App note from IXYS talking about MOSFET operating in linear region in application like electronic load. Link here (PDF)
Power MOSFETs are most often used in switchedmode applications where they function as on-off switches. But in applications like electronic loads, linear regulators or Class A amplifiers, power MOSFETs must operate in their linear region. In this operating mode, the MOSFETs are subjected to high thermal stress due to the simultaneous occurrence of high drain voltage and current, resulting in high power dissipation.
When the thermo-electrical stress exceeds some critical limit, thermal hot spots occur in the silicon causing the devices to fail. To prevent such failure, MOSFETs operating in the linear region require high power dissipation capability and an extended forward-bias safe operating area (FBSOA).