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Pros: Cheap. Flexible with external USB cable. PL2303 devices work perfectly in Linux. I've been using a couple of these with laptops (and newer desktops) running Linux to connect to serial consoles on embedded systems for years with nary an issue. I always keep one in my tool bag.
Cons: Finding working PL2303 Windows drivers took some googling. One star off for lame drivers on bundled CD. Try http://edvoncken.net/2010/08/pl-2303-usb-to-serial-driver/
Other Thoughts: What's this I hear about counterfeit PL2303 chips?