Virtual Machines have made possible development strategies which didnt exist so far.Using my Windows laptop, I can install Linux/Solaris/Or some other version of Windows to develop applications on that platform.This also has additional benefit that in case something goes wrong with the target platform, all you need to do is just copy the back up of VM or revert to a known snapshot. Simple! No formatting/re installation cycles:) A couple of weeks ago, I switched back to Windows (from Ubuntu). But I find Linux so fast and friendly that I still tend to do my coding under Ubuntu. For this I considered VMWare and VirtualBox.I have used VMWare in the past, it is very good and has many advanced features but it’s a resource hog. I would prefer to keep my CPU and disk activity as low as possible, so I set out to try VirtualBox (which now is a Sun company btw). VirtualBox takes a lot less disk space than VMWare, it can use existing VMWare images and provides almost equivalent functionality. It has decent audio, networking and USB support. Shared folders are useful feature too. However I couldn’t setup networking on my guest OS (Ubuntu 8.04).
I run Windows XP and Ubuntu as guest OS under my Windows XP laptop and performance has been decent. At times disk activity drags my system, but on the whole my 1GB RAM, 5400 rpm HDD and Intel Core Duo processor seem to handle the load gracefully. GNOME development kit, Solaris are now available as VMWare appliances, which can be downloaded and used very easily.