With Gnome 3 gutting its way into Debian Testing, I decided it was time to move to a different DE, I've given a try to pretty much every DE in the past, but have stuck with Gnome because resources aren't all that much of an issue for me, and I like its style.
But with that said, I must say I am overly delighted in coming back to Xfce, as it's been quite a while. Memory usage is down, everything runs smoother, launches faster, etc.
I don't hate Gnome 3, though I despised it at first, after giving it a few weeks trial, I actually like it, however I like it in the sense that it's a new direction. It's pretty, and simple, it's going to attract new users. However my workflow still lives with the traditional top panel and a dock on the bottom.
From what I've seen so far, Xfce is more than suitable for my purposes. The only issue I have is, I need an audio manager more akin to the one in Gnome, where I can change my default input and output device, and change volume for individual applications. Is this possible without installing the Gnome settings application, which requires all those Gnome libraries? Really appreciate the help.
I have that by installing pulseaudio* (which gives individual apps volume controls) and pavucontrol, then set the mixer panel applet to open pavucontrol on click.
* I installed it directly so I don't have alsa-base and alsa-utils.