This weekend I successfully updated a few dozen sites of all shapes and sizes from DNN 9.3.2 to DNN 9.4.4. It is a very strong release, and I want to thank all of the volunteers who have contributed so much of their time, skills and sweat in getting the Community Edition to a much better place than it has been in a LONG time.
In regards to the Persona Bar issue -- gettable console error; missing menus; just the DNN logo displaying at the top of the column -- I've narrowed it down to an installed module. So far, all of the DNN installations that exhibit this issue for me are running DnnSharp's SearchBoost 05.00.130 ("Tested Hotfix" version). Incidentally, updating SearchBoost to v05.00.141 ("Dev Version") fails to correct the issue. Everything upgrades successfully and there are no errors in the DNN logs, IIS logs, or Windows Server logs. But, the file /DesktopModules/Admin/Dnn.PersonaBar/Resources/LocalResources.en-US.resources never gets updated to the new version.
I hope this is helpful to others who are seeing this issue. DnnSharp has this notice posted on their site: "Please note that currently our products are not fully compatible with DNN v9.4. We are in the process of fixing all the compatibility issues but, for the moment, we recommend waiting for a more stable platform release." I disagree with their statement that we should "wait for a more stable platform release."