Great that Vec 6 is based on Slack 12.1. There are a ton of packages for 12.1!
The best practice is to use packages from the VL repos. There is not a "ton" of packages there, but the ones you want may be. If not, you can request a package in the New Package Requests section of the forum or compile it yourself. Things usually compile easily on VectorLinux.
Any idea if a Vec 6 64 bit will make it out? Not a stopper by any means, but I like using both CPUs that i paid for.
The 64-bit version is in early development. Testers are always welcome!<g> However, you probably wouldn't want 64-bit VectorLinux as your main OS at this time unless you like being on the bleeding edge. The 32-bit version of VL does use both of your CPUs if you have a dual-core processor. Two of my three VL computers have 64-bit dual-core processors and both processors are in use, as demonstrated by htop. It does make a performance difference even with 32 bits.
Is it easy to upgrade to the latest XFCE? I like XFCE, Fluxbox and Windowmaker.
The default environment for VL6 Standard is a pretty recent version of XFce. I think a newer version is in the repos, but I find the version included with Standard entirely satisfactory. Also installed with VL6 Standard if you want it is LXDE, which I think is a bit lighter than XFce. I haven't used it much. VL6 Light comes with IceWM as its default. IceWM is very nice but takes more hand configuring than XFce. IceWM is very light and very customizable. JWM is also included in the VL6 Light ISO. It is even lighter than IceWM. Fluxbox is in the repos and I think Windowmaker is, too, along with some others. You can add as much of KDE and Gnome as you want from the repos, so even if you don't want a KDE desktop, you can still run some KDE programs you like.