I'm a Comcast home customer in NJ and I can confirm this doesn't happen to me when querying my DNS servers on different networks.
Buy an off the shelf system with a 3 year warranty for ~$500 (the Dell Inspiron 530 fits the bill - http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/inspndt_530?c=us&cs=19&l=en&ref=dthp&s=dhs). As long as he continues to run the same application, there is no need to upgrade the hardware. He'll be able to buy 5 systems to last 15 years for the price of a system that's guaranteed to last 15 years (is there any such thing?). Using virtualization software will future proof the system by allowing the system to run on any hardware/OS that supports the virtualization software.
I wonder if anyone still actually uses lynx and for what purpose.
According to Wikipedia, "VMware ESX Server uses a stripped-down proprietary kernel (derived from work done on Stanford University's SimOS) that replaces the Linux kernel after hardware initialization. The Service Console (also known as "COS" or as "vmnix") for ESX Server 2.x derives from a modified version of Red Hat Linux 7.2. (The Service Console for ESX Server 3.x derived from a modified version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.) In general, this Service Console acts as a boot-loader for the vmkernel and provides management interfaces (CLI, webpage MUI, Remote Console). This VMware ESX hypervisor virtualization approach provides lower overhead and better control and granularity for allocating resources (CPU-time, disk-bandwidth, network-bandwidth, memory-utilization) to virtual machines. It also increases security, thus positioning VMware ESX as an enterprise-grade product."