New day, and armed with the download of the Desktop version of 'Hardy Heron' I'm installing it on to a Virtual PC VM following the instructions that I found here: http://blogs.technet.com/seanearp/archive/2008/05/13/installing-ubuntu-8-04-hardy-heron-in-virtual-pc-2007.aspx
After reaching the point where I have started the install on the desktop - so far so good.
It already is looking far more promising.
Well I've gotten through now as far as altering the audio, and all good so far! I'm holding my breath whilst it restarts (not literally - its' not that quick).
Well, I just heard some bongo like sounding noise immediately before being invited to login (and again after getting the details wrong first time).
The moral to this seems to be to use the desktop version instead of the server version. If anyone has got the server version on an MS flavour VM then I'd love to hear about it.
Next will be following the instructions to get the screen size right, templating it, and then getting Oracle installed.