In my experience, the only real variances in speed are for the startup, as distributions use different methods and start different processes. With regard to things such as launching basic applications, I've never seen a serious statement about this backed up.
Have you ever seen the opposite? Has anyone tested the distributions and found they are all about the same speed? This too would be useful data.
There will be variances if you are using different desktop environments, and those kind of results are interesting to see -- particular with regards to memory. Lubos Lunak (an openSUSE/KDE developer) did some testing into this a _long_ time ago.
I'm confused. I followed the link and read an excellent article about excess fonts and application slowdown. And in fact, if different distributions have different amount of fonts, that would be relevant and impact performance. Is this what you mean?
Also, I assume without knowing that there are other ways distributions can effect the speed of their applications (even if just by installing different versions with different startup options). But if everything is the same speed, I'll just report that.
However, if you are launching the same application in the same desktop environment on a different distribution (making sure it is the same app -- which wouldn't work for i.e. searching), I very much doubt there will be a significant or material difference. But there are some possibilities, and it might be interesting to just verify or disprove that, but only if you would investigate why ;-).
Anyhow, with regard to distribution boot times, I ran a test some time ago on the differences between the boot times from some of the popular distributions. An update on something like that probably would not take too long and it would be interesting.
Yep. And one thing I'd very much like to do is get the data to Suse developers.
 http://www.kdedevelopers.org/node/1654  http://ktown.kde.org/~seli/memory/desktop_benchmark.html  http://francis.giannaros.org/blog/2007/08/23/comparing-distribution-boot-tim... -- Francis Giannaros http://francis.giannaros.org
I love these suggestions. Anyone have any more?