Thanks to a fun personality quirk of mine I find myself re-imaging my MacBook Pro on a regular basis, so I figured documenting the process would be a brilliant idea. The goal is actually twofold: to streamline the process for myself and to provide a baseline for folks attempting to re-create any of my experiments on their own MBPs.
The directions which follow apply to my dual boot MacBook Pro, your mileage may vary...
Part One: The Leopard Half
Boot from the Leopard DVD and after choosing a language you'll be presented with the Mac OS X Installer welcome screen. We're going to ignore the installer for a moment while we set up the correct disk partitions.
~?Jump to step 2 if partitioning has already been done and you're simply reinstalling OS's~?
Run the Disk Utility found under the Utilities->Disk Utility toolbar menu. Highlight the main drive (149.1 GB Fujitsu) and click on the Partition tab. Use the Volume Scheme section to configure the partition layout you'd like to create. I prefer to make a 125GB Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and name it "Leopard", and leave the remaining as "Free Space".
After applying the changes you can exit the Disk Utility.
Click continue on the Mac OS X Installer welcome screen, then agree on the Software License pop-up, and when prompted for the install destination choose the MacBook's main drive (it most likely has a exclamation warning over it). Under options select the "Erase and Install" option with the default file system (Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Then click "Ok" followed by "Continue".
I no longer use the included X11 package and instead install Xquartz. More info can be found in my Essential Software for OS X article. ~^
After the install process, the computer will reboot. Complete the install process by following the prompts for Region, Keyboard settings, .Mac and Apple account information, and finally, account creation.
Now run the Software Update utility and restart the laptop.
Repeat step 5 as needed.
Install iLife '08 from recovery DVDs that were included with the MBP via the "Install Bundled Software Only" component (iMovie, iDVD, iPhoto; uncheck everything else)
Now run the Software Update utility until the OS is fully updated.
Congratulations! Your OS X base system is now installed and updated.
Now it's time to configure some System Preferences for, in my opinion, improving usability. Below are the most common ones I tweak but you may prefer the default settings; which I assume is why they call them Preferences...
Rename the laptop By default the OS name the laptop "Username's MacBook Pro" which is a bit wordy when you're working in a terminal window with the standard shell prompt.
You can change this under the System Preferences->Sharing tab.
Enable Secondary Clicks I love the feature of placing two fingers on the trackpad and clicking the trackpad button to activate a Secondary Click (aka Right Click).
You enable this by putting a check in the "Enable Secondary Clicks" box on the System Preferences->Keyboard + Mouse->Trackpad tab.
Shutoff Wireless Devices For the power saving benefit, as well as the extra security, I leave the wireless devices disabled until actually needed.
The AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radio can both be disabled through their corresponding icons in the OS X toolbar.
Other minor tweaks I usually do are related to visuals, like changing the desktop image, resizing and removing unnecessary icons from the dock.
Now its time to install the all important applications; check out my Essential Software for OS X article for a list of my favorite apps.
Part Two: The Kubuntu Half
Due to the recent popularity of Linux MacBook Pro's, I've created a separate article dedicated to installing Kubuntu on a Macbook Pro.