I am using this howto to build a minimalist openSUSE 11.1 system. But rather than GNOME, I wanted to use LXDE. But then I went and read this thread and this thread and I got scared off. They strongly suggest that the LXDE panel is really unstable in 11.1 and if I want a stable version, I will have to compile it myself. I am new enough to linux that I have never compiled anything from source and I don't think a new distro is the place to start.

Any suggestions? For example, an independent panel with minimal dependencies to replace the LXDE panel? By preference, I would like packages I can install with either zypper or yast2, because I am very new to openSUSE.

Or should I just use Debian Lenny netinstall to build a minimalist distro with LXDE?