished
Or something similar but with some bookkeeping if you want dependency based init instead of event based.
Apart from the parallelism, this approach is nice because the output of different starting daemons doesn't get mixed up (and you can even page through it). I think it is even possible to have a screen containing top stay on top (confusing sentence!), so you get a nice overview of daemons appearing...
What do you think?