In terms of Fedora 17 x86_64 (with all available updates as of yesterday) on the 2010 MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i5 520M "Arrandale" CPU, it too was burning through power like crazy. While OS X 10.8 was idling at 9 Watts and Ubuntu 12.10 was idling at 21 Watts, the updated Fedora 17 installation was at 22 Watts under idle. With the multi-threaded C-Ray workload where OS X was at ~46 Watts and Ubuntu at ~61 Watts, here Fedora 17 was at ~58 Watts. So it's just not Ubuntu (or the Compiz/Unity desktop) to blame for poor Linux power consumption.
The updated Fedora 17 installation was on the Linux 3.5 kernel, GNOME Shell 3.4.1, X.Org Server 1.12.3, and GCC 4.7.0. To also dispel any myths about Ubuntu performance relative to other Linux distributions on the Apple MacBook Pro, I also ran through a portion of the same benchmarks that were done on Ubuntu 12.04/12.10 and OS X 10.8, but with this updated Fedora 17 installation.
The numbers aren't too exciting or different, so head on over to OpenBenchmarking.org to find them. These are just results from the 2010 MacBook Pro and for OS X 10.8 (the OS X 10.7 and 10.6 results were dropped from this comparison) and a sub-set of the original tests, so you still need to see the original Phoronix article from yesterday for the full Linux vs. OS X findings.
You can run your own performance comparison to this data by running phoronix-test-suite benchmark 1208245-RA-MACBOOKFE43 with the open-source multi-platform Phoronix Test Suite software.
If you appreciate such testing and would like to see articles with more in-depth examinations, please subscribe to Phoronix Premium for viewing entire articles on single pages and without any advertisements, make a PayPal tip and leave a comment with any feedback or future comparisons you would like to see, and/or disable AdBlock when viewing Phoronix. Nearly all of the content produced on Phoronix is done single-handedly and obviously these comparisons are quite time-intensive along with Apple hardware being costly. Also follow Phoronix on Facebook and on Twitter via @Phoronix and @MichaelLarabel.