This may seem slightly askew from the current conversation but hear me out.
So far, with what builds I've made for myself, I have been able to "strip" the entire build down to just bare essentials just by removing apps from the /system/app or /data folder BEFORE installing a build.
Non-essentials for me would be:
Google Search (same as built in search anyway)
Music (I tend to use a different player for this)
and any pre-installed apps that may come with the build.
LauncherPro plus is my launcher of choice, with eye candy enabled.
Of course this is a slightly different platform (HTC Kaiser), but should work the same way for HaReT or XAndroid builds as well. Also, some of the commands entered could be done with Terminal Emulator, giving you a POSIX terminal with "su" already enabled.
Just my $.02