The founder of Debian GNU/Linux comments on NewsForge how he sees the future development and requirements for Debian in order to stay a relevant Linux-distribution. He sees Debian as the common ground for multiple distributions and purposes.
The conclusion is that:
Debian's opportunity, then, is to connect the derivatives into the powerful, global force they have the potential to become, to nurture a sort of “network of peers” approach to service and support to replace the traditional, vertically integrated model that's being used by today's leading commercial vendors. Of course, this opportunity can only be recognized to the extent the global fabric that connects these local communities is strong, and it cannot be strong if we don't have a common, compatible foundation. Predictable releases are a requirement, because in the absence of a common, compatible foundation that has a clearly articulated roadmap, each of the derivatives will necessarily have to go its own way