I guess it comes down to personal preferences and I won't hide the fact that I'm not a huge Debian fan. This review is mostly a rant about Debian, which is based upon my experience using it in one way or the other for 15+ years. And that's about the only positive thing about Debian: It has been around for a long while, and is still going strong. A lot of people are caring a lot about this project, which in the end, is great and helps us all. There are definitely a lot of bugs that Debian has helped to solve over the years.
Here is my criticism:
- The whole Debian philosophy is just wrong for me. Rather than letting the upstream projects do all of the work and maintenance, volunteers are patching around in the source code and come up with Frankenstein builds that are, supposedly, well tested and secure. You are basically always running old software, even after a new release it is already out-of-date, missing new features.
- Configuration is almost always a PITA, since it is often being split up into a dozen files, which is very specific to Debian (and its derivatives). There are a lot of Distribution specific things you need to know, the package management is heavyweight and ridiculous (apt vs apt-get vs aptitude)
- While there are means to upgrade between different versions (dist-upgrade), I often find that it breaks a lot of things. This is somewhat expected, since there are always incompatibilities between different versions of software. I even had systems, which wouldn't boot after the upgrade (bootloader broken, initramdisk broken, etc.). I simply don't like this whole "dist-upgrade" approach and to be honest, I don't even think that it is possible to package and maintain each and every Open Source project in several branches these days, given the massive and rapid developments in the Open Source world. I'm a big fan of the rolling release model, though, running latest version of upstream projects (even in production) and making sure that the build processes and quality assurance of the upstream projects get fixed, so you don't run into huge problems. I rather spent a couple of minutes every now and then, rather than fixing everything every two years.
- The whole migration to systemd is ridiculous. Do it, or don't, but compromises in this context are not working. Debian is running old and broken versions of systemd, is using unit files wrongly at various places, and is redirecting to old style sys-v in other places. All in all, this is a massive cluster fuck. systemd is a full service management stack, and you shouldn't mix it with all kinds of other things.
All in all, I would NEVER ever use Debian for my personal systems. That being said, I'm administrating a lot of systems based on Debian and its derivatives, because people think that it is a great and sane default and in the end it is always personal preference.