Linux Mint on the iOTA Flo 11.6″ laptop

This is how the laptop arrived, pre-installed with Windows 10. I soon put an end to that nonsense!

I recently installed Linux Mint on my iOTA Flo 11.6″ laptop. The process was simple and very straight forward.

The iOTA Flo is a compact 11.6″ laptop featuring 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC drive and a two-core Intel Celeron N33350 1.1GHz CPU, and an Intel HD 500 graphics card. On the sides it has inputs for power, two USB ports, mini HDMI, headphones and a micro SD card slot. It also features a 720p (I think) webcam, full HD (1920 × 1080) screen, and Bluetooth capabilities (which I have switched off for power and security reasons). Not bad for £179.99.

I really wanted to install CloudReady: Home Edition from Neverware, which is a free and easy way to convert your laptop into a Chromebook. But it failed right from the start, unable to find my (or any other) WiFi network. It seems that CloudReady didn’t have the wireless card adapter for the iOTA Flo (apparently it’s a Realtek 802.11n WLAN adapter).

So, I switched to Linux Mint and it installed flawlessly within a few minutes. Linux Mint is a modern, elegant and easy to use operating system. It is based on Debian and Ubuntu so has a lot of compatible software. But in reality, I really just need this machine for a checking emails, doing some web browsing and some light office work.

It starts up and is ready to go in just under one minute. It handles even five or six browser tabs open (I’m trying out Brave with it, rather than jumping straight to Google Chrome). LibreOffice is a perfectly good (and free) alternative to Microsoft Office. I have very little else installed—Sublime Text 3, GitKraken, and espanso to autocomplete text and save me from typing. I have logged in with my Google account and so can easily save to Google Drive as though to a local folder.

Already, this laptop feels slicker and more usable than the rather bloated Microsoft Windows 10. I’m running the Cinnamon desktop with a Google Chromebook-inspired theme and icon set (see this blog post on how). I feel like I can really focus on writing rather than wrestle with Windows.

Battery life has been impressive—lasting a whole day even with the screen brightness cranked up full.

It’s not the fastest of laptops. But having switched from Windows 10 to Linux Mint really has given it a new lease of life. And, to be honest, I don’t miss Windows. It’s just an operating system—it should never get in the way of carrying out whatever task you need to do. Most of the systems I use are online now and whether I use Google Chrome on Windows 10 or Brave on Linux Mint should not make a difference.

I may report back in a few months with an update but already I am delighted with this lightweight (in every way) little laptop. I keep looking for excuses to use it around the house. That has to be a good thing, right?

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 50 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

2 thoughts on “Linux Mint on the iOTA Flo 11.6″ laptop”

  1. I came across this post looking for info on the wifi issue. Unfortunately even now (October 2021) it’s still an issue.

    I have 6 of these Flo laptops that need Cloudready for a school.

    I will speak to Cloudready direct and see if they have a solution.

    1. Yeah, the last time I did an OS refresh on this device, I couldn’t get Cloudready to work on it. I’d be interested in knowing if you can get it to install successfully. I’ve since moved from Linux Mint to elementary OS 6.

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