For some reason this popped in my head - talk about a flash in the pan tech craze. Link to verge article just because.
Until just this year my home server was an EeePC 900A
Sweet, I wasn’t expecting that. Good use of old hardware.
The thing ran like a champ for more than ten years, I think. My new server I bought a few years ago in case the EeePC broke, but it never did. I just retired it because I figured it was not necessary to have both systems running, and the newer one uses less power.
Since mine was a first generation Atom system it was 32 bit, and my OS (FreeBSD) began dropping support for i686, so you could say it outlived its own architecture.
I still have two of them (both Asus), one I bought it myself and the other was the school computer of my little brother. I have both of them stored now, but I used them long time ago to make servers (like Minecraft server)… but to work and use in daily it’s awful and slow.
I use Packard Bell’s netbook as my Linux home server these days.
Throw Linux with a light desktop environment on one of those and it can still hold up today.
By the way, I just read the entire article, and regarding the, “Did anyone buy…?” question, the laptop was incredibly popular. It wasn’t just a handful of tech bloggers, but the fact that all the major laptop manufacturers were pushing netbooks hard for years shows that they were indeed selling. Why else would ASUS introduce so many models?
People might not remember what it was like back then, but the thirst for cheap laptops was real. Prior to netbooks, the OLPC project which promised a $100 laptop, was like this impossible dream that geeks had waited all their lives for. Now in today’s world of Raspberry Pi’s, a computer for under $100 is not that impressive anymore. My own EeePC was I think around $165 on clearance, or it was a refurb, idk. Yes, the keyboard was too small to type on, but it was my dream of a cheap laptop.
What these machines were better at, was that they had incredible battery life, and they were extremely portable. Going back to who bought them, well even my mother had one, but also I can remember the year they came out attending a conference at Adobe, and nearly all the attendees (mainly a bunch of programmers) had one with them.
I also had friends in the developing world (like Iran) whose first notebook (and possibly even first home computer) was a netbook at around that time. It might have been the first time they were able to afford a laptop. It made me think that these devices had become important for global access, although smartphones clearly took over shortly thereafter.
I think the author is right that even though netbooks are technically dead, their spirit lives on in other devices. I would not have thought of tablets like the iPad, but I think netbooks somehow drove Apple to create the MacBook Air. People still need cheap laptops, and Chromebooks are definitely a thing now. That’s what I’ve got now.
So far, however, the cheapest laptop I own is some Sylvania netbook that ran Windows CE. I seem to remember paying something like $20 for it, but it might have been somewhere up to $50 in reality. Somehow I got it to run Debian and I have no idea how I managed that.
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