If you are new to Linux, use Ubuntu. If you have been around Linux for awhile (and I suspect you have), use Debian.
I use Debian Jessie on my Lenovo X1 Carbon and just needed to enable the non-free repository after install and then installed my WiFi driver. Everything else just works.
I have a killer Gnome environment setup, but I spend 80 percent of my time in A tweaked out Gnome Terminal using vim (also tweaked out).
For servers, I also use Debian Jessie. Rock solid. But then again, when Debian releases a stable version, its stable. At least from my experience.
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In my experience Debian is as good as Ubuntu (which is based on it) and in some cases better. The real difference is that Ubuntu is a bit easier to get going if you not experienced with Linux. If you have limited Linux experience, then you might be better off dipping your toes in the water with Ubuntu. Otherwise, read up and give Debian a spin. Since both are free, your only investment is your time and you will certainly learn either way.
As far as development goes, I would dare suggest that Debian might actually have a slight edge over Ubuntu. Of course YMMV !
You can use any Linux distro as a desktop OS for dev, I've used Gentoo for 2 years and then got tired of all the hassle of having to compile my own packages from source the whole time and then waiting 20 minutes for my latest firefox source code to compile so I could browse.
Desktop: Ubuntu / ElementaryOS / Mint / any of the ubuntu clones are perfect, they mostly work out of the box for a desktop environment. Server: Debian, it's geared towards servers and doesn't have a window manager installed by default, so perfect for servers.
Debian on the desktop would mean you have to do a bit of work to get it slick and usable as a desktop, that time is much better spend writing code instead of fidgeting with your OS.
Ubuntu is to Debian, as your local restaurant is to the local farmer's market. Chef Ubuntu goes to the Debian farmer's market periodically, finds the best fresh ingredients, mixes them with his own special blend, and produces food for his intended audience. For people who enjoy cooking, they can, and do, just go down to the market and get what they need.