It is pretty clear that the world is moving to virtual machines and also phone and tablet front-ends. And it is amazing what you can do to study it yourself. So here are some things to try.
VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2
via Oracle VM VirtualBox.
And then you need to get some extensions that add more device support and there is a list of prebuilt appliances which are essentially images that you load into it. Pretty cool…But for most of us would just use Ubuntu (the most popular release which is based on Debian). You just need a virtual CD and then it LiveCD boots from it.