Well said, except:
The kernel (and assorted utilities such as kudzu, harddrake) already support and do pretty well at detecting and auto-configuring hardware _which their are drivers for_ in the kernel or available.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of hardware that does not have linux drivers, and most of it seems to be in notebooks, and in modems.
Notebooks are notorious in tech circles for being proprietary as all get out. Modems are modems, but a winmodem isn't a modem, it requires application software.
OTOH the linmodem project is making good progress, already supporting many common winmodems, and there are drivers in the kernel for IBM's (infamous) mwave chipset.
The point is made in the original article, (although over-balanced by FUD and related drivel) :
Linux is the fastest developing software system in existence, and it seems likely that it will get over these hurdles as it has many previous ones.
Linux has quality GUIs, office software, and commercial games, as well as growing suppport for emulation of other systems, and most of these things were developed in just the last three or four years.
Oh and buy your next portable from Apple, Emperor Linux, or Yellow Dog Linux ;)