So, they gave me a USB Compact Flash reader instead. Now the chances of this working under Linux are ...? That's right: zero!
Wrong. There is excellent USB flash reader support in Linux.
In fact, you can do things with it (fdisk flashcards with partitions and more, it's a full scsi-ish emulation) that you cannot do with Windows software. I used it to make a 3 partition flashdisk to install PocketLinux for a Casio Cassiopeia PDA (normally running WinCE). Per the instructions, I created a FAT16 and 2 ext2 partitions, and it worked great, bootstrapping from WinCE into Linux. I could NOT repartition the card under Windows.
SanDisk makes a reader I tried installing on a dozen machines, worked fine on some, blue screened on others, tech support was clueless (It's a really buggy driver). That same reader works like a champ with Linux using usb-storage.o