Today is the first time I had the need. I have a Win7 installation ISO I need to burn on to a physical disc. I right clicked the file and selected "Open with Disc Burner". That opened up Brasero, then I realized I didn't actually have a burner on the system.
No worries. I plugged into eSATA a Dell E-module I could find, and put in a DVD-R blank. The disc was spinning for a long time, and Brasero still said "no disc available". So I took a closer look at the drive - it's a DVD-ROM. What a dummy! Who keeps DVD-ROM drives around anymore these days?
I went looking again and found a Buffalo external Blu-ray burner. That oughta do it. Plugged in the power and USB, inserted the blank disc, and in a minute Brasero saw the disc and I was able to start burning. A few minutes later I got my Win7 install disc.
So, except for my own dumb act, it was an entirely smooth operation. A few years back, Linux desktop distros were still deemed too troublesome to use (by some I should say). Now it challenges the best experience Windows or OS X can offer, with only a fraction of the hardware vendor cooperation those guys got, not to mention billions of dollars wasted on copy right protection and marketing. That's what I call bang for the buck.