There are many variants of Ubuntu. One of them is Ubuntu JeOS where JeOS stands for Just enough Operating System. JeOS is a lean version of Ubuntu server and optimized for running in virtual machines like VMWare. But it can also be used to setup your own Ubuntu that matches your taste without extra luggage. I will get you started by showing you how to setup minimal GUI. Later you can make customizations by installing applications that you like. So lets get started.
Download Ubuntu JeOS
Download Ubuntu JeOS iso image from following url and install it either in VMWare or VirtualBox.
This part of guide can be used to install GUI on ubuntu server. First update your apt cache by issuing following command.
sudo apt-get update
You may install either xdm/gdm/kdm for login manager. Since xdm is lighter than others I prefer installing it.
sudo apt-get -y install xdm
Install core of gnome with out any extra baggage.
sudo apt-get -y install gnome-core
Install xorg since gnome needs it.
sudo apt-get -y install xorg
Your gui setup is now complete but since we didn't install any theme default desktop is not that eye friendly. Just install Ubuntu human theme by issuing following command.
sudo apt-get -y install human-theme
Start xdm by issing following command.
sudo /etc/init.d/xdm start
Your basic Ubuntu desktop now ready without extra baggage like open office and other applications. This basic setup works nicely in either VMWare or VirtualBox. Remember to install either VMWare or VirtualBox guest addons to speedup your virtual machine.
Art work used in this post is cc licensed and you can get it from flickr.