I am feeling uncomfortable after hearing that my words stirred your conscience. Now I have no alternatives than to continue!
The first question: Is it the "desktop" you need or a server. If you are really ham-fisted as you confess, which I don't believe from your posts here, and can work efficiently in your presend desktop, install the Linux VM as a server! See "Video Tutorial - Install Moodle on a virtual Box from scratch" https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=199542. I prefer the "brided mode" as I wrote two posts below in that thread.
Install a complete web-development environment on it and get your experiments going. Important: get a proper server without GUI, Ubuntu Server Edition or Debian and untick the "Desktop" choice.
Look for server jobs, from simple monitoring tasks, taking a site backup of Moodle or even automating the installation of Moodle.
My preferred "forums" are Newsgroups. I believe community forums of the distribution you've chosen would do.
Hardware and performance
Linux box (discussion split from The problem with Canvas)
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