I finished installing and updating Xbuntu 11.10. This distro is quite snappy as “infinitely galactic” put it. He says he is using it as his current working distro.
However, I have found there are certain things it cannot cope with. The principle problem is that being an Xcfe distro, you are limited to Xcfe stuff, unless you install all the relevant support files for Gnome etc. If you install all the Gnome stuff, then you might as well install the Gnome Desktop and be done with it. Having installed a lot of Gnome stuff to make the program you want to use work, you are back to square one, and Xbuntu is then no snappier than Gnome. Well, how can it be?
I am now re-installing Linux Mint 10, and am going to give that another go. This distro has slightly more features than Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meercat). One of the things I like is that the File Manager (Nautilus) has more options.
Conclusions: if you have got an old desktop or a small laptop with a limited amount of RAM and hard drive space, then Xubuntu 11.10 is a good distro to go for.
But if you are on a bigger machine, say with 4 Gig and 650 gig drive, lets say, then you are better off going for Linux Mint 10.
Ubuntu 10.10 is quite a stable distro, but it keeps telling you if you want to upgrade. The philosophy on Linux Mint is not to to this until a stable release is available, and I think this is a good idea.
Ubuntu 11.10 is unstable in my opinion. The Unity Desktop seems to have inherited the problems that Ubuntu Netbook Remix had. So if you are a refugee from the Unity Desktop, then Mint 10 is the one to go for. Don’t bother with Mint12 – although it is an interesting Distro, it is not flexible at the moment, but it seems fairly stable, if you would like to give it a whirl.