I once advised someone to remove a package that depends on ubuntu-desktop meta-package, if she didn't need it (EG: if one uses a different editor than gedit). Someone else said that doing so (removing gedit which will in turn remove ubuntu-desktop) could break things. Is this true? Are there any other potential problems?
Removing the meta-package usually will not be a problem until you try to upgrade your system, but I would advise against it. Removing gedit and some of the other standard applications can also be problematic - if other programs depend on them. It is best that you leave them in place unless you know what you are doing. If you want to build your own minimal custom system, try using ubuntu-minimal.