Yes, the panel is in front by default, but can be fixed by doing this:
right click on the shelf you want it to NOT be overlapped when maximizing a window, then go to > shelf x > Shelf Configuration > Advanced (on the new pop up window)
Now under 'stacking’ on the top left of the window uncheck ‘Allow windows to overlap’ > apply
(When it says shelf x, there will be a number where x is, which specifies which shelf your using)
Its funny all the people I know that have used it has their usplash working, but it is quite ugly and low res, which could be the problem. I think beta 2 will be a lot better. E17 is quite good, OZOS is very, very stable and is a xubuntu hacked e17 distro. I haven't had any crashes and the same to many others, I wonder why you have had crashes.
E17 is not buggy at all if you use the right CVS, the OZOS CVS has taken out a lot of rubbish, which has a result of it being very stable. E17 isn't just completely finished, for example there is no button to import startup themes, they have to be inserted into the directory instead. E17 is quite usable, I find it useful. People have this stereotype about e17 because there hasn't been any perfect E17 distros and thats what Maryan is aiming for, elive put me of for a little while until I had the guts to try OpenGEU
Its the developers first time making an e17 distro and I'm quite impressed for it being his first time. E17 is the hardest DE to work with when developing a distro, thats why there aren't many distros and also because of that stereotype. I'll make another announcement on this thread once the beta 2 is comes out. Hope you can help us out later on, you seem to be very good with testing