I installed vector's XFce package and am happy again.
Icons were missing. I copied over some directories of icons from my VL5.9 Deluxe partition on the same hard drive and now I have the icons I want.
Before I installed XFce I was in LXDE. I clicked on something and was offered the option to click on desktop to get a menu. I set it to do that, hoping it would work like XFce and give me the desktop menu (what you get from the "Start" menu on the taskbar), but instead I got a lame LXDE menu. I couldn't find a way to get rid of this and return to the behavior before I set it to get a menu with a desktop click. No matter to me, I won't be using LXDE, but if I were, I'd be upset that I couldn't get back to the prior behavior easily.
Now, in XFce--
I think others have mentioned that VASM isn't working right. If I click on the icon and select superuser, it asks for my password and just sits there forever. I was able to run it in a terminal. Also, the fonts are horrible and way too small for a person "of a certain age" like me.
The XFce Settings Manager had only a couple of icons before I copied over the contents of a couple of directories from my VL 5.9 partition.
I installed Opera from the opera.com Web site, as I always do (I don't use VL packages for that). When I tried to play some streaming audio (radio) Opera got stuck. I couldn't tell what was happening because I had no htop. I got things moving again by shutting down Opera processes with ps -e.
The only thing I could find to play music files was MPlayer, and it didn't work with a pls stream I listen to very often. I downloaded and installed RealPlayer so I could listen to the music. I'd like to have AmaroK back, also Xine.
I tried to set up my printers with VASM and CUPS. When VASM launched Firefox, I got a 404 for the CUPS page. After trying http://localhost:631/printers
I did get in, but it was the same look as we had off and on for the betas of 5.9 Standard, with all graphics missing. I did manage to set up my LJ4PS, but when I tried to install the PCL LJ4 and my Epson Stylus Color 760, I got "Unsupported format 'application/postscript'!" and nothing printed. Also, where are the printer drivers? All I got was one for PCL 4/5 and a generic Epson Stylus Color choice. I know this will be fixed--soon, I hope.
I MUST have Tuxcards and thought there was a package somewhere in the VL repos, but no luck. I also couldn't find tuxcards at slacky.it or linuxpackages.net. So I copied over the files from my VL 5.9 partition and Tuxcards is working fine.
I didn't try to set up my nfs home network yet. Will probably let that go till the next testing release. Internet connection is working fine. This is an easy computer to set up, though. The real test will come when I try to get wireless going on my laptop. It's way too early to test that out, as I have just one Linux partition on it and I can't risk having anything nonfunctional.
In my earlier message I mentioned having the ATI proprietary driver built but getting an error message. It turns out VL gracefully installed the xorg Radeon driver all on its own, which is why the GUI started without problems even though the proprietary ATI installation failed (as I expected it to, but tried anyway). This is a Radeon 9200 card. xorg picked up the 1280x1024 of my LCD monitor with no intervention from me.
Will report more as I test more. I think it's working quite well for the first public alpha.
A few more thoughts on Standard, Gnome, etc. I like the way Standard has been, not including Gnome or KDE except for whatever is necessary for applications like AbiWord, Gimp, Gnumeric, AmaroK, and K3B. Having packages in the repo for installing more of KDE suits me fine. I always add kdelibs and kdebase so I can have Konqueror for access to Windows partitions on other computers on the home network without having to set up Samba. I don't want all of KDE, just enough to run whatever KDE stuff I want to have. I'd like to do the same with Gnome but we haven't had packages in the repo and I had bad experiences with adding Dropline Gnome years ago and didn't do much with whatever Gnome was recommended after that.
I suggest having XFce as the default for Standard, with another lighter alternative included in the ISO. Then have packages for other desktops in the repo for those who want them. Include as much of KDE or Gnome as necessary for things like K3B (which I like very much), Gimp, etc. I see Standard as a not-too-heavy system that provides full function out of the box, with the capability of becoming whatever we want. KDE and Gnome should be available but not forced on us.
Thanks to everyone who is working on this! Thanks especially for XFce. I'm not sure I could have gone through the entire beta cycle if I had to use LXDE or Gnome.