User Access Control, a scapegoat?

As Windows 7 is round the corner, lets get a little backwards in the time-line. Windows Vista kept us waiting for over six years, since the release of Windows XP, before hitting the retail stores in January 2007. Opening with mixed reviews, with some curiosity aroused by the Aero graphics engine and a new system architecture, the much hyped Vista settled down as a failure. Various reasons were given for the failure, which included the mammoth amount of system resources it required, the slow system performance, etc. But, one of the most cursed feature of Vista was the User Access Control.
UAC as it is commonly referred to as, is actually a feature which Microsoft added to Vista to enhance its security, by asking the user's confirmation before allowing any program to perform any serious (sometimes trivial) operation. People even went to the extent of rebranding UAC as User Annoyance Control. Norton noted that, "The more a user is prompted, the more likely it is that he or she will dismiss the prompt without reading it, and hence it is a false security model." And UAC became the easy target for Microsoft bashers and Windows haters.
But, is it really an annoyance? I personally felt it is not. Spending a few extra seconds reading a popup is always an easier option than installing a multi-megabyte antivirus software. Atleast you know whatever is happening in your system. Which all applications are trying to execute. I know each time my pendrive is trying to autoplay. It has helped me many a times from getting infected from external media.
After all is'nt this the very same security model followed in the Linux systems? Does'nt it ask for admin rights each time we try to do some system operation? In fact I have felt the frequency of popups more in my Ubuntu than in my Vista. I was rather disappointed when I heard Microsoft has partially removed the UAC from Windows 7. Though Vista may well be a below par product from Microsoft, I think the criticism on UAC was rather unfair. But, well that is MY opinion. You can have your say.