1997 called and wants its comment back...
For machines which are not routers the comment is just as valid now as it was then. If you use a GNU/Linux distribution that takes security seriously then it will not install any externally-visible network services by default. The attack surface in that condition is small enough that installing a firewall won't help much, and might even make matters worse. If you deliberately install any public-facing network services then you need to add matching firewall rules, so again no benefit.
A firewall does help if you install a private network service and forget to bind it to the loopback interface (unless you have one of those systems which automatically install a firewall rule alongside the network service, which totally defeats the purpose of having a firewall). In any event, this only protects against internal incompetence rather than external malice, so is not a necessary part of running a secure system.
Firewalls are useful on routers, and on servers where you want very specific control of what can be accessed from where (such as a DBMS that is only accessible from a single client machine), but for typical Linux-based hosts they add little.