(hopefully this posts to the correct thread since it was started before I re-subscribed, I tend to unsubscribe when I'm not able to pay attention to the mailing lists)
I'd probably either keep the latest stable TDE release, or I'd switch back to KDE 3.5 and use that for as long as I can get it to compile on my systems (and I'dmake my own packages). I might even make my own efforts to pick up where it left off once my programming skills were up to par.
Failing that, I'd probably fall back to Fluxbox. It has always been fast and stable on all my systems, and it is extremely difficult to work in unneeded dependencies due to it's minimalistic design/featureset and minimal dependencies (such as when package maintainers pull in GTK libs for KDE3/TDE with no qt-gtk-engine or GNOME stuff for Firefox/Iceweasel).
What I don't like about Fluxbox is the right-click root menu (I prefer that to be from my panel, such as with the KMenu/TMenu), and the lack of extra apps, such as file manager, PIM, etc. Another problem is the lack of icons on the desktop (this one is very minor since I'm rarely working with my desktop, and I can always use fbdesk or the likes). I usually end up using my KDE3/TDE apps from within Fluxbox, however.
My second choise would probably be LXDE. It already includes most of the components that I am used to having, and it (mostly) resembles my default KDE/TDE setup. The downside is that it doesn't include all the apps needed to fully replace my TDE desktop (the first thing that comes to mind PIM, such as email, calendar, and chat). Also, it looks a bit clunky. The default color scheme looks a bit off, as do some of the dialogs (either that, or my eyes just aren't used to the general theming and arrangement).
I guess the main reason I use TDE is for the available apps (everything I need is there, and more), the default theme is easy on the eyes, and I'm obsessed with tweaking.
The primary downside (for me) of TDE when compared to Fluxbox and LXDE is speed -- both Fluxbox and LXDE are faster with the initial loading, and with loading apps when my CPU is under stress; TDE apps are slow loading compared to LXDE when my CPU usage jumps up, but they are both roughly equal under light load. (I can do some testing on this and provide results once I have my new hard disk)
The only other disadvantage of TDE that I can think of is small screens. On a (now considered) small 1024x768 screen, I feel a bit cramped, but it's bearable; LXDE is slightly less cramped, and Fluxbox fits perfectly. Going smaller than that, it barely fits, even with all the tweaking I can do to fit things in. Only Fluxbox would be my choice in this situation (admittedly, I haven't tried LXDE with anything smaller than 1024x768). With netbooks out, this definately needs to be taken into consideration. Unfortunately, I don't use netbooks, so I won't be able to test any changes on smaller screens.
Ark Linux webmaster