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Most cameras can attach via a usb cable and just be mounted as a usb mass storage device. If your camera doesn't have direct pc connection you may need to buy a card reader for whatever type of memory the camera uses.
You can download the images the same way virtually all pros and "serious" amateurs download their images--by putting the removable memory card in a memory card reader and copying the files over to the desired location manually.
Unless your computer has firewire or a built in card reader, you'll want a USB2.0 card reader. A memory card in an external card reader is basically the same thing as a thumbdrive as far as the computer is concerned.
Generally, connecting the camera to the computer directly and using the included software just plain sucks (on Windows--yes, the software is Windows only). I've only experienced Canon's bundled software, and while it sucks it's apparently some of the best bundled digicam software out there (in other words, everyone else's is even worse).
Camera software is for the weak, regardless of OS. Just do as mentioned above, connect the camera, use dmesg to see how linux sees the device, then mount it, save your images somewhere, and wipe it clean, repeat.