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This is a server at home. I have 3 computers running Linux and they are all servers running dedicated tasks like MySQL/Samba, Web Server and DNS/DHCP.

Is it be a good idea to host a virtual machine and do the development on it? Can the VM handle GUI, if possible a different GUI? One of the computers is powerful enough to handle virtual machines. Other two are old discards.

I won't be able to dual boot any of the servers though.

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Developing on a virtual machine can be a good idea if you cannot dedicate a machine to a different OS. For instance if you are writing an app for OS X you can fire up a VM and give it as much memory as it needs. With most VMs you will need an extra margin of resources because you are running a host OS as well. I've used VirtualBox to run Windows and Linux VMs and it works quite well. For VirtualBox there is even a web based console called phpvirtualbox for controlling VMs remotely.

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I will give it a try. With phpvirtualbox I can probably continue to connect remotely (I don't connect a monitor unless I need to troubleshoot locally.) – James Aug 12 '10 at 17:23

You can easily run remote desktops on a VM on a server. However, you should consider the bandwidth requirements for this.

The advantage is that you can develop from anywhere, where you can connect to this remote desktop and all your development tools/IDEs etc are always there and setup in the same way.

If you run a VM on a server, I would recommend using kvm. Virtualbox runs well on your desktop, because of its GUI, which is not the ideal thing on a server. You can easily configure your kvm VMs with virt-manager. This can also be done remotely, i.e. you run virt-manager on your desktop and virt-manager connects via i.e. ssh to your server.

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Right now my servers do not have a GUI desktop. That may mean no Virtualbox for now. On OpenSuSE, Xen is another option. I have sometime this weekend to read on these options and possibly make a choice. Thanks. – James Aug 12 '10 at 17:42

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