For a while now, I've been using a Xubuntu install in VirtualBox on my Vista laptop as a test bed to try all the things I don't want to do on my Kubuntu laptop, but would like to get better acquainted with, such as messing around with desktops and things like that. I highly recommend this method if you have a powerful enough computer (even if that computer is running OS X or Windows) as you don't need to burn an ISO image to disc and if something goes wrong with a VirtualBox install you've always got access to the Internet through the host system, and if it goes completely belly-up you haven't lost anything. It really is a great way to learn more about Linux.
Well, I've certainly learnt something today. I just compiled Crimson Fields from source. It's surprising how easy it is when you know how - you just have to untar the source code package, switch into the newly created directory, find the README or INSTALL document for details of the dependencies, install the development versions of these dependencies, then just the usual triad of commands (./configure, make, and sudo make install). However, I actually used checkinstall, a great utility for Ubuntu which when used instead of make install, doesn't install it as normal. Instead, it creates a .deb package which you can then install using dpkg as normal. The advantage of this is that it's easy to uninstall it if necessary.
The finished program works fine. Here's a screenshot as proof:
Now, I want to have a go at compiling my own kernel. Will very probably screw that up, but I can try!