Linux and USB Wireless dongles/adapters
I can't find any that work (out of the box). I have tried several distros and only Fedora 9 was able to see my device but that was with the LiveCD. Who knows what happens if you accidentally hose the software program.
I have used Debian-based distros a little and yes, I'm a newbie but all the wireless programs are horrible. How can developers tolerate having such horrible programs as their only choices?
You need 'non-free' firmware or drivers? I install them and still my adapter doesn't work. I research and research and research for devices that have decent hardware support (zydas/zd1211 or Ralink rt2500, rt73??? 'Haven't tried Ralink yet, though) but still, that doesn't work.
I can only conclude that Linux and wireless is an utter failure. Unless, you are a Unix programmer or you're really lucky, a USB wireless adapter even if it is supposedly supported from the chipset, is not going to help you. The wireless software in Linux is already dreadful and if you don't have the drivers/firmware loading, you are destined to be reading while being simultaneously confused as of what to do.
At least, in Windows, clicking this, downloading that, you will *eventually* get it working even if it isn't the best connection/signal, you will have wireless without hours and hours of tweaking and being super confused.