"For years, most Linux distributions have been using an init daemon based on the one found in Unix System V. The init daemon is spawned by the kernel itself, and tasked with booting the rest of the system, starting all other processes, and taking care of them when they need to be stopped or when they die. While the System V init setup has worked well for Linux in the past, it hasn't aged well -- which is why we're replacing the aging init system with Upstart in Ubuntu 6.10, codenamed Edgy Eft."
I haven't tried edgy eft yet so I had no idea init was being replaced. I'm glad to see this is finally being done in a well known Linux distribution. Apple replaced Init in OS X when they released 10.4 (Tiger). It would be interesting to see a comparision of launchd vs. upstart.
Here is another article I found on upstart.