I think the main feature that is missing (AFAIK) from stock Debian is running from a read-only file system by default in order to increase Compact Flash lifetime. This is offered by the debian-for-alix port. Also, most ALIX boards do not have a VGA console, so installation of stock Debian may be a bit of a challenge for the uninitiated.
Another option not mentioned in the article is Voyage Linux, a Debian-based embedded distribution which runs on ALIX, Soekris and similar platforms. I use it to run a few ALIX and WRAP boxes and it works quite well. As with the Debian ALIX port, you have easy access to all Debian packages, but the base system is pre-customized for the hardware, root filesystem is read-only and installation is relatively easy.
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