I have been a *buntu user since 2007 until I started using VL.
What makes VL special is that it seems to be so fast, detect all hardware (in my case anyway) and is well presented. The drawback with debian (debian based distros) I have found is that if dependencies change/no longer available one gets problems like there is currently with Abiword - a development version full of bugs is used until the next stable release is available. 2.8.6 is the current one which is fine on distros other than debian based.
I've got over the problem (and others) by using VL and it is unlikely I would think of going back to debian based. From what I have seen of linux distros the successful ones stay small, produce a good product and don't produce too many variations (ubuntu? is it 8 now, pclos? 6 or 7, Mint? 7) as there isn't then time to sort out bugs.
Great motto to keep to in life - "Do a job and do it well".