I got into Linux after getting tired of doing clean installs of Win98 every few weeks to keep it usable. My needs are simple, genealogy, email, and Internet, and some office documents from time to time.
Never liked the Gnome Gui, but really liked KDE 1. Then KDE2 came out which was a step up. But then came KDE3 and it was horrible lol.
My definition of speed is basically the computer doing what I tell it to. When I click on the mouse, I expect it to do what I told it to do. Windows has a tendency to do what what it thinks is more important than what you want to do at the time. Wish I had an "Ooops" key after I click on something I didn't want to do lol.
I'm sure I'll be back on Linux as soon as Win7 dies in a few months. I use to need Windows for working remote from home, but that's not a requirement anymore, just been too lazy to load up Linux. I have several Linuxmint on thumbdrives, I really like the look and feel of it.