I like to run a virtual machine so I can have Linux running in a window on my PC. Obviously I’m loosing out on all that highly-touted ‘stable operating system` stuff, but I really just have Linux so I can play around with the latest features, and maybe run the odd SSH server. Because I mostly use it for fun, stabilty, performance, device compatibilty (which would all be important when normally using a virtual machine) don`t really matter to me. All I care is that it works, it`s easy, and I can create and destroy new virtual media at my whim.
It turns out there’s a bunch of free virtual machine software out there. I had used the free version of VMWare before with pretty good luck, but I really don’t like that they’ve moved to a web interface. I had to fiddle for hours to give my web browser the security privileges necessary without totally opening myself up to the rest of the web. Also, every time my virtual machine uses the network, the web interface likes to permanently freeze. Not fun.
My new favorite is VirtualBox (Sun Microsystems). It`s got a nice front end, and I didn`t have trouble installing eitherUbuntu and Debian with it. Also, I hear it`s got pretty good support for 3D graphics. Not bad for free software.
For the record, I also tried Virtual PC (Microsoft) and QEMU (Open Source). Virtual PC would have been great if I wanted to run another version of Windows in the virtual machine… but for Linux it just like to hang and cause me grief. QEMU wasn`t bad, but it`s not nearly as pollished as the others, and I`m a sucker for flashy UI.