Virtual machines have to be one of the best inventions to test other operating systems or other versions of operating systems. I use them daily as a way to have different versions of software available under conditions where that would not ordinarily be possible (e.g., I can’t have v5 and v6 running on the same machine). For personal use they are great for giving a test drive to things like software in the Alpha or Beta version of an OS, or, as I am doing now, testing the resolution emulation of a netbook so I can get an idea of the tolerability of the screen size.
This would be one of my plans for testing Linux more so I don’t have to mess up my host machine. VMs are safe to run, and what happens in the VM stays in the VM…
So, about the netbook resolution. First, I was impressed that Kubuntu kept up with the virtual monitor resizing. I tried to beat xrandr and the basic X11 configuration into stepping down to 1024×576. No dice, x600 was all it would do. Then I found the setting in VMware Workstation to tell it that the virtual monitor was 1024×576. Without a fuss, Kubuntu started and here it is.
The size is a little cramped, but if all I was doing was writing, email, light web browsing, and maybe listening to some music — no problem. The keyboard size seems to be the one remaining issue that I need to (ab)use a retail store for so I can touch computers with relatively the same keyboard sizing — if not the exact.
So… VMs: cool. 1024×576: cramped but tolerable.