These days, a lot of people seem to be talking about MEPIS, Ubuntu, Xandros, Progeny, Linspire and Libranet, all of them Debian-based, and all of them thought of as more user-friendly than the original Debian*, or most other Linux distributions out there, for that matter. Bruce Perens was going to pull off the same trick, but it seems his more business-oriented UserLinux was ill-fated.
I've heard good things about MEPIS and Xandros - I hope that the new efforts to create strong standards within Debian will pay off in terms of interoperability and ability of users to easily change from one distro to another. For anyone wanting to get real work done, this is a very important efficiency question.
* Lycoris is the counter-example, being based on Caldera and having recently been acquired by Mandriva, the merger of Mandrake and Connectiva. (It seems, without me having any specific knowledge, that Mandrake started buying lots of companies after they barely survived at the mercy of customer donations. I find that to be slightly dubious business practice.)
tags:linux, distributions, user-friendly, user friendly, userfriendly, desktop,debian, Ubuntu, xandros, linspire, libranet, mepis, progeny linux, userlinux