My Mom has a G4 iMac 1GHz, the cool, swivel-flat screen model which I want to upgrade for her with a clean install of Leopard and some apps.

I'm wondering if I can create the startup drive here at home, before my visit, and then just clone* it over to her iMac via an external firewire drive. That way I can set it up a bit for her in advance and don't have to worry about bringing all my CD/DVDs with me.

So does the Mac that you're installing the OS from have anything to do with what files actually get installed? I've got a G5 2.5GHz DP desktop here and also an iBook G4 1.33GHz (closest thing to hers - even uses the same RAM), that I could use to install the OS with, using an external HD.

Does that sound like it would work? The plan would be to install the OS here, on a fresh HD, then boot from the external HD and add extra software like Skype, etc.