Hi I'm Steve I. Just a little intro & background to say hello-
I've been using computers on & off since DOS 2.0 on an 8088 box in 1988, and through all the variants of Windows from 3.1 through XP sp3 (though I am no guru or programmer by a long shot). Gave up Windoze like a bad habit when my XP crashed & burned (for good) in 2008, ironically while downloading my first copy of Linux! Started with Ubuntu 8.04 (which ran fine on my P4) until bloat weighed down the newer releases. I use more modern hardware for daily workhorse use, but stuck with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS to avoid the Unity debacle. When support ended in April of this year I switched to Mint 13/Mate because I prefer the traditional (Gnome 2.x-like) desktop environments.
I learned the hard way not to depend on a laptop as one's main hardware. (Have had three die in the last four years, but have never had a desktop box go belly-up;- I assume it's heat-related issues). Needing to have backup hardware to avoid downtime if my current laptop dies, I set up an Asus Aspire One netbook with Puppy Linux 528 and XFCE, since Ubuntu 10.4 was running like a snail on it a (as well as no longer being supported).
***The performance is unbelievable*** I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the small size of Puppy and the OS running totally in RAM, but due to the low specs of the machine I wanted the lightest desktop environemnt that was still familiar/comfortable and did not have too steep a learning curve. Xfce hit the proverbial nail on the head. I tried running just the Openbox window manager, but it was a little too "bare bones" for me (though it *is* very powerful in terms of what can be done).
I like having panels with my oft-used programs/applications/settings/launchers available just a mouse-click away, as well as constantly-visible system monitoring. (Having the CPU temperature monitor on my main work laptop saved it from a meltdown recently when the vent holes got clogged with dust and the temp was up to 92 degrees C!). Also, knowing what the CPU, hard drive and network are doing lets me know if something is just taking its time or if there is a problem.
****Xfce was easy to set up, intuitive enough that I did not have to spend much time Googling for help, and customizable enough that I feel right at home on it the first day. I have no need for eye candy (transparency, cubes, etc.), but Xfce still manages to look very nice & polished.****
I can't wait to set up the indestructable old P4 box (2.4 MHz, 2 GB RAM) with Xfce on Mint and see how it does performance-wise.
Props to all the developers for a job well done! Long live Xfce...