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I run Fedora Core 2
I originally chose Red Hat Linux 9, since Red Hat was widely reported as the most popular distro (reccommended by "Mad Dog" Hall) and it was well supported via RH's web site. Also, I was able to get hold of a CD-ROM distro (albeit out of date) with a book to walk me through it. Since I didn't have access to a guru, I figured this was a good thing.
With my usual sence of timing, I installed RH9 just before RH dropped support for it. <sigh>
I clung on (see my posts) for a while, until I could get an upgrade.
While looking, I had another look at the other main distros...
Slackware (because of the name)
SuSE was a strong contender because of support and Mandrake was also strong as this is a very popular distro in New Zealand. I stayed with Red Hat because so many people using Fedora seemed to be saying how cool it is and the community seems newbie freindly.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with trying several distros out for size... and by the time you've tried three or four, you'll be an expert!
Otherwise look for reviews... I think there's a review forum in this site???
Important differences between Debian and everything else is the 'social contract' of the project. This contract is what many users find attractive, as it goes even beyond the GNU General Publick License and its derivatives in ensuring that Debian will always be free. But free means: Free of third-party rights. For this reason Debian doesn't contain non-open source software packages. And this is also what makes Debian the community developed distribution number one.
While this social contract has some advantages, it has slowed down the development of the distribution occasionally in the past. Only recently there was a huge dispute on how to license documentation and if the GNU license for documentation was applicable to Debian or if it would violate the Debian social contract.
So if you are interested in becoming a Debian user, you have to make more of a social decision than a technical one. I suggest that you read the contract and research the Debian mailing list archives in order to learn what the contract practically means.
Technically, Debian is said to be very good and very stable. However, it doesn't have fancy tools like SuSE's YaST for configuration of just about everything in one place. That makes it a bit difficult for inexperienced users to configure the system to their needs.
Administrators, on the other hand, sometimes get the feeling that for many things there is a "Debian way". That means that if you learn how to do something on Debian won't help you that much on another distro. Slackware users, eg, claim that most of the knowledge they acquire is useful on most other Unix like systems, too.
This and the fact that the time between stable releases is too long are weak points of Debian. But package management appears to be a top scoring point for it.
I suggest that you really read the Debian contract, first. If you like what it says, then Debian is possibly your distro.
Personally, I stuck away from Debian, because I got the impression that all too many Debian users have religious feelings about the distribution. I just didn't feel that I wanted to be part of that, otherwise helpful and highly competent community.
If you want to learn more about the principal differences between distributions, I suggest you research the LQ Slackware forum for threads regarding Debian and SuSE. Most of the things said for SuSE, there, will hold for Fedora and Red Hat, too (although there's no YaST, obviously, for these distros).