Maintaining stable life with unstable distro?

This post may sound ludicrous to some of you but please hear me out. I’ve been on Debian unstable/Sid for awhile now and it was all cool until yesterday.

Besides my work on Debian DebConf/some devel, I’m university student, also I do web devel which is my primary source of income, besides all those I try to go out on weekends and have some kind of social life. Somehow I manage to do all these things and I’d say I manage them pretty successfully too.

Now I’m hardcore to the bone, but this is just too much, last week started working on immense web devel project  didn’t sleep more then 2hrs/day whole week; I also didn’t shut down my notebook and just kept it on suspend as I usually do. Either way I was about to print/scan something and I connect my printer and what happens? My whole system freezes, now I’ll let you figure out the result of doing hard reset and having a lot of gedit docs open at that time. And yes, I did had that bug reported awhile ago, can’t find it now, but it was fixed, seems like it’s back again.In the end I’m left with weekend completing the lost work + late school work + eclipse 3.5.2-2 ought to be uploaded. I do almost all the work (didn’t upload  eclipse) and literally pass out on Sunday. Wake up sometime on Monday, wasn’t able to get up from bed.

Plan: Change my “base” distro, keep Sid as dualboot or virtual machine

Now, for my time of being Sid user this isn’t the first time something like this happened, and by this I mean “unexpected/unprovoked” bugs. I might not be as hardcore as I used to be, or it’s just that I don’t have time anymore.  So my plan is to get Stable or even Ubuntu for my “work/study” platform, while I’d have dual boot or virtual machine of Debian Unstable/Sid. I’m sure I can’t be the only one who’s doing this, so please give me your advice on this one.

1. Main question is dualboot or virtual machine?

Reason I’d like it to be a virtual machine instead of dual boot is that my notebook HDD is 64GB SSD (Lenovo X300). By todays standards 64GB is quite small, while the price of SSD is quite opposite of small. So I’d like to use this only for my main/base OS, nothing else.

Since I use external HDD’s having it virtual it’s more convenient for me to “carry around” my image/s. Other day I ordered 4GB of RAM so I shouldn’t have problems with performance of this virtual machine. Or even with that much RAM, devel on virtual machine is just not possible?

2. In case I go for Ubuntu, and decide to start packaging for Ubuntu as well, what’s the best way to have my work/packages “synced” within both Debian and Ubuntu (sshfs?).

3. How do I take my PGP keys with me? If I just copy .gnupg and .ssh will that be enough?

4. Can I have same keys both on my host machine and virtual machine at the same time?

5. Some other idea of sticking with Sid?

Input to any of these questions/other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.