Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Back in the day, Netbooks ran Linux and packed solid-state drives. But Windows XP and big hard disk drives have prevailed.
The early Asus Eee PCs--which almost single-handedly created the Netbook market--came with a Linux operating system and small-capacity solid-state "flash" drives ranging from 2GB to 8GB. Early Acer Aspire Netbooks were also offered with Linux and a solid-state drive.
Those devices bore little resemblance to PC laptops. (Will a wave of Google Chrome OS-based devices revive the minimalist Netbook next year?) The Eee PC was a tiny, stripped-to-the-bone device that required minimalist hardware to run an efficient Linux OS.
Fast forward to today: Windows XP rules, with a Netbook-specific Windows 7 on the way. And a glance at the Netbook lineups from any top PC maker--including Hewlett-Packard, Acer, and Toshiba--reveals few, if any, any Linux offerings and equally few solid-state drive options.