John Cowan commented that a fully-fledged desktop OS was a strange choice as the base (host) OS for running VMware (Server). So why do I use a full SUSE Linux 10.1 installation with GNOME, rather than a minimal installation?
There are a couple of things to think about here. Only a small minority of people currently run Linux on their laptop. As such, you don't get Linux distributions that specifically target laptops (although SUSE Linux is a pretty good choice, because it traditionally has good support of a wide variety of hardware). Of the people who run Linux on their laptops, a tiny minority run VMware (Server, Workstation, etc.). So, the market for a stripped down OS that runs on laptops and supports VMware is so diminishingly small that I don't expect to see a suitable release for a while yet. It may happen as VMware and its rivals (Xen, etc.) get more market share, but I'm not aware of it having happened yet.
Now, I could run VMware on Windows XP, as many people do, but you can't get a stripped down version of Windows XP either (tell me if I'm wrong). What I find from my own empirical tests is that a SUSE Linux 10.1 GNOME installation is less resource-hungry than a Windows XP Pro installation. In addition, if I want, I can run SUSE Linux in plain X-Windows mode without loading the GNOME stuff into memory, which consumes even less host resources. So Linux gives me choices that Windows doesn't.
I could have installed SUSE Linux without GNOME, and just used plain X-Windows for the base (host) OS, but I didn't. I like the GNOME desktop, I find it much easier to use than plain X-Windows, and disks are so big now that I can live with all of the GNOME applications that get installed, even though I'm not using them. It's not even worth my time to go through and uninstall them. If someone does a version on SUSE Linux with a stripped down GNOME installation (i.e. a minimal application set), I'll seriously consider using it. Until then, it isn't a big enough issue to do otherwise. Not for me, anyway.