Once upon a time, a new Debian Linux release was a big deal in Linux circles. It still is, but its child, Ubuntu Linux, is the Linux distribution that gets all the headlines. There's a reason for that. Over the years, Debian has become more and more a Linux just for Linux fanatics while the rest of the Linux family has become more end-user friendly.
As I look over the features in the latest Debian, I can see why Debian, while still popular as a building block for other Linux distributions, is no longer as important as it once was. For example, the default Debian distributions won't include any proprietary firmware binary files. While that will be popular with die-hard free software fans, users who just want to use their Wi-Fi hardware and to get the most from their graphics cards won't be happy.
That's just me and a few other people whose idea of a good time is tinkering with operating systems though. I think more people will be impressed by the sheer range of open-source software that Debian brings to the distribution. In 6.0, there are more than 10,000 new programs including Google's open-source version of Chrome, Chromium, Ubuntu's Software Center, and the cluster framework Corosync.
And, as always, no matter what your hardware, Debian probably has a version that will run on it. Debian now supports nine architectures: 32-bit PC / Intel IA-32 (i386), 64-bit PC / Intel EM64T / x86-64 (amd64), Motorola/IBM PowerPC (powerpc), Sun/Oracle SPARC (sparc), MIPS (mips (big-endian) and mipsel (little-endian), Intel Itanium (ia64), IBM S/390 (s390), and ARM EABI (armel).
Debian is still important. Its developers do a lot of the hard work of mixing and matching basic Linux components and many open-source programs into the strong, reliable foundation that other versions of Linux, such as Ubuntu and MEPIS use. But, while Linux programmers will continue to appreciate Debian, it seems to me that Debian is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the larger user community that Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, and openSUSE has brought into the Linux fold.