... Ugh. 2.4.
Anyone that ever lived the transition from 2.2 to 2.4 knows how amazing it was. (E.g. switching from RedHat Linux 6.x to 7.1-2).
It was the first time I had fully functioning machine, USB, network, GPU (via nVidia's proprietary drivers) - the works.
Coincidentally, RedHat Linux 7.1 marked the last time I had Windows (2000) on my primary machine.
Nostology aside, people who still use 2.4 (mostly embedded systems) don't really need additional features - heck, in many cases they don't even need security patches. (The last I used 2.4 we had an extremely optimized kernel with our own patch-set that was tailored for our machine and was capable of full boot within 4-5 seconds - most likely its still being used...). For these embedded markets, having a maintained kernel is a bonus - nothing else.
It's unfortunate that no one is interested in back porting hardware drivers. I think we're lucky to get them past two kernel releases.
Linux is becoming the rich man's motor carriage.
It's mostly that everyone's accepted that it's the job of distros to backport drivers from upstream releases to the previous one. If your distro doesn't do that and you think it should, you might want to start looking at another distro.