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There are so many distros of Linux around it's difficult to single out one over another without upsetting someone.
Of course, slowness is a subjective matter. Kernel isn't really the issue, a bloated UI is the problem in most cases.
My own experiences are with Ubuntu (primary distro), my own PC runs on Ubuntu Studio 12.04 and it's very responsive (once I'd turned off Network automount). The main distro is a bit slower to respond using the standard Gnome desktop. As always, it's available system memory which can also impact performance, this is very noticeable when Ubuntu Software Centre crashes (pretty much constantly) on every launch. Seems to need way more memory than any other application I have to use.
I stopped using Fedora when they started demanding newer graphics cards for rendering a (imho) crappier modern UI. I was happy using Fedora since 2003/4. I'd rather use XFCE desktop now, and that's purely for responsiveness.
...Now I am confused, in my many episodic forays across the years into the Linux world I have NEVER been blow away by "any superior speed".
So, what's your opinion, is Ubuntu way faster now?
I started with Ubuntu several years ago (8.04) and was thoroughly impressed with the speed on my aging Dell hardware. It was noticeably faster than any Windows OS I had used (including the XP on the same dual boot hardware). ... but uh oh, I upgraded to the Unity interface and the situation severely reversed itself. The Unity interface is so poorly designed and the performance so bad I really can't use it to develop any more. I still have it as a server but it will not survive long. I have upgraded a few things but these minor changes are not enough to help.
I have several other linux machines which are useful and performant, but I'm afraid that Ubuntu has lost its way.
I moved to Lubuntu when Unity made my laptop sluggish and slow. Not a single problem in sight from there on, and I'm quite satisfied with the product. My Windows OS is out of commission for now however, so I've been taking the liberty to install other Linux OS's to restore my data.
Lubuntu is light and fast mind you, but you still have a lot to install after that, since it comes with bare minimals, I had to install GCC in order to install some applications as of late, and have been making great progress in coding Python without the Lag that Ubuntu 12.10 gave me.
Here I am on my Mac using Parallels to write my Azure article using Windows technology. It's kind of a cluster, if you know what I mean. Parallels likes to cut off my network connection every half hour or so, and it will freeze up periodically, and if my actual network connection has any issues my entire machine will freeze up until a dialog pops up and allows me to disconnect.
But anyway, back to apples. I've eaten an entire bag over the last two days while I write my article. My stomach feels much better than last weekend, when I went through an entire bag of chips.
When it's time to crunch and munch, I recommend apples.