Debian 6: Have your Debian and eat your Ubuntu too
A new version of Debian was once cause for celebration in Linux circles - no doubt it still is in some quarters. Debian's offspring Ubuntu, though, has managed to steal much of the thunder lately.
Of course without Debian, Ubuntu would cease to exist. Part of the reason Ubuntu has been able to focus on polishing the Linux desktop is that Debian provides the core packages Ubuntu relies on. No Debian, no Ubuntu.
Ubuntu's polish of the Debian core used to mean it was a much easier distro for Linux newcomers to install and use. But with Debian 6, two-years in development and available here, that's really not true anymore.
Debian 6 - and arguably its predecessor as well - is no more difficult to install than Ubuntu and it "just works" right out of the box on every piece of hardware I've tested it on.