Our newest virtualized OS is the Linux Mint 13 image that comes as a complete Swiss knife tool. It is this kitchen sink mentality that has made Linux Mint famous. On top of that are also VMware Tools installed.
For the desktop Xfce had been chosen, which is a swift and ergonomic alternative to today’s new workflow inventions. Try it and compare it to the Lubuntu image that has also the VMware Tools on board.
All in all we have now these distros of the summer 2012 era, the time around the long-term support version of Ubuntu:
Ubuntu 12.04 with VMware Tools. Desktop is Unity, a shell-like own development of the Ubuntu team.
Lubuntu 12.04 also with VMware Tools. This one has the fine LXDE installed. Recommended.
Mint Linux 13 again with the tools. Similar to the LXDE experience with Xfce equipped.
Fedora 17. Gnome 3 aka the Shell. Check it out and see yourself whether you belong to the hard core Linux hacker gang.
openSUSE 12.2. Has KDE integrated. Good alternative that seems to be clearly more usable than Gnome 3 or Unity.
No final bashing today, but the recommendation to just download all of them. These are the top distros and they come with a variety of new and old desktop ideas. Some of them have also VMware’s tools integrated. So, this is quite a good basis for contemporary virtualization experiments.