It doesn't seem like a fair comparison. Seems like they're designed differently. Why not do a benchmark of Lubuntu v.s. Arch v.s. Debian Squeeze (or sidux) instead? I'd add Fedora 13 and Windows 7 for kicks for a real interesting comparison! I'd like to see such a benchmark test!
Basically no benchmark accross distros is fair. You never know how many extra depends have been installed when you do compile benchmarks. Those change the compile speed when they are optional. Also runtime benchmarks mainly show gcc differences. When you compare precompiled binaries for games then you test the gfx drivers if they are not 100% the same. I definitely would not chose the distro depending on a 3rd party benchmark. I know when i change for example the kernel it can be faster in some cases (bfs seems to improve speed only on cpus without ht) or when hardware is replaced then you can compare the difference on the SAME system. Even when it would be possible to gain 10% speed with one distro that would not change much - there are differnet issues to consider like the quality of support.
And yes, I liked Ubuntu very much before, but I don't like what it become.
Ubuntu light desktop can be made from scratch and will run as light as Arch, so will Lubuntu.
And if we are speaking of speed, try out sidux or Kanotix or Salix, sad part is you would have to work your way around these distros, many things don't work out of the box like it does in Ubuntu, so yes, I will take a bit of system load for convenience and general acceptance anyday over so called cutting edge.
Imagine a Windows user coming into Debian, Slackware and Red Hat in 1997, bye bye Linux forever...wait, GNU/Linux is still alive?Imagine a Windows user coming into Arch or Gentoo, bye bye Linux forever.
But overall, it's not so bad, with Ubuntu buzzwording, GNU/Linux got more publicity but it's bad if average Joe from this hype start to think Ubuntu==GNU/Linux.
First official Tutuntu came in 2004 and long time ago there was user friendly distro by name Mandrake. Debian got very easy gui and ncurses install, just like Slack and Red Hat, so there is nothing special in Debian based sid leeching distro.
It is more important for GNU/Linux in developing and improving GNOME, Xfce, KDE and Linux than yet another Debian based distro.