First, I want to make it clear that I fully appreciate that it's your computer and you are entitled to do anything you want with it. So it's fine with me if you want to stick with VL6 Standard.
I must say I still don't understand. "Not the same utilities, icons, panel(s), theme, nothing like VL Standard." I don't remember exactly what XFce was like in what came with Standard. I think it was version 4.4-something and after some months with that, I upgraded to version 4.6.1 from the VL testing repo. It also installs the Tango icons. I never noticed a lot of difference and certainly couldn't say "nothing like VL Standard." The differences were almost unnoticeable. You can choose what set of icons you want, and of course, you can change individual icons for programs and launchers to anything you want. Same for themes. The Panel utilities are different because the utilities for 4.4 cause problems or don't work right in 4.6. I never was a big user of Panel utilities, but I think most of them are not that important or can be replaced by something else that isn't a Panel utility. One thing that is noticeably different is the Desktop menu ("Start" menu). You have an extra click in that you need to select Applications in order to get to settings that were included on the starting Desktop menu in XFce4. I found that a bit annoying, but I felt I gained more with 4.6.1 than I lost. I no longer remember what I got with 4.6.1 that I didn't get with 4.4.
I never had the impression that "they" (VL devs) did that much with XFce 4.4. When I look at XFce's Web site, the "generic" XFce seems about the same as what comes with VL--and that was true back with 4.4, too. Given how much you can bend XFce to your liking, I've always figured I could make my Panel be whatever I preferred, put it where I wanted it, populate it with launchers and other Panel items as it suited me, and add and remove whatever New Items were provided (and most of them weren't things I cared about but they were available). I always remove the Pager, as I don't find it necessary and it takes up lots of space on the Panel. I always leave a sliver of space on the right edge of the screen so I can center-click and get the list of workspaces and what's running on them. I remove the Exit icon from the panel. I can easily get to that with a right-click on my desktop sliver that is always available. I use panel Launchers as "drawers" with each one offering several programs in that category when I click on the arrow to the right of the Launcher. In XFce 4.4, you had more choices about where the arrow could go. In XFce 4.6, it goes to the right. I've never seen the point of Wbar, unless one wants a Mac-ish look.
Again, I state with certainty that XFce 7 Standard will give you what you get now with XFce 4.6.1 or 2, so unless you want to stick with the past way longer than you should, you'd better get your mind ready for a big change. Why not create a partition for VL 7 a3 and help us out with testing? Your feedback is most valuable. It's amazing what bugs turn up depending on individual hardware and software. The more people who test, the more bugs will be discovered and swatted before the final version comes out. There are A LOT of changes in VL 7. The updated libraries do break some things and we need to know what happens.
That's also why you can't update VL6 Standard with the latest libraries. VL 6 SOHO includes these newer libraries. Some programs won't work with the old libraries, for example, the latest Scribus. SeaMonkey is also a problem and apparently can't be compiled on VL6 Standard and Light.
>> You've got to understand, I'm the kind of person who doesn't like change. >>
Change is an inevitable part of life.<g>
Anyway, I'm glad you're happy with Standard. I loved it for many months and couldn't imagine anything better, but once I discovered I could install XFce on the beta SOHO I was testing, I had to admit SOHO offered advantages. I continued with SOHO and XFce through all the Release Candidates and am thrilled to have XFce included with SOHO Deluxe. So right now I can't imagine anything better than SOHO Deluxe with XFce--but I doubtless will change my mind as VL7 firms up.
Everyone reading this--
If you haven't beta tested upcoming versions of VectorLinux, I think you'll be amazed at how stable they are even early in the testing cycle. All it takes is a partition (15 gigs or so is roomy enough for use, or 10 gigs just for testing) dedicated to the version you're testing. After it's installed, you can boot it with the installation CD if you're concerned about modifying your boot loader. More testers mean more bugs discovered and more ideas about how to improve the release while there's still time to evaluate them and possibly implement them.