Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence. - Napoleon
Most Windoze installs are ok after a clean install. Give it a few months and THEN see how it performs. The achilles heal of Microsoft has always been that the OS degrades (quickly) over time.
GPL vs. Apache really does matter a great deal. I work for a very large (15 billion) dollar news and information corp. Apache licensed projects are aok to use for any of our products. GPL is strictly verboten by our legal division. Like it or not, GPL precludes the retention of corporate IP, even if the libraries are used unmodified. I would encourage any open source projects that want to be considered in mainstream (for profit) IT shops to use an Apache or an Apache style license.
Is there anyone actually selling one of these netbooks? Or is it just vaporware?
The type of storage that is used is not really important. What is important is that the restore procedure is tested. There is no reason floppies would not be ok (Although a CDR would be more modern). The key is TEST THE RESTORE PROCEDURE regularly. A backup is not a backup until it is verified.