I have been struggling for some time with the question of what Digital Audio Workstation to use for music production and for podcasting. My needs are different then a lot of people and the quality of a DAW is somewhat subjective so this is a hard thing to pin down. The truth is that most of the big names do more or less the same thing, however, their work flow is a bit different as is their compatibility with hardware (controllers, sound cards) and software (operating systems and plug ins). I’ll tack on a little list of these differences at the bottom of the post. I wrote it as response on Google+ to an inquiry on DAW recommendations.
Up until recently I primarily used CuBase and Ardour. CubBase came with my Alesis Firewire mixer. I took to it pretty quick. In the past I have used Pro Tools to a limited degree as well as many other tools that aren’t necessarily DAWs, but have a lot of overlap. These include CakeWalk, Reason, Sound Forge and Audacity. My open source brethren may be sad to hear I am now (almost) 100% using the proprietary DAW Reaper.