I had been trying out the beta version of Snowlinux E17 and then saw that the RC had been released about a week ago. There were improvements from the Beta version, and the RC looks fully functional to me, so the final release should be quite nice.
I am not an expert with the E17 desktop. I played around with it a bit on Puppy Linux, then later on Bodhi. I can't say exactly why but E17 feels much more usable and intuitive to me on Snowlinux, perhaps it is their setup, or the desktop has matured a bit from when I last tried it.
A few of things excite me with this release. First, we are using Wheezy Debian rather than Debian Stable like the other Snowlinux Debian releases. With Snowlinux's Debian Stable Xfce I was not as impressed because my wireless firmware was missing out of the box, but with this E17 Wheezy release my wireless is ready to go. And at this point Wheezy is nearly as solid as Debian Stable yet with updated software and kernel.
I must admit that the only lightweight desktop that I use regularly on my hardware is Xfce, and I almost don't consider it lightweight because it is so feature rich. Yet E17 is knocking my socks off on Snowlinux. I could see myself using this as my regular desktop, very impressive.
OK, so what don't I like? My touchpad tap doesn't work out of the box, I can probably get it working though. The temperature widget doesn't work for me, so I sidestepped it and added psensor. The fonts don't completely suck, but they aren't great, though that is probably more Debian than Snowlinux's fault, and I will list a fix for this below. I don't know why they tweaked it this way or if it is an actual bug, but there are no minimize/maximize/close buttons on the Firefox browser. The only way I could see to close it was with the menu. Also there are no buttons on the panel showing open windows, but you can add that from the settings on the panel. My guess is they expect you to watch the launcher at the bottom to see what apps are opened, but kudos that the buttons are available for the panel in the settings. A few other things to note, you will probably need to add some codecs as well as flash and perhaps MS fonts from the package manager as they do not come out of the box with Snowlinux.
To greatly improve your fonts in Snowlinux E17:
God bless the person who came up with that simple fix. The system fonts on Snowlinux are not greatly improved by it, but your web pages are going to look much better. I don't know why Debian just doesn't get over itself and use Ubuntu's font config files.
OK, what do I really like? This iteration of E17 has just made it my favorite ultra-lightweight desktop environment, usurping LXDE. For a small desktop E17 is feature rich. It feels lightweight, runs lightweight and cool, but wow, you can really tweak this thing, and it pretty much stands up feature wise to the bigger desktops. I really like the launcher, it holds its own against some of the nicer launchers I've used. E17 has a good settings gui, and many things can be done by simply right-clicking. I would like to see it get a weather widget, and to see its temp widget working, but other than that I can find little fault with this desktop. As for Snowlinux itself, I wonder where they have been hiding? They have been climbing on Distrowatch, and they are doing good work, but they need to be given more attention and a closer look by Linux users. I like that their Debian versions use basically the same installer as Linux Mint Debian and SolusOS. Hands down it beats the daylights out of Debian's installer. I like that Snowlinux focuses primarily on Debian Stable for their releases, and am looking forward to seeing their work next year with the New Debian Stable. And finally, I really like that they used Wheezy Debian for this E17 release as it shows how nice their upcoming New Stable versions should be.
Snowlinux E17 has impressed me greatly. I didn't really have high expectations. I knew E17 could look nice, but it always seemed a bit buggy and glitchy in the past, yet this release feels quite solid, and on top of Debian Wheezy I just don't know how E17 could be better matched up. Keep in mind that this is the RC release, there may be improvements before the final release, but as it stands, Snowlinux E17 is looking very good and I will be watching these guys as I'm a fan of Debian, especially when it is made user friendly. Snowlinux E17 is 100% Debian compatible which means you don't have to worry about fooling with the repositories. Edit: Actually the sources are set to Testing, which makes it a rolling release, some quick editing by changing "testing" sources to "wheezy" will get you headed for the New Stable next year. Also note that with some help from the Snowlinux forum I quickly got my touchpad working.
Snowlinux E17--Nice Job Guys!