I had a situation this past week where I was without phone service for a few days, starting on Tuesday afternoon. For whatever reason, the phone company's installation of another phone number caused me to lose access to my phone until a more senior smart-person could come and fix it. In the interim, I was graciously loaned a 3G modem from Rick so I could work at home instead of enduring the slings and arrows of outrageous conversation at the local Biggby (which I endured for the balance of Tuesday's work-day). Unfortunately the primary computer I use for work doesn't have a PCMCIA slot, so I needed to come up with an alternative. That's where Ubuntu comes into play. I installed Ubuntu on another machine that does have a PCMCIA slot, and plugged the card in. Much to my amazement, the card "just worked", and I was online in a matter of seconds.
Let that sink in for a bit. This piece of hardware was detected, configured, and ready to go in seconds. No driver disks, no fiddling with configuration (the card was configured by Rick previously). It just worked.
As much as I've complained about Linux in the past, and as much as most people complain about things that don't work, it's important to realize that many days I wake up and use my computer without incident. It's as if the computer is the invisible instrument to my daily piano performance (if you'll pardon the metaphor).
It's easy to get bogged down with the hecklers, loud coughers, and otherwise rude people during a performance. Bad, incomplete, or proprietary drivers can make the simplest tasks a real pain under Linux and Ubuntu. Proprietary formats can make otherwise simple tasks nearly impossible. These are the loud hecklers of an otherwise virtuosic performance. But if we concentrate on the hecklers, and the parts that don't work under Linux and Ubuntu, we miss out on the times where things do work, and the computer disappears into the performance.
So a huge thank-you to those who make the computer disappear on my desktop, and allow me to work. Your craftsmanship and attention to detail is not going unnoticed.