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Related to my previous comment, what XFCE delivers is the simple fact that you can pretty much ignore the Desktop and just get on with work - it's that simple.
There's no flash whiz FX, no compiz, wobbly windows, 3D desktop changing - iow, no fluff.
Yes, those things are cool - cool for about 5 minutes, after which you find yourself wondering, why?
Do they enhance the UI in any way?
Do they increase your productivity?
Or do they just slow down the process of getting from A to B in the shortest time?
9 times out of 10, it's the latter.
If I want to switch between virtual desktops, I want to switch NOW, I don't want to see an effect that takes 2 seconds to play out.
Yes, I tinker with different desktops, because I find UID interesting (I'm a web developer), but to get my work done all that matters is speed, simplicity and continuity.
XFCE has it's problems, it's not perfect, but I vastly prefer it to Gnome or KDE because it focuses on the tasks at hand.
I don't need a multitude of menus and configuration options, I simply need a launchpad for the applications I use on a day to day basis.
compiz works on XFCE.
I like cool looking desktop and I use xfce.
You can do anything with xfce. You can configure it so as to look exactly like gnome or kde. You can even start kde or gnome daemons at boot. To me, the difference is clean design. KDE and Gnome are so big progect that they tend to over-engeneer. Why the hell do you need CORBA to change the color of the background? It's just extreme over-engeneering. XFCE implements all the functionalities with straight design and the result is that it is consistant, fast, reliable and simple to use.