Bogdan Albei has a new post today looking at a development environment he's set up and considers one of the "perfect" ways to do it - a virtualized environment that lets you test in your deployment environment despite what OS you currently run.
he environment has three basic elements: the operating system, the text editor and the test environment. The operating system is not really important as long as you're used to it, and this also applies to the text editor. [...] Unfortunately a lot of organisations have rules over rules that stop you from having your perfect environment. [...] How are you supposed to have a PHP test environment under Windows/MaxOS that is similar to your production Linux? The answer is quite simple: virtualisation.
He suggests using VMware to create a virtual environment (or multiple environments) for your development. They can even potentially share a folder on the drive so you can test the same code in multiple environments. He also includes a step-by-step guide that'll have you up and running in no time. Obviously, you'll need a copy of your OS of choice to install from once the VMware instance is all set up.