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Knoppix-derivate that aims for full compatibility with Debian Sid ("unstable" branch), it's the easiest way to have a perfectly-working Debian installed in minutes.
It can be used as a LiveCD (without touching your hard-disk), and it will automagically detect pretty much all your hardware with a greater precision than the official Debian-Installer. If you then select to install it on your hard-drive, you can proceed to administer it as you would with a standard Debian, e.g. using the APT package manager with official Debian repositories.
Hardware supported out-of-the-box include many DSL modems, wireless cards and winmodem, with easy scripts to download and install third-party binary drivers (like for NVidia and ATI Radeon cards) and fix ommon problems. DMA and ACPI are turned on by default, making it a very good distribution for laptops.
The default desktop system is KDE 3.4, with lesser-capable windowmanagers also included. Basic applications for everyday tasks are preinstalled (OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Kontact/KMail, GAIM, and loads of other) Multimedia support is also very well configured; once you install libdvdcss2 ("apt-get install libdvdcss2" is all you need to type, or you can use the included Synaptic frontend) your DVD will work flawlessly.
Distribution maintaners can be found at http://forum.kanotix.net or on #kanotix on freenode, and will probably answer your question if you ask politely.
All in all, I found this distribution to be much better than Ubuntu/Kubuntu (probably the most famous Debian-based alternative) for hw recognition and default configuration on laptops.