Ubuntu installs by default with the Gnome Desktop and other memory-intensive applications. So if you do not have a fast and powerful machine (Pentium 4 and 512 MB of RAM) your system will be quite slow. The following document explains the steps, how to install Ubuntu and a GUI on a low memory system, so that you can use it as a Workstation for your daily work. It is aimed to the average SOHO-user (Small Office/Home Office).
1 The Basesystem
Get Ubuntu CD-ROM see http://www.ubuntulinux.org/
After inserting the CD-ROM into the drive, boot and when asked to press Enter, type custom before. (Not linux custom!)