Switching over to the graphics performance, to no surprise at all, the open-source graphics drivers are significantly faster on Fedora 16 than Ubuntu 11.10. Fedora pulls in all of the very latest kernel/Mesa/DDX patches into each Fedora release (including updates later on), and they do contribute much upstream work towards the various drivers and components, but Canonical developers do not and are much more conservative with their driver stack.
Lightsmark, however, was broken for Nouveau in Fedora 16 with this latest code.
Ubuntu 11.10 was attempting to push ahead in the C-Ray ray-tracing benchmark.
The Smallpt results were largely indifferent.