I'm settling on ubuntu 13189
I'm settling on ubuntu 13190
Valid and important point if you want to persuade someone to migrate to Linux. Also, this gives...
I would have chosen Debian proper (recently moved from Sarge to Etch), since it has been around for practically forever. And has no business model to defend (its about as pure a community supported distribution you can have). Momentum can be here today and gone tomorrow. Choice of a distribution is serious business, and unlike most people, I never hopped from distro to distro. OTOH, when I started using Linux, Mandrake (now Mandriva) was a brand new distro) and practically everyone around me was an RH guy.
I moved from RH to Debian and Slackware after being burnt when RH discontinued after RH9. Fedora was too unstable plus I did not appreciate being used as a guinea pig for RHEL.
As it later turned out, that move was a wise one even for other reasons. apt-get being the best of them.
As has been pointed out, you were misinformed about Debian (in buttuming that Debian = Sarge).
I remember reading that each release of Ubuntu corresponds to a freeze of the unstable branch of Debian followed by some tweaking. I do not use the unstable branch and find the testing branch to be a happy compromise between security stability and being up to date.