The number one killer, Virtual Memory. To me, all of the unnecessary garbage that windows loads up, not only slows down, but puts your hardware under more stress too. (an obvious given
) The GUI capabilities of linux are far beyond that of windows, but most stick to a minimal GUI complexity. That alone is why almost all webservers are hosted on linux distros. With minimal GUI, the more work that actually NEEDS to be done, can be done. Without the GUI eating up the memory and virtual memory, tasks can be performed smoother. My folding machines all sit on gentoo linux because its not up in arms like fedora core and SuSE. Although Fedora core and SuSE are linux distros, they have grown to be more GUI based.
As for programming, compiling can sometimes take a while depending upon the actually complexity of the program. But what's dragging you down in windows? GUI and background processes that windows will load up automatically.
Some people say that linux tends to be more stable when it comes to viruses as well. Most people who make viruses, target them at the windows community due to the obvious fact that most house hold PC's come with pre-installed Windows.
Just some of the stuff I think...
Only problem is, a lot of programs/games are targeted at the "Windows Community." All that means is, have a backup windows PC if you plan on gaming, etc. OR... Find a stable emulator