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Debian basically doesn't give you any choices, even dpkg supports this feature with virtual packages: for example, it is very hard to use a different sound system than ALSA, like OSS4 or to use ALSA with pulse audio emulation, and the same goes for different init systems. See More
Even though it makes sense to split devel and the actual binary of an application, the splitting has become as mess in debian and its derivates: for example the nvidia driver is splitted into over 40 different packages: https://packages.debian.org/en/source/sid/nvidia-graphics-drivers See More
Debian runs standard Gnome, XFCE, KDE - it doesn't use its own special desktop environment or debian specific modifications or customisations, which means that users benefit from the work of the whole Linux community, Debian developers can focus on the distribution itself, and any support for your desktop environment on other distributions should work on Debian as well. See More
GNOME is quite outdated and buggy; KDE is too old, even in Sid it is at 5.14 branch (at Jun 13 2019 Plasma 5.16 is available in many rolling/fresh distros); XFCE behaves like crooked, visual artifacts at the taskbar and so on; Cinnamon as far as I know works better in Linux Mint compared to (almost) any other distro; For other desktop environments (e.g. MATE) can't say - these are too new (as projects) and possibly incomplete, thus might have many bugs. See More
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CentOS favours stability over being up-to date. For this reason it ships with packages that may be up to two years behind in order to ensure stability over everything else. Using older versions for packages means that they have been thoroughly tested and used in production for quite some time, and are ensured to play well with each-other. This strategy has paid off quite a lot in the past. One example is the Heartbleed bug which left CentOS unaffected since it was using a two-year old OpenSSL library which did not have the bug. See More
It was a good product that is now being lead astray. See More