Debian recently offered an installer based on XFce, the lighter desktop. I'll give that a try and, should anything prove significant, I'll report here again.
Read more thoughts about the change here
The point, as always, is this: I cannot trust any closed system. If it's not free and open for my use as I see God requires of me, it's not free enough. Even Apple fails that test. I may someday be running Debian on my eMac. With the next release of Debian (5.0, Lenny), I may update my current desktop monster to that.