Linux desktop has saved the cub seal
Those years ago I have not owned a computer for long enough to be able to confirm it. But now I have. My own laptop is 7 years and 10 months old now. Apart from the faulty hard drive (which was gone on the second year) the laptop is still running, the software has been updated many many times but the operability is still there.
My dad is now using it with basic Fedora 12 install (plus skype and video codecs). No significant impairment of usability is observed. I use the same hardware on my work laptop for the last 5 years and I can assure you it is capable of doing almost anything you can think of, except playing really large video files. And then again most computers can't do it.
So yes, the seal cub was saved. Partially by me, I like to think so!