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If you want to do computer programming in linux you probably can figure out how to install/compile a program so it doesn't matter what distribution you use. Basic developmenttools probably come with every distribution (gcc, gdb, Make, autoconf, ...).
RedHat ain't bad if you don't want to spend much time for installing everything. Gentoo claims to have better performance (since you compile it). Slackware is one of the older distributions and is good when you don't like gui's and wanna spend time in config files (and learning how it all works). Debian is more tested but 'outdated' unless you use the development version. Just look at distrowatch.com or an other linux distribution summary site. You'll find one you like!