As stated the other day I managed to win an iMac G4 15" on Freecycle. Result! I've played around with it a little since and I really like it. The screen resolution could be better and sharper (1024 x 768) but at a distance it looks fine. The speakers are excellent (and loud!) and thus far I have played a few CDs through it, as well as testing the odd DVD - again it looks fine from a little distance.
There was no connectivity, but I had an old third-party wireless receiver for the old xBox 360 which worked as soon as I plugged it in, which was a nice surprise. Unfortunately I then ran up against the limitations of OS X 10.1 and Internet Explorer 5 (?). It was rubbish.
Whilst the 'win' had been an unexpected and unplanned for event, I had already formulated vague plans of using it as some sort of iTunes/media server or as an entertainment centre in the kitchen for watching and listening to media as I cook, etc.
So I carried out a bit of an investigation and it looks like upgrading to OS X 10.4 (Tiger) would do the trick, as it would allow me to run a more modern browser, although I apparently will need to upgrade the RAM from the current 256mb by inserting a 1GB unit in the user-expandable slot to get the best performance out of it.
A slight ball-ache as I have to buy a disc version of OS X (roughly £20 on eBay) and the performance may actually degrade, regardless of RAM upgrades, due to the more intensive demands of the upgraded OS.
And then it hit me - why OS X at all? Until I migrated over the MacBook Air I had been using both a windows PC desktop and a netbook, both of which had different versions of different distributions of Linux installed over time. I was generally pleased with them, loving the ease of Ubuntu whilst hating its desktop environment (soon changed). That was on the netbook, and after some jiggerypokery I settled on Mint Linux on the desktop.
A little more research revealed that there are several distros that support the PowerPC architecture that the G4 uses, and these distros would allow me to use the latest (or as near as dammit) software. And performance won't be too much of an issue, particularly if the distro is a fairly stripped down one. Plus the distros tend to be free.
So that is the plan, which won't be without its hassles and hiccups, but then this is the sort of tinkering I like to do on occasion.
I'll let you know how it goes...