Don Hart commented elsewhere on one of the kit lenses, I think it may have been the 14-45, saying something like it didn't get rave comments but it really just kept delivering the shots and was an underestimated lens. I know I haven't got the quote right but I think (hope) I captured the spirit of it.
I feel the same way about the 17. People keep saying how bad it is, and I'm happy to admit that the tests show it's the worst M43 prime when it comes to the things that tests measure, but then I also see people saying that we have no bad native lenses in M43. I'll agree with that too, which just happens to mean that the worst M43 prime we have as far as tests go is actually not a bad lens.
It was the first prime I bought and I find I keep underestimating it. I know it isn't as sharp as my other primes but then I get things right on a particular shot with it on the camera and it's sharp enough, and the shot just looks great. It does a nice job with colour and contrast, and I love the FOV which is why I bought it.
It's the lens which tends to spend more time on my camera than any other, despite the fact that I also own the 12/25/45 trinity. The reason for that is the pancake size. It means I can put the camera in the shoulder bag I carry when I'm out and about doing the other things I do when I'm not taking photos and I've got a camera I love and want to use with me. For the kind of things I'm likely to shoot with it when I do pull it out of the bag I usually am not concerned about getting the highest resolution possible. It's a good but not great "serious photography" lens and it's a great snapshot lens.
And this is the sort of shot I bought it for:
This was taken wide open while I was stuck at traffic lights on my way out at sunset one night last week. I was going out to dinner at a friend's and I just loved the colours in the sky. Resolution wasn't an issue. The E-M5 with the 17 was in my shoulder bag on the passenger seat next to me. It just captured the feel of the moment which is what I wanted.
I'm happy to acknowledge the 17's weaknesses but, as others have said, we don't have any bad native lenses. It's not a great lens, it doesn't do everything well. What it does do well, it does a very nice job with and what it doesn't do well it doesn't do badly at. The 17 has its limits but within those limits it can deliver great shots and I think it deserves a better reputation that it has.
I also have to add that I expected to notice it's weaknesses more on the E-M5 but when I look at what I've taken with it on the E-M5 I come away thinking that it actually does a better job on the E-M5 than it does on my E-P3 and I was more than happy with what it was doing there. I'm not noticing its weaknesses any more than I did on the E-P3 and it's strengths in terms of things like colour and contrast seem to come across even better. I had thought about just leaving it on the E-P3 and making that my dedicated shoulder bag camera but that hasn't worked out. It gets put on the E-M5 and that goes in the shoulder bag instead when I'm out and about.
If someone bought out a better native 17 lens, would I buy it? If it were a pancake with better resolution and an F/2 or better maximum aperture, I'd buy it in a flash, I like the FOV and the lens size that much. But it's also the FOV and the size that are a very large part of the 17's attraction for me. If it were a larger size lens, say the size of the PL 25, then maybe. I can already cover that range with the 12 and the 25 so it would have to be a very good lens to make me duplicate the 17 which I'd want to keep and continue using just because of its size and handiness as a general carry around option. It simply does a great job of doing what I bought it for.