I almost never need a fire starter. I like to have a fire, but it isn't really necessary most of the time. In cold weather, rain and for drying out stuff, I agree. A fire is really needed. It depends on where you are going to hike. Nothing like laying down to sleep next to dying campfire as an owl hoots in the distance, though. I gott'a get out more...
Olive oil was already mentioned, but most oils or fats will work. Cooking oil, fritoes, potatoe chips, bacon fat, parified butter, etc. All are things I often have in my pack. Worst case, I have a small piece of candle that can be shaved for some parifin bits into a cocoa envelope or wrapped into other food wrappers. Insure there is some dry paper, cotton, small pieces of twisted wood or something to make a wick. A piece of bark works as a continer for any melted wax, or oils. I usually have an envelope from hot cocoa or from a supper that works pretty well. Any aluminum foil can be picked out of the fire in the morning, if I use one that has foil in it. Soo, I never carry a specific fire starter. It weighs too much. Like so many things related to UL camping, it is how you use what you have. A 14gm container of firestartes is not something I would carry for only starting fires.
But a new camper may not know these tricks. So, I agree that these type of articles need to be restated rather regularly. Kind of booooring? Yes. Do I read every article in any magaine? I agree, they have their place.