The process is simple and relatively harmless for the OS
Users with low-end hardware might want to disable GTK animations on their systems in order get a performance boost, or because they just don't like them.It's not uncommon for people to want a performance increase by disabling some features they find to be useless, in their operating system. The following procedure will disable all GTK animations in the distribution.
In Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) go to your mount point, usually the Home directory, hit Ctrl-H to see all hidden files, and create the file .gtkrc-*.0 (where * stands for the GTK version you have installed.)
It's important to see the hidden files because the file you are trying to create might already be there. Regardless, open the file in a text editor and add the following line:
gtk-enable-animations = 0
You must Log-off and Log-on in order for the command to work. If you have created the file and you want to get the animation back, just delete the file. If the file was already there, just delete the line you have added.
This process can be used on other distributions as well, and it will probably work in the soon to be launched Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal).
Keep in mind that this command will also remove the fading animation from the wallpaper slideshow.
Do not remove any other files you find after revealing the hidden files in the Home folder; they are hidden for a good reason. If there's a file present that has the same name with the one you are trying to create, do not delete it in order to create a new one. Just edit the existing one.
The file .gtkrc-*.0 doesn't need to be edited as root, so just open it with any text editor you have installed in Ubuntu 12.04.1 (the default application is gedit).