I wouldn't suggest Debian to anyone, but the seriously hardcore. It's cryptic, obtuse, and generally a pain.
Wow, I always thought it worked just fine with almost no work required. All that apt-get package goodness works very well.
Now my distribution is Slackware and yes, all *nixes are the same to me.
It depends what you want. Just installing Debian will install a OS that will work. However, if you want it work a certain way that's different.
I don't find the defaults in Debian to be sane, the documentation is awful, and I don't find it easier to administer.
Most Linux distros are setup as a SysV clones; yet, Debian is a SysV clone that disregards the SysV conventions. If I'm going to use a Linux, it might as well be as SysV like, by default, as possible.
For instance, here are the Debian runlevels.
0 (halt the system)
1 (single-user / minimal mode),
2 through 5 (multiuser modes), and
6 (reboot the system).
Here are the SysV runlevels.
0 — Halt
1 — Single-user text mode
2 — Not used (user-definable) usually single user with networking
3 — Full multi-user text mode
4 — Not used (user-definable)
5 — Full multi-user graphical mode (with an X-based login screen)
6 — Reboot
As you can see runlevels 0,1, and 6 are the same, but 2-5 are not. It's annoying when you want to go to runlevel 3 and find out you're in runlevel 2 and runlevel 3 is the same as runlevels 2,3,4, and 5. I could setup the runlevels, but I don't want to setup the runlevels. I want the distro to have already setup the runlevels for me, and if they're not going to do that, they might as well just use a BSD style init system, which really makes more sense anyway.
Red Hat's admin tools are much nicer, and they are installed by default. In Debian, I usually install sysv-rc-conf. Why this isn't installed by default, I'm not sure. Then there are the different system-config- tools Red Hat has created. They're just nice, and they make editing stuff, like Iptables, much easier.
The structure of apt if awful. How do you search? apt-get search? No, apt-cache search. This doesn't make sense. On a Red Hat box, I can do yum search <keyword>, which is much more discoverable with yum --help. If they wanted separate commands they should have apt-search, apt-install, apt-update, etc. This would mirror the pkg tools on FreeBSD, incidentally.
Then there is the scattered documentation. The Red Hat documentation is much more focused and succinct. Debian is scattered and comes off as haphazard.
Then there is the PITA that is running x86 stuff on a x64 Debian install. (They may have fixed this with multi-arch, but I haven't tried it yet.) On Red Hat stuff, I can just install the x86 packages I need. Debian has a package that contains everything that needs to be installed, and it's not easy to find the first time.
Debian just isn't my thing. I've spent years with Red Hat stuff, so yeah, there is a little bias due to familiarity. However, they've always had defaults that I've thought of as sane. I don't have to do a lot of work to get the system where I want it, and that means a lot. Red Hat has it's things that annoy me, but overall it annoys me less then Debian. Incidentally, I don't mind Ubuntu and Mint, since they have saner defaults then Debian proper. Although, they still have apt.