For the past three years I've been a devoted Linux user on my desktop and laptops, a few months using Arch Linux (great learning experience), but now mainly Ubuntu specifically Xubuntu (lightweight non-3D XFCE based desktop). If everything worked all the time, then I'd be happy, but now I find myself rebooting and tweaking and troubleshooting more than developing.
Each time I change laptop or do some dist-upgrades I frequently run into driver related issues. It's both time-consuming and frustrating, especially after the second and third time, boring and nothing new learned after reaching such a point. Issues ranging from Ralink and Atheros firmware, backlights not working (acpi_vendor hacks), low battery performance (then laptop-mode-tools being too aggressive), stereo mics not working (in Acer laptops), udev issues, and the list goes on and on.
Despite being bitterly (and sometimes vocally) opposed to Windows, installing Windows 8 dual boot on this HP Sleekbook, everything just works (sound, brightness, battery) and so forth. So now I'm thinking VirtualBox + Xubuntu, I almost can't believe I'm going this route, but Windows 8 I'd be using purely as an abstraction layer of hardware and possibly the odd Netflix.
My questions are:
What are the pitfalls of this approach? (3D performance is not important, i.e. I don't use Steam)
What are the effects of battery life? (does the fact that Windows 8 is more efficient than Ubuntu in terms of battery life, at least without laptop-mode hacks, combined with VirtualBox make a big difference, or better phrase battery performance: would Windows 8 host + Xubuntu guest get better better battery life than a Xubuntu host?)
Presumably the emulated drivers VirtualBox exposed are rock solid in Linux guests?
What services should I disable in Windows 8 to allow for just VirtualBox and occasionally Firefox/Netflix?
Does Windows 8 retail have the cheapest legitimate license? There seems to be no starter edition of Windows 8.