I was recently trying to install Ubuntu 8.04 on an old Dell PowerEdge 2550. The normal Desktop or Server install CDs would error out at seemingly random points during the install. Internet searches showed that I wasn’t alone. I finally came across a solution that worked for me in a single forum:
The Ubuntu Minimal CD is tiny CD image (I burned it to a business card CD) that installs only the base Ubuntu system, then gives you options of what else to install by downloading from the internet. When I say “options”, I mean OPTIONS! You can check any desktop version you want, multiple server options, tons of choices.
I’m keeping that business card CD handy. If you have an internet connection on the machine, it becomes a universal install disk.