Sorry for the delayed reply, been very busy.
When I said I wanted a panel on both screen, I meant something like what KDE has but since you're not a Linux person, you can think of the Windows 7 panel (which has the start button, the taskbar, notifications tray and a clock) but where Windows 7 only lets you have the panel on the primary display, I want it on both displays (and the taskbar on each panel to display programs that are running on that screen). The only alternative to the standard dock that OS X comes with that came close to what I wanted was uBar
but I could only get it to display on one of the screens instead of both of them (I was using a free trial, it costs $20).
I can't stand docks (on any operating system). I don't need that many applications permanently pinned to an edge of the screen, I need Netbeans or Ninja IDE along with Firefox and/or Chrom(e)(ium) and maybe one or more of GIMP, LibreOffice and a virtual machine. The whole concept seemed broken and wasteful to me and even when I removed all the unnecessary items from the dock and left only the ones I wanted, the windows of the same applications were still grouped together into a single item on the dock instead of having multiple entries despite acres of space (eg if I had 5 windows of Firefox, there was a single firefox icon which I had to click to get to a list of the windows that were open).
With focus-follows-mouse, I got it working through one of the terminal solutions but the experience was sub-optimal (at best). The unified menubar made it nearly impossible to use and in the end I just gave up. I did not come across BinaryBakery but that does seem interesting.
If I have to whip out XCode to roll my own solution, how is it different from what I have to do with Linux (where KDE has me covered on the GUI side of things but I need to faff around with config files to get hibernation working, probably won't be an issue if I bought a Dell with Ubuntu or a System 76)?
I understand that no OS can cater to everyones needs/wishes but I think this is not an improvement over what I have at the moment, it actually seems more painful. Won't you agree?