If you had actually read your parent's post you'd see that he was responding to "It would seem that this does not actually inconvenience their customers at all right?" in which case he was correct in saying that it does inconvenience him, as a customer that pays for Apple's OS, when they disallow or require a hack to install it on an Atom CPU.
Unfortunately I haven't found any OS that can handle upgrades well for everybody. The problem is that as time progresses, little hacks and tweaks here and there are applied, as well as a random bug that results in undesired behavior, and the result is that your OS is far enough away from what would be considered a "vanilla" install, and the upgrade fails to complete as expected. I imagine that if you were to install a default 8.04 you could probably upgrade all the way to 9.10 without many issues.
It's not bloated, hardware has just been updated. It makes no sense to continue developing for decade-old hardware when almost nobody uses it. If you're looking to run linux on it, you certainly can, take a gander at http://wiki.linuxfromscratch.org/lfs and put together exactly what you want, using absurdly low amounts of disk space and memory.
If you want a desktop distro that's pre-configured, go back in time and find an old version that was created specifically for that hardware's era.
Thanks for playing, though!