Well today is the day I move away from Ubuntu for the first time within two years. The reason is not because of the way Canonical is taking Ubuntu. Personally I think Canonical are doing some pretty amazing stuff and I just wish that some people in the open source community would be a little fairer to them. Of course the truth is who cares what I think, but anyway getting back to the point.
Part of the reason is that I was looking at upgrading to Ubuntu 12.10 from the 12.04 LTS release. After reading some reviews I noticed that a few have mentioned that 12.10 feels slightly slower than 12.04.
Now don't get me wrong my machine has no problem at all running 12.04 and would easily handle 12.10. In fact in comparison to Windows 7 the Unity desktop is considerably lighter however in comparison to the other Linux desktops it is pretty bloated. It then brought something back to mind which was how fast Mageia 2 was with the KDE desktop and yet that was running in a VirtualBox. When I think of it, that is pretty remarkable since KDE use to be the whale of the Linux desktops but in comparison it is pretty fast.
For me it is more of a case that I want the lightest environment that is still a fully functioning desktop. I am quite happy to sacrifice appearance for functionality because give credit where due I personally feel Unity is the best looking desktop environment but this comes at a cost. I also feel that Unity is a very usable environment and I like the way it works but there are other options out there that work just as well but are lighter on the system.
This is a shame as Ubuntu appears to be gaining some traction in the gaming market but in terms of FPS (frames per second) it is one of the poorer environments to run your games on. Phoronix showed a comparison of Unity to the other desktop environments along with a serious of graphical performance tests. You can see this via the link below.
When looking through the tests it is quite clear that Unity is considerably slower than the other desktop environments in terms of graphical performance. Even in every day use though it does feel slightly slower.
In fairness there is another reason why I want a change and that is that I just want a change of environments to work in. Who knows I may end up coming back to Ubuntu, but for now though I will give Xubuntu 12.10 a try instead.