As long as you have an average broadband connection you really don't need an optical drive
Installing the OS is really the one obstacle most people might fumble with without a disc drive, but it isn't that hard to learn to create a replacement USB drive which can ultimately result in much faster
Once you have the OS installed you can download all the drivers and apps, which while that might be slower unless you have very high end broadband, is ultimately superior again because it will be up-to-date (packaged driver discs can be months or even years behind)
Music will have plenty of high bit rate (or even lossless) choices online, even DRM free, although buying a CD might still be cheaper overall (if you actually want every track on that CD
The only thing that really might be a drag is video. Getting legit BluRay quality streaming online might not be the easiest or even possible without a solid broadband connection.
Really the only thing I use a ROM drive for any more is to burn music CDs for road trips, but even this is becoming rarer with car stereos that are mp3 capable either through reading flash memory or a PMP.
Originally Posted by jellis142
Cloud? Show me an optical drive that has a bandwidth cap.
becoming more reliant on online data delivery by phasing out physical media is actually a great way to reduce broadband prices and get rid of bandwidth caps (or at least increase to reasonable levels)
with a greater customer demand as well as entrenched customer pricing expectations the ISPs will simply have little choice other than to increase supply