I’ve been interested lately in using virtualization to setup a “computer” to do local web development on. I’m looking to configure it it closely as possible to my paid hosting, so that it will be as easy as possible when I take a project and migrate it over to to the host.

If you haven’t had any experience with virtualization, it’s basically a way of running an operating system inside whatever operating system you are currently using. The nice thing about it these days is that more recent processors have hardware extension to improve performance to the level where it’s quite usable. The software mimics all aspects of a basic computer with standard hardware. So you take your operating system install disk and go through the process as you normally would.

I am currently using Windows Vista Ultimate x64. So looking at the easiest option, I downloaded and installed Microsoft’s free “Virtual PC 2007” program.

I’ve used it before, but don’t recall doing anything of consequence with it. It’s a simple program, but it seems quite stable and provided everything that I need.

I considered using it with my copy of say… Windows 2000, but that would be pointless as my hosting is Linux based. Seeing as while I’m coding I want to deal with paths as they would be in Linux, I’ve decided to try going that route.

I started by downloading Ubuntu server. I installed it with success, but when the OS restarted, I was greeted by some crazy looking visuals. According to various sites on the net have pointed out, Virtual PC does not support a 24-bit graphics rendering in the virtual video card, and Linux defaults to 24-bit… Seeing as the terminal was nearly unusable, I went back to and downloaded Xubuntu, which is a lighter weight version that uses XFce. The only negative here is that I will have to manually install and configure the “LAMP” server. A key thing to remember when installing Xubuntu is that when it gives you options before starting the install, select F4 and change the video more to fail-safe mode.

I’ll try to provide updates as I work through the issues.