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Why Debian?

I am a physicist in the School of Physics of the Potchefstroom
University in South Africa and is one of a few people on campus
using Linux. Have been using Linux now for a couple of years. I am not
a Linux guru and learn about the system as I go along.

At present I have an older version of RedHat running on my pc. Older,
simply because I still have a project to finish for which I have to
use AIPS. However, I plan (have to) upgrade Linux on my pc as soon as
I am finished with this project. 

I therefore also have to make a choice on which distribution I should
install. Basically I feel that I have to pick one from the following
four: Debian, SuSe, RedHat and Slackware. I already installed RedHat
7.2 on my notebook to see what it is like. With all due respect one of
the first things that put me off was that I could not find the HOWTO
pages. This made me wonder to what extent does RH cater for the user
that would like to know a bit more about how to do things on the

My question then is: what makes Debian GNU/Linux different so that I
should use it rather than any of the other distributions? Is Linux not
just Linux? From a scientific point of view I use IRAF and that comes
with Debian which is something I like. However, that certainly cannot
be the only reason for using Debian.

Someone told me the other day that Debian is the most stable
distribution. Is that so and why? 

Johan van der Walt

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