This is the LDXE GUI, which provides an easily accessible front end for the system.
Navigating the desktop felt responsive, most native programs open reasonably swiftly and I was able to have a lightweight web page and a four word processor windows open without any slowdown.
While the Pi can multi-task undemanding programs such as Abiword and the Midori browser, it does object if you load more demanding apps like the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). GIMP took more than one minute to start up and caused a noticeable lag in programs running alongside it. If you want to eke out more multitasking performance from the machine, then you can alter how the board's 256MB memory is shared between the CPU and the GPU.
Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.