A new minimal Ubuntu ISO image is under development for the Ubuntu 23.04 Lunar Lobster release.
Answering a question from an Ubuntu user about the possibility of a minimal Ubuntu ISO image, the developers confirmed that an official minimal ISO image (less than 200MB) is under development. The said work is already underway and has progressed a lot. The plan is to introduce an alternate minimal installer for the upcoming Ubuntu 23.04 Lunar Lobster release.
Ubuntu desktop minimal ISO images
Canonical/Ubuntu never officially supported any minimal ISO images. There was some unofficial legacy minimal ISO images of Ubuntu during Ubuntu 18.04 days. But they have all been discontinued. Considering the popularity of Ubuntu Linux, the unavailability of a minimal installer is a deal breaker for some.
Although there are Ubuntu server images and cloud images, but they are a little complex to set up for your desktop use cases.
For example, you have only one option if you want to create a minimal Ubuntu desktop with only a GNOME session and basics without using the official desktop installer. You need to install the Ubuntu server as a base and start building up a desktop without server components.
On top of that, Debian already provides minimal ISO (i.e. netinst), which is easy to use and can be customized to any extent. But a similar option with an official Ubuntu desktop flavour is a good idea to build up your system as needed (without snap or other items).
As per the conversation in the mailing list, the ubuntu-mini-iso will be 140 MB in size, and it requires the internet to download several packages over the network. It will prompt with menu items which you want to download. I guess it will be similar to the Ubuntu server menu.
Likewise, all the official flavours of Ubuntu may feature a “minimal” flavour. However, I am not sure how that would become minimal when you include a desktop environment. Xubuntu developer Sean Davis announced that a minimal Xubuntu image is already under development and available to download as a daily build.
So, overall it’s an exciting move from Canonical. If all goes well, you can actually build your own Ubuntu using this ISO. You can add only “gnome-session”, remove Snap, install Firefox from the Debian repo and add whatever package you want. That would be a nice minimal Ubuntu desktop.
Ubuntu 23.04 BETA is planned for March 30, 2023; the final release is expected on April 20, 2023. That’s when you get to try the minimal-ubuntu-iso.
Via mailing list;