I just installed Ubuntu 12.04 on my laptop. My screen is quite small, and I think that the netbook desktop (something like this) would be better. Is it possible to switch to netbook desktop on Ubuntu 12.04? If so, how is that done? (Or have I understood it all wrong...?)
That desktop option is not available since Ubuntu 11.04.
The Ubuntu Netbook Edition was introduced in Ubuntu 8.04, since Ubuntu 10.10 started using Unity the Netbook interface was set aside as an option only and since Ubuntu 11.04 you cannot install it anymore.
Unity should adapt it self for your screen's resolution and most of the times it looks nice enough to use it. If you do not agree and you need something more sleek maybe Kubuntu with it's Netbook plasma desktop is something to consider
At least you will be running the latest Ubuntu has to offer.
For netbooks I'll better prefer on netbook usage, EasyPeasy Ubuntu flavor which supports cloud computing and less resources usage with a better and more reliable Desktop and great GUI. EasyPeasy is what really you need as netbook desktop.
Link to download page: http://www.geteasypeasy.com/get-easypeasy/