I find this technique baffling. Why would you want to go to all this trouble and complexity when you could just propagate true virtual machines? It all seems so last century, one of those incredible feats of virtuosity that makes your jaw drop in admiration, then shake your head and think: Why? Why? Why?
If anything, I think that I am still setting up too few virtual machines, not too many. With disk space running at about $100/TB, and memory at somewhere around $15/GB, any desktop machine that you set up this year for serious development work should have at least 5 TB of disk and 16 GB of memory, plenty of horsepower to support 50-100 installed virtual machine images, with at least 2-3 live and active at any given time.
And it's about 30 seconds to suspend one VM and revive another.
Well, anyway, it's always interesting to read about alternate techniques, and I hadn't known about debootstrap before, nor about rinse, and my experience with chroot mostly involved security considerations, not alternate operating system configurations.
So I learned, and I'm smarter, and I'm grateful for that, but thank you very much I think I'll stick with my virtual machines for now.