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well first of all lemme say that im not a complete noob when it comes to linux and a can use command somewhat. im tryin to find a distro to use for good because ive tried so many and want to stick to just one. ive always heard that debian was for hardcore hackers and programmers and that it wasnt very gui/user friendly, but ive read a couple reviews on debian etch 4.0 and some people say its much more user friendly. i downloaded the netinstall a couple minutes ago and im wondering if i should install. ive used ubuntu for a couple months before and im used to debian based distros. a big reason i like debian based distros is because of debians huge repos. with ubuntu and debian(i did use an older version a couple years ago) ive always been able to find packages that i need. ive also downloaded mepis 7.0 and im wondering which is better for beginner/intermediate user. ill be playing games like alien arena, open arena, UT and WoW on wine, and im also wonder which distro is best for that>
What are the most important features for you? What are you looking for in a distro? How willing are you to read documentation and look for solutions? Are you willing to do all of the configuration without a GUI?
Debian is IMO not that different from Ubuntu and only slightly more difficult. I would not classify it as a geek's distro (like Arch or Slackware or Gentoo, in order of increasing difficulty).
If you just want a pile of binary packages, not necessarily all of which are cutting-edge, Debian and Mepis are great choices.
I don't like debian so much, because I like to be a little more on the cutting edge. I want new programs, but I don't like to compile them myself - so for me it pretty much boils down to Ubuntu, Fedora and Debian... Right now I'm on Ubuntu for no good reason what-so-ever. But you have to make a choice. Debian is - not necessarily too complicated - but too much work for me. I can edit various configuration files myself, but I prefer not to.
Well as it has been said before. It comes down to what you want from a System and how much work you want to put in to it. Do you "just" want to use it or do want to know how it works?
There are so many Distros around it's hard to recommend one.
Ubuntu is up to date and Debian based.
Debian is not quite up to date but very stable. You could use the unstable instead of the stable tree and still be fairly up to date.
I always liked Arch cause it is simple, fast and stable but I also like Slackware.
Maybe you should install an Emulation software like VirtualBox and try a few Distros until you find the right one for you.
Debian has become pretty easy recently. If you use the first cd instead of the net install cd, you'll find that the install process is the same as that of Ubuntu server; and if you use the installgui option, you'll have a GUI installer that is different from the one used by Ubuntu but still not overly complicated. Debian has synaptic so that doesn't make any difference either. The only potential problem is that installing video drivers isn't a simple click-and-run matter as it is on ubuntu but if you know how to use google, you'll find excellent step-by-step guides.
I feel that you shouldn't worry over Debian being difficult. I think that, considering how similar it has become to Ubuntu, you should wonder whether it is worthwhile installing. I have begun using Lenny again just a few days ago and the only notable difference I have seen is that - surprisingly given its reputation - it is clearly more buggy.