> Why would I want to do that instead of installing a stock distribution kernel from, say, Debian, which already comes with most of the stuff I need to get my hardware running, and makes it convenient to install the rest?
Precisely because this convenience will play against you and the community when the time comes to recommend a computer for someone else to buy, or even at your next purchase.
If you make it easy and convenient for yourself to remain captured, odds are you won't fight as hard to release yourself.
If you go through a painful experience, and you understand that the pain is inflicted by the hardware vendor rather than by the operating system community, you will work hard to avoid that pain next time.
It's a way of using your own emotional feedback for long-term personal and social advantage.