Which version of Ubuntu should I load on my laptop which has 768 MB RAM and just 40 GB hard drive space so that it runs smoothly and looks nice?
Probably LTS...– jeremyAug 16, 2013 at 21:14
Disk space should not be an issue; no version of Ubuntu takes up very much. RAM and CPU are bigger considerations. Please see How do I find out which version and derivative of Ubuntu is right for my hardware in terms of minimal system requirements? We can probably close this as a duplicate of that question.– Eliah KaganAug 17, 2013 at 14:34
The best Ubuntu variant for your system would be Lubuntu or Xubuntu. Xubuntu will do OK on that system (suggested specs), and it has a lot of nice features. Lubuntu will run even smoother (suggested specs), but it is more simplistic.
If you want even better performance but not-as-good support and software updates, you can try another distro such as SliTaz. I recommend Lubuntu and Slitaz to any user who needs a lightweight desktop. I dual boot SliTaz with Firefox, Flash, and Java downloaded from their respective websites, and Lubuntu, on an old Dell laptop and Slitaz runs like a beast, and Lubuntu huffs along to catch up but still does pretty well.
Lubuntu has no LTS version, but you can choose between 12.04 LTS and 13.04 with Xubuntu. If you're concerned about stability, then you have the option of receiving software updates for an extra year and a half with Xubuntu 12.04 LTS, but I recommend going with the latest release because it is better software and it's easy to upgrade as long as you have hardware that's well supported by the kernel.