Debian vs Ubuntu : Which one should I use as default OS for development?View other answers to this thread
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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.