I was in the mood to play some games on Zsnes. While playing them on the keyboard is one possible way to go about controlling the games, nothing beats playing with a gamepad. The authenticity of holding the controller in your hand... nothin' beats it.
Plugged in the pad and boom, I could just configure the buttons in Zsnes without doing anything extra. That's it. No questions asked. I think I'm in love with my computer and Ubuntu. If you know a good therapist, please send me their number.
The same thing went for my webcamera. Plugged it in and I was ready to talk on Skype. All you need to do is find a program that'll make use of your device and you're set.
The reason behind this is because the Linux kernel has many drivers for most things built right in. I'm sure there's some book out there that goes into deep detail, but for what the regular person needs to know, a TON of stuff "just works" under Linux.