If you like the looks and features of Ubuntu 9.04, but want a lighter, swifter version of it, try this minimalist installation that can knock memory usage down by up to 75 percent.
Ubuntu Forums user TheShiv likes to build his system from the ground up, and doesn't like a lot of software and services he'll never use. So he installs a core, bare-bones system from either the Ubuntu Server Edition CD or a Minimal CD, then, when he gets access to a command prompt and he's wired to the internet (presumably through a LAN cable, though perhaps wireless works as well), he uses two or three commands to install enough features to get a working desktop, but very little that won't be used day to day.
TheShiv frames his installation as a script you can copy, save, and run, but users could also just copy the sudo apt-get -y install commands he has listed at the link below. It's been linked to by a few approving Ubuntu heads, and seems like a pretty good way to get a lower-memory, but still GNOME-based, Ubuntu-based system running. Got another/better installation script to point us to? Pass the link along in the comments. HowTo Achieve "Ubuntu-Desktop-Minimal" [Ubuntu Forums]