I want the fastest startup possible. So, at least for now, and for expediency, I decided to excise the bootloader. As an experiment, though, I wrote a simple sketch which does only one thing, and that is turn on the LED that's on pin 9. With no bootloader installed, I expected it would turn on almost instantaneously after I applied power, but actually not. However, there's still an approximately 2.1 second delay (measured on an o-scope) between applying power to the atgmega328p and the LED lighting up. Is it normal for the atmega328p to take that long? What's slowing it down?
In case it matters, the fuse settings I'm using for the atmega328p are: 0xFF 0xDA 0xC2 i.e. I'm running at 8Mhz from the internal resonator, and BOD is turned off. I also tried turning BOD on at the fuse level to see if that might speed it up, but it didn't.