My experience with Debian 5 was overwhelmingly positive. I’ll be keeping it around to use regularly, though I suspect I will still lean a bit toward Linux Mint Debian a fair amount of the time.
Debian 5 is probably best suited to intermediate and advanced Linux users.
However, because I like it so much, I want to qualify that recommendation a bit by encouraging users new to Linux to check it out anyway; try running it in a virtual machine via VirtualBox on your existing system. Don’t be afraid to give it a shot in a VM if you’re new to Linux; you might find yourself having some fun with it.
The worst that can happen is that you newer folks might decide that you don’t like it and then delete it from VirtualBox. But by running it (and reading about it), they will gain some very helpful desktop Linux experience and will have a better understanding of how much the Debian project has contributed to the well being and popularity of desktop Linux overall.
|Product:||Debian 5 (Lenny)|
|Pros:||Rock-solid stability; decent selection of applications; fast; supportive community.|
|Cons:||Applications may be older versions; the install routine has more steps but also provides greater control; software management tool does not allow for application reviews & user ratings.|
|Suitable For:||Intermediate and advanced users; although beginners might want to consider trying it in a VM.|
|Summary:||Debian 5 is the granddaddy of many of today’s desktop distros, but it’s also a fine desktop option in its own right.|