Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
I'm been taking a look at some of the alternatives to Ubuntu, the Linux distribution I've been using for two and a half years now. Ubuntu tends to grab all of the attention, but how do some of the alternatives compare?
Debian was easy to install. It used to have a reputation for being difficult to install, but the new graphical installation interface was perhaps the easiest of all three to use. Debian is very strict about including only free and open source software, and the installation gave me an message about missing firmware. I made a note of the message, and in the end, all I had to do was enable Debian's non-free repository and install some firmware for my wireless card- not a big issue, but it could be tricky for new users, and no other distribution I tried was this strict, and installed the firmware without asking.
Debian is the distribution upon which Ubuntu is based, but its priority is more stability than latest features, and it is not targeted at new Linux users like Ubuntu. Using Debian reminded me of Ubuntu when I first started using it tree years ago- a lot of the packages are old.