Debian is pronounced Deb, as in Debra, and ian, as in Ian, because the Debian project was started by Ian Murdock with the help of his wife Debra.
You can download Debian from debian.org or one of the many mirror servers around the world. Some ISPs have their own mirror and let you download Debian free from download charges. If you live near my place, I am happy to give you a free CD containing Debian and prefer to give you an Ubuntu CD because Ubuntu is easier for most uses.
There are notes about Debian on this site. You can read lots of detail about Debian on the Debian site. If you are new to Linux, I suggest you practice with Ubuntu before tackling Debian, the equivalent to learning to drive a car using an automatic gearbox instead of a manual gearbox.
Debian 5.06 arrived during September 2010 and hopefully has improved in the two areas creating problems with earlier versions of Debian. Hardware compatibility has to improve because earlier Debians were too far behind reality. RAID support is the other big area tested during this installation.
Debian offers a few install options. This time I tested the expert install in graphical mode on a desktop with multiple disks.
Debian is available as a stable variety and a
testing variety. The stable version is the base for Ubuntu and many other Debian derivatives. The testing version has the latest hardware drivers. Linux Mint offer a version of Debian testing. Fedora is the closest to Debian testing in the Red Hat world.
The test netbook does not need the latest drivers because it is old. In fact the drivers used to work, the netbook ran Linux for years. It is the latest versions of Linux that do not work. I may have to install something old.
Linux Mint Debian Edition, LMDE, is Debian with add extras similar to but different from Ubuntu. There is no Unity desktop to delete, you choose Cinnamon or MATE.