I don't know why alot of people say some Linux desktop environments look like Windows 7 or 8. Linux was looking like that while Windows was on 95!
Ubuntu is a pretty good distro but I do believe it is trying to be Linux of all Linuxes. Sometimes that can be good and bad.
If I had to choose, I would take Debian over Ubuntu. Though I currently run Mageia & Salix OS. An RPM based distro and Slackware based distro!
"One Nation Under A Groove"