rpict, rtrace start up time and number of sources

I have the impression, while actual rendering time is not increasing to much with increasing light source counts (should be about linear in most scenes?), the start-up time of processes is increasing dramatically. What is responsible for that interesting behaviour? In a scene with some thousand sources, it takes three hours until rpict writes the first pixels (same is true for rtrace) - than it is going on fine. Is there anything I could do to speed up this phase of the rendering?

CU Lars.