VMWare has a community site that provides hundreds of Virtual Appliances for use in their free VMWare Server product. What is a virtual appliance? It is a preconfigured operating system that has been tailored to perform a specific set of functions. There are appliances for Ruby on Rails development, Python Web Development and even Jabber servers. Virtual appliances make great test development environments and allow you to try a wide range of services without the pain of installing the systems yourself! Â If you’re unfamiliar with them I would strongly suggest that you bookmark this site and take a look around it when you have a couple of hours. There is unbelievable value here.