Say it with me: Linux is not Windows!
Tectonic journalist Richard Frank's column about his sad 300Mhz laptop with 128MB RAM and its slow performance with Linux (Taking a fstab at Linux) caused much wrath and waving of fists among our readers. He bravely took the attack on the chin, and I hope that the experience doesn't slow his inevitable slide into the world of open source.
His situation is not unique. I often hear complaints that Linux runs slower than Windows on the same system. For those of us who run Linux on a reasonably spec'd machine, it raises eyebrows and causes quite a bit of confusion as we know that Linux is so much faster. Obviously Linux does take some configuration to get it running optimally -- it is a hacker's operating system, so you're meant to play with it. But even a clean install of most of the distributions should perform better than clunky old Windows, surely.