- There is no special focus on client or server features.
I looked for a distribution that can be used as client workstation, for software development as well as for a server efficiently. It is so nice with Linux that I don't have to choose one single language at installation - I can choose several language packs, so fine. The other thing that is really annoying with Windows is that after you chose the language you have to choose whether to install a server or a workstation. I wanted to get rid of this decision either. How the hell should I know what I want to use my machine for half a year from now? - So I need an allround-distribution.
- The distribution is kept quite up-to-date containing new packages.
When I chose to go with Linux there were many things important for me that were only supported with some of the latest libraries and components - for example the support for my Canon photo printer.
- There are quite a lot of packages included in the distribution.
The number of available packages in the repositories has been also an important issue for me (this is related to point 2). As it would have been annoying for me if I had to recompile a lot of software from the sources it was important for me to have ready-made packages.
- Easy maintainance.
As I share the computer at home with my wife and I probably want to support friends with their computer issues I searched for a distribution that was more easy to handle even for a person that is not a commandline freak.
- Defaults to gnome desktop environment.
From current view this really depends on the personal favor and I liked Gnome more than KDE. Although I had also some philosophic concerns against KDE. I do not really follow the discussions and changes any more regarding this - I think to remember that I heard about some changes here. However in the meantime there is either a version of Fedora that defaults to KDE.
You can find a comparison of distributions at Wikipedia. On second place there was Ubuntu - which I would probably also choose if I would have to choose now.
See also: The sad thing about Linux..., The operating system, Why I switched to Ubuntu, Why Linux?.