I have a more-or-less embedded application in development that uses Linux as its OS. I get to specify the distro we use and had started with Ubunto 12.04. My applications, thankfully, are distro-independent terminal apps, and, I believe, so is most of the code from other developers. One guy though needs a graphical, web attached interface. Not sure if he is using a browser like Firefox or one that is built into Java, but it has to show graphics, still and (best answer) video.
I just can't feel that Ubuntu or even XUbuntu is my best choice for an OS. I keep wondering if one of the smaller images (Arch, DSL, etc.) or even Ubuntu in a lower runlevel, could work for me. I guess what I'm looking for is a Linux that comes up to a terminal interface (like a server OS) but can display graphics.
Is there such a beast? Perhaps someone could advise me on how to select my OS and perhaps how to better understand the graphics system on Linux - e.g. where does X stop and Gnome start. I know gnome is a desktop manager. Could I just turn that off? If I did, what would I see? How would I issue commands? Into a command prompt that show up instead of the desktop?