Finally, I got my environment ready.

My forging environment:

 - the laptop (anvil-o-mobile) running Ubuntu for development.
 - Git for version control.
 - a VirtualBox running my client's OS and software for testing.
 - XAMPP for services and web client.
 - Java for new desktop clients. (Multiplatform is key for me).

I've found the "MySQL Workbench" useful for database design.

On the other hand, in a few minutes I'll put up my first toy: an as of yet unpolished, apparently functional, curses based, clone of bejeweled by the guys at Popcap. Perhaps I'll polish that, or make another toy and put it up one of these days.
 
 
Counterintuitively, I won't write too much about this tool. It was simply too quick to install and start using, enough to deserve a very deep recommendation from me. No hassle, just install, go to the source code dir, and 'init', 'add' and 'commit'. Then code, 'add' and 'commit'; rinse and repeat as needed. Good tools harness good development into better performance.
 
 
Development environment only missing version control repository. Will set that up soon enough, then start reforging my pet system.
 
 
My virtual copy of Windows XP, which I use to maintain an app written in VB6, wouldn't boot in my newest VirtualBox OSE installation. So, I'll reinstall the OS into a new virtual disk on the new VirtualBox, then use the other as slave and migrate everything. Luckily, I have my trusty GNU/Linux up and running.
 
 
Wonderful thing for a programmer to suffer through. My disk drive died. So I'll need to fetch a new one, which might take some time. Working on a loaned computer in the meantime, so I should be able to do "something",