Are there any Debian based distributions that have a regular release cycles besides Ubuntu or Linux Mint? I'm running Squeeze right now and I really like the Debian ecosystem and package system. However, a lot of the programs it ships with are really old like Blender (2.49a instead of 2.5+) and Haskell 6.12.
I mentioned about Linux Mint but do you know about Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) is a rolling distribution based on Debian Testing ?
If you're looking for another Debian-based distribution with up-to-date packages, I would suggest Ubuntu. It's Debian in that it uses apt for packaging and Debian as an upstream for some package sources, however there are many modifications (init vs. upstart, for example) that make it quite different in some regards.
If you like Debian, but find that the packages are out of date, I would suggest taking a look at package "pinning". With this, you can have your system draw packages from multiple "release" sources (stable, testing, and unstable, for example).
Add some sources to /etc/apt/sources.list, like:
As the same package name will often be installed in multiple "releases", commands like "apt-get install sl" become ambiguous. So, add some settings to prefer stable over testing and unstable. Add into /etc/apt/preferences:
Now, when you may desire a package from a future version, it's possible to pull future packages from unstable. For example: "apt-get install -t unstable sl"