I don't know if there are better ways but, as you do, I use Gnome and KDE applications in Xfce for years (either Ubuntu +Xfce or Xubuntu) and, so far ,my system is still fast and incredibly stable.
i was using xfce back when it was 4.0 and 4.2 but switched to kde and later to gnome2. even when not actively using it, i always had an eye on xfce. caused by recent events with gnome3 i am back to xfce and i am happy with the most parts. i've was running xfce with xubuntu, arch and gentoo but i have to say i prefer gentoo since you can really choose about your xfce setup. i am currently running almost all of the applications on my gentoo system with gtk2 since i don't feel gtk3 to be stable outside of gnome3. the current situation is just a huge mess to me.
from my experience with xubuntu i can just say it feels more like some gnome2 version of xfce. this can be nice if you want it. but i don't really like the ubuntu way of handling things.
with arch, i always felt like fighting against gnome3 lately. even if you try to keep your system free of it, you'll end up having installed all almost of it and more and more apps depending on gtk3 which won't run to smooth with older themes. arch seems to be more focused on gnome3 then on any other DE. but this may just be my personal opinion.
if you like debian-based systems but want to avoid the hassle (is it ?) of installing debian manually,
then you could go along with a distro named SalineOS.
it is based on debian stable, comes with xfce 4.6.2 by default, has add-on software and MM codecs and looks pretty.
for further information.
Last edited by jens (2012-03-20 13:26:53)
Don't dismiss OpenSuSE.
The default desktop might be KDE, but you don't have to install it. During the install, look for Patterns or Groups. Uncheck KDE and click on XFCE.