A development virtual machine can be really handy. It gives you a sandbox of sorts where you can feel free to test and experiment knowing that in a worst-case scenario you can just delete the VM and start over. It can also be a great way to practice server configurations and sketch out "real-world" server setups. Here's the process I follow to setup my Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Drupal development VM in VirtualBox. Aside from the VM-specific steps, these instructions should work for a regular Ubuntu server (VM or not).
I've been frustrated at the lack of an update for the Emacs package in Ubuntu 10.04. I've been using Emacs 23.2 for OSX and going back-and-forth between 23.2 and 23.1 is confusing, particularly in org-mode. So, I searched for how to effectively build Emacs 23.2 from source in Ubuntu and had trouble finding good instructions that would cover me for things like windowing, fonts, etc. Finally, in my search this morning, I came across a the Ubuntu Emacs Lisp project on Launchpad.
Note: A large part of this is taken from Victor Kane's article on Awebfactory about setting up Drupal on a fresh Linode, but I've documented some other things here and did some things a little differently than he did, so I figured it'd be worth writing up a post on the process. I've kept the details thin here in places where Victor's notes are more than satisfactory, but I've made sure to note where that happens.
Update: Be sure to check out part 2 of this article, as well.
I've spent the last several months of my off-work hours plugging away at helping the folks over at Gamers With Jobs get rolling with an upgraded version of Drupal, and in the process we decided to move from a shared hosting environment to a place where we've got a lot more control over performance and site configuration. In the meantime, Victor Kane's article on getting Drupal up and running on a Linode came across my RSS reader and provided the kick in the pants I needed to really investigate it. I looked at several VPS options, but in the end Linode seemed to be the best. They offered a seven day money back guarantee, which honestly isn't much, but it was long enough for me to feel comfortable giving it a shot without being out sixty bucks, so I decided to try it out.