For my last project, I decided to use Linux as my development environment. My laptop runs Windows and I wanted to try using Linux without setting up a dual-boot system. I tried VMware Player and installed Linux Mint with the Mate interface. I have Linux Mint with Cinnamon, so this would be a way to try a different variation.
I found the virtual machine to have good performance apart from the User Interface, which showed some lag for scrolling, especially when using MySQL Workbench, which depends on a graphical representation for the schema.
Overall, it was good to have a complete development environment which is separate from that of my main work. I configured the Apache environment to work with my repository. All of these changes are encapsulated in one folder on the host machine, which I zipped into an archive file. This makes it easier to make configuration changes as you can always roll back.
Recently, I looked at Oracle Virtual Box. This is open-source software. It looks to be quite a good program, and I plan on using it going forward for a personal project. I may move some of the work of my main project from Windows onto a Linux virtual machine, time permitting.