Last weekend I got the newest E17 available via Ebuntu to try it out, and I can say it has made quite an improvement since the last time tried it.
Some of the things I was missing are there now, like the taskbar, and other things are just easily configurable to fit my needs. I was able to make that panel look similar to what I am used to (it’s called a shelf in E17). The only thing missing from there is a system tray which I need for some apps, so I added “trayer” which creates that panel at the top, though always half empty right now.
I like this enough to be using it for a few days now. It’s got some decent yet not too resource hungry eye candy (like animation of those launchers) and is yet quite fast. Since it’s agnostic to either GTK and QT apps it doesn’t matter which you run. I set xfce-mcs-manager to run at startup of E17 to have themed GTK apps.
This screenshot shows Thunar file manager, xfce4-terminal without borders and menus below it and a great run command dialog which supports tab completion as well as shows applications below as you type. You can press the up button to get the latest commands ran, like I did in this shot.