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I would really like to see CDE as it is, absolutely minimal touch on the visual side (maybe antialiased fonts). On the backend though it should be buildable with modern tools and modern compilers and maybe refactor the architecture to remove things that were neccessary on its day.
Then again the only thing I don't like about CDE is the taskbar
The front panel is one of the features that I found most appealing when I first encountered CDE. In fact the Xfce panel reminds me of CDE. I would probably be using Xfce today except for lack of single click on the desktop; which was finally fixed in 4.10.
I've been looking at old sreenshots and it reminds me quite a bit of Magic Workbench for the Amiga. The color scheme and window controls are similar. I always wondered why there wasn't a type of MagicWB for Linux DEs....but I am a mega noob and there could be..
I, for one, am waiting for it and will support the effort however I can. I can't seem to find a DE for Linux that has everything I'm looking for in one package.