I'm trying to fix what I consider a bloated install of Ubuntu. When I install Ubuntu on a machine, I get things that I don't want - web browsers, office applications, media players, accessibility utilities, Ubuntu One, and so on. My goal is to create a way that I can have an install of Ubuntu that contains only the most minimal packages - the administrative tools and package manager, a GUI (my preference would be GNOME), a text editor, core drivers (video cards, network cards - wired and wireless, input devices), and anything else that I have to have to run a stable distribution. From there, I would like to pick and choose which packages I install to create my own customized system.
After playing around with other distros like Arch and Slackware, like how they provide a barebones install by default. However, I get trapped in a "configuration hell" - right now, I tried moving away from Ubuntu and to Arch, but after spending 6 hours with it, I still don't have a usable system. It's half configured and I don't have any usable software packages to enable me to work.
Is anything that can help me available? Either something like the OpenSUSE builder that lets you choose applications and packages for the CD, an advanced installation mode where I can choose the packages to install and which to ignore, or a guide on how to strip Ubuntu down to its bare bones?
And I suppose a natural follow up to this is once I have a stripped down Ubuntu, will this affect updating at all? When Canonical releases the next version of Ubuntu, I don't want any bloatware reinstalled. And yes, most of the applications that come with Ubuntu, I simply don't use. Ever.