embedded linux on PC for evaluation

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i am embedded developer (vxWorks) and I would like to do some playing at
home. I do have some micro controllers (netburner, modtronix) but I do
not like the dev environment and both are too small for ucLinux. What I
would like to do is run an embedded os on a "standard" pc. Boot it into
an embedded OS over Ethernet and be able to load programs over the
network. I do not care about any flash, just use a bootloader (like pxe)
and go, then have all of the gnu type development tools on the host to
do the development. I have googled this and I have found some results
that look promising, but most seem to call out a special intel
motherboard (D104 or something). I am wondering if there are distors
that will work on a fairly modern PC motherboard, does not even need to
use the video card, just the CPU/MEMory and ethernet support. I figure
for now for I/O I can use the PC parallel port for some basic stuff.

Anyone have any advice ?

I plan to write programs that I can then port to something like the
coldfile uC for an actual embedded system (as an aside, anyone know of
any DYI coldfire schematics/homebrew. I am thinking of attempting to put
one together myself that has the features that I want).

Thanks !

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