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Google around a bit about 'Damn Small Linux' otherwise known as 'DSL'. From what I've read, if you boot the live CD with the two options toram and eject, it will load entirely into RAM, and eject the CD when fully booted. This assumes you have enough RAM, and I didn't get that far in my research to know how much RAM is enough.
Puppy Linux **might** be able to do this (and maybe others too, but) but I only researched about DSL.
Googled it - there's a Wiki page that shows how to do it, but it's by no means straightforward or supported. It says you need at least a gig of RAM, which is not a given. OP, DSL is probably your best bet, unless you want this to be a bunch harder.
Thanks again, toram is what I was looking for, using DSL. Also came across 'Copy2ram' on PCLOS2009. Think I'll stick with the lightweight, only have 2gb RAM to work with. Haven't tried under Ubuntu (yet).
So now i've gotta figure out how to get the wireless going. ...