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The best one is the one where you are ready to invest your time learning it. As long as you don't, then there is no best one.
For me, nothing beat Gentoo. As a developer, I love the extra flexibility and how compiling software, something I do all day long, is so part of the core philosophy. I also like Debian a lot.
http://ompldr.org/vZnozNQ Edited 2012-10-22 05:36 UTC
So user-centric distros are irrelevant to you, as a developer? That could explain why the year of Linux desktop was always a year+ away...