upgrade to enlightenment
no matter which distro i use, i always upgrade my desktop to enlightenment e16. only that's been around since the early 90's.
1) 100% of desktop available, i.e. no task bar / drag bar (perfect for smaller screens)
2) multiple desktops that are a breeze to handle. so work in one, email in another, browse in another... (again perfect for smaller screens)
3) everything you want is a just *single* mouse click away. that includes normal applications like firefox to system admin applications. you can also configure your own menu and sub-menus.
4) minimized windows vanish (when the boss is around) but are a mouse click away when they're gone.
apart from windowmaker, and fvwm2 which come close in functionality, i have yet to see another desktop as functional and user friendly.
also all i need to do is tar my rc files and after a new install and a few tweaks, i am back to the familiar interface.
and for a desktop that trumps all other desktops in terms of features, and looks, it's also extremely lightweight. which means more cpu/ram available for running more applications simultaneously in all those multiple and virtual desktops.