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Desktop application start up indicators

I am thinking about ways to measure the startup time for various desktop applications. Obviously, a common one used is how soon after a menu item is selected can I do something in the application. However, this does not lend itself to being automated.

I assume that most of the applications can be launched from a command line. Are there applications or applets that are started from the menu and do not have corresponding command line invocations?

How similar are the gnome applications in startup? Do they use the same set of libraries? Would it be possible to have instrument a function in a common shared library that generally indicates that the application has initialized everything and is just waiting for the user to do something? If there is a common function could do something like:

start profiling
note time
command-line invocation of application
	<bunch of application initialization>
	<call library function that indicates application is running>
		<key function notes time, shutdown profiling>


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