Special thanks to Hootiegibbon and his RAW edition which is what inspired me to try a skeletonized edition with gnome for the DE. http://www.gamefront.com/files/21067432/zen-skeletor.iso
md5sum: 8b03f1be0fd67ea7d1be3939b9d9ba7a zen-skeletor.iso
This a direct cutdown of Zen 11.11 rev.2, it's aim is to make a skeletonized iso that still has a full gnome system in place, so a user still has all the infrastructure, codecs, drivers etc. GDM and plymouth, have not been removed, but the default splash is now the verbose text fallback and initrd has been rebuilt, GDM is now using a plain color background instead of a jpg as is the desktop itself instead of wallpaper. Nautilus, panel, everything is on there, you just need to add programs, wallpaper, customizations. Here are the major removals:
zen icon theme
zen plymouth theme
Eclipse cursor theme
I took out some more superfluous themes and such, if you just have to have any of them back, just re-install the theme in Synaptic. Targeted a bunch more small areas, that cumulatively got it to the 300 mark.
Haven't even tested this as a livecd yet, that's why I say beta, and it's important to note, that this is for advanced users who know what they want and what they need. That being said, anybody should really be able to pick this up and trick out it out easily. Really just a matter of opening Synaptic and selecting what you want and changing colors to match whatever theme you choose to install.
Boy does this little gem boot fast on my machine, Plymouth really slows everything down. Idles around ~100 mb ram, well under 90 if you turn off some services and startup apps.
Let me know how it works!