Yes–this new is sad, because the GNU/Linux “way” has always been to keep using any and all life left in a device before relegating it to the landfill. I can almost always use an old, limping, and partially functional computer as a very nice network firewall, at the very least!
I just installed Ubuntu-Mate 16.04 on my PPC Mac Mini to replace 12.04 LTS that was running the classic desktop for many years (running Ubuntu releases almost since new in 2005 via dual boot). I dropped OSX dual-booting years ago, but I’m not ready to make the jump to another currently supported BSD-based distro yet. Given the way everything on my Mac Min still works perfectly (despite being powered-on 24/7 for most of the last dozen+ years), I will probably install Gentoo when support for 16.04 ends. Of course kernel.org could eventually drop support too.
Thank you to the dedicated Ubuntu-Mate community members that gave my Mini a few more years of life. (I can’t afford the bits from my tethered smartphone to install or maintain Gentoo, ATM.)
Given that fewer users are available as PPC distro testers these days, I did not find it to be surprising that it took more work to bring up 16.04 than I think I’ve spent on a GNU/Linux installation since early Slackware days (and that includes several Gentoo installations since those early days), but I finally got everything I need working. Even my ancient and persnickety Apple bluetooth keyboard and mouse are working and auto-connecting at auto-logon. The only hardware I’ve not yet attempted to access are the internal 56k modem and Firewire. I might eventually try to connect to a couple of Firewire drives and a Firewire HDTV recorder, but my USB soft RAID-5 array started up immediately and always assembles with all four drives on the first attempt (something that 12.04 and previous Ubuntu versions could not always accomplish and ALL Intel/AMD GNU/Linux systems have completely refused to connect to my soft USB RAID array).
My Mini is really quite a nice PC that I’m also using for a little server functionality. I didn’t even need to startup shorewall firewall this time. After a little searching to solve Network Manager’s shared interface fixed IP puzzle, I decided to settle on Internet sharing of my tethered smartphone without shorewall by just changing my external router/DHCP server to use the default Network Manager subnet.
Again, I think I’ve got a very nice 12 year-old PC running here and it’s still a very cool-looking tiny PC. It would probably be one of easiest on which to run 100% free open source software and firmware, sans potentially evil binary blobs. I think the only blob I’m using is in the Broadcom driver. There are no mainstream PCs today that offer fully-free code capability, though I guess the Raspberry Pi is now mainstream so I guess I’ll have look into it and see if it can run 100% free.