Debian (official pages is generally considered to be the "nicest" distribution by long-time Linux afficionados and hackers. It has a number of benefits over most of the other big distributions:
- [apt] (A Package Tool)
- excellent quality assurance
- a stable platform for production machines
- a cutting-edge "unstable" platform
- a democratic, community-run, completely open development process
did I mention apt?
The Debian distribution has a reputation as being difficult to install and understand for beginners. To some extent, this is the case, but it is improving enormously. People looking for pretty graphical installers, however, should look elsewhere.
The other thing to note about the Debian project is that it is an entirely volunteer effort -- there is no company backing the development. The project also has a firm policy on what software it can include. All software in the main distribution must be free software, with source code available and modifiable. Some people therefore consider Debian to be the "purest" Linux distribution.
Tips for installing Debian