Re: Minty and PAE @Bullard
I'm not suggesting that the default installation disks ship with a default non-PAE kernel. I like your idea of making it a boot option, but the kernel would then have to have both the PAE and non-PAE code compiled in. I don't think it's written this way. It's a conditional compile time option.
But the real problem is that if the kernel that boots off the media to install the system is a PAE kernel, you cannot even start the install process on a system that does not flag PAE as an option.
It would be possible to make it an install-time option. Boot using a non-PAE kernel, and install a PAE kernel during the installation, although the kludged version of Grub or whatever it is that used by the no-PAE install process that is on one of the support threads does give an alternative, although whether this really works on a processor without PAE at all, rather than one that just lies about not having it is debatable.
Where I really do have a problem with Canonical is that post 12.04, there is no non-PAE kernel in the repositories. This seriously complicates the process of putting together a modified boot image (as was done with the alternate Xubuntu 12.04 install disk) to give you a chance to install it on older hardware.
If you really don't have a PAE capable processor (like a Banias Pentium M in a Thinkpad T40, 41 or 42), then to install any *buntu post 12.04 it will be necessary to find a PAE capable host system you can install, pick-up the kernel sources, compile them, and then insert the resultant kernel into some distribution medium to allow you to install your Thinkpad (other packaging methods are available).
This is not going to be suitable for your average Joe User. It would have been minimal work, and not a lot of maintenance, for one Canonical employee to maintain a non-PAE kernel, and package an alternate install image to put on their site, like they used to. My view is that Canonical want to leave behind their Linux legacy to a world where they ship the Unity OS, that may still be based on some form of Linux, a bit like OSX is built on some form of BSD.
Me, I'm looking at buying a cheap T43 with a Dothan processor or maybe a T60 to replace my T30 which finally died at Christmas. ThinkWiki says that this should have PAE.