Below is a list of commonly asked questions with answers sourced from the Clear Linux* OS team and Clear Linux community forums.

General

Why did you make another distro?

The Clear Linux OS team felt that performance was left on the table with Linux software. Clear Linux OS takes a holistic approach to improving performance across the stack. We also wanted to take more modern approaches with OS updates and tooling.

Can other distros copy Clear Linux OS improvements?

Yes, we absolutely love open source reuse and upstreaming improvements.

How often do you update?

The Clear Linux OS team puts out multiple releases a week, often releasing 2 or more times a day. This rolling release approach allows Clear Linux OS to remain agile to upstream changes and security patches.

Is telemetry required?

The telemetry solution provided by Clear Linux OS is entirely optional and customizable. It is disabled by default. If you do choose to enable telemetry, the data helps the Clear Linux OS team proactively identify and resolve bugs. See the telemetry page for more information.

What is the default firewall?

Clear Linux OS packages iptables as a bundle, however, there are no default firewall rules. All network traffic is allowed by default.

Where are the files that I usually see under /etc like fstab?

Clear Linux OS has a stateless design that maintains a separation between system files and user files. Default values are stored under /usr/share/defaults/. Files under /etc/ are not created unless you create one.

A blog post explaining how this is accomplished with /etc/fstab/ specifically is available here: https://clearlinux.org/news-blogs/where-etcfstab-clear-linux

Software packages

How is software installed and updated?

Clear Linux OS provides software in the form of bundles and updates software with swupd.

FlatPak* is an application virtualization solution that allows more software to be available to Clear Linux OS users by augmenting the software Clear Linux OS packages natively with software available through FlatPak.

Our goal is to have software packaged natively and made available through bundles whenever possible.

Does Clear Linux OS use RPMs like other distros?

Clear Linux OS provides software in the form of bundles. The RPM format is used as an intermediary step for packaging and determining software dependencies at OS build time.

Individual RPMs can sometimes be manually installed on a Clear Linux OS system with the right tools, but that is not the intended use case.

Can I install a software package from another OS on Clear Linux OS?

Software that is packaged in other formats for other Linux distributions is not guaranteed to work on Clear Linux OS and may be impacted by Clear Linux OS updates.

If the software you’re seeking is open source, please submit a request to add it to Clear Linux OS. Submit requests on GitHub* here: https://github.com/clearlinux/distribution/issues

Software availability

What software is available on Clear Linux OS?

Available software can be found in the Software Store, through the GNOME* Software application on the desktop, or by using swupd search.

Is Google* Chrome* available?

The Google Chrome web browser is not distributed as a bundle in Clear Linux OS due to copyright and licensing complexities.

A discussion on manually installing and maintaining Google Chrome can be found on GitHub: https://github.com/clearlinux/distribution/issues/422

Is FFmpeg available?

FFmpeg is a multimedia software suite, which is commonly used for various media encoding/decoding, streaming, and playback.

Clear Linux OS does not distribute FFmpeg due to well-known licensing and legal complexities (See https://www.ffmpeg.org/legal.html and http://blog.pkh.me/p/13-the-ffmpeg-libav-situation.html).

Read more in the Clear Linux OS repository, including discussion of an alternative hardware-based solution: https://github.com/clearlinux/distribution/issues/429.

While Clear Linux OS cannot distribute FFmpeg, a manual solution to build and install FFmpeg under /usr/local has been shared on the community forums: https://community.clearlinux.org/t/how-to-h264-etc-support-for-firefox-including-ffmpeg-install.

Is ZFS* available?

ZFS is not available with Clear Linux OS because of copyright and licensing complexities. BTRFS is an alternative filesystem that is available in Clear Linux OS natively.

A user on GitHub notes that the ZFS kernel module can be compiled, built, and installed manually: https://github.com/clearlinux/distribution/issues/631

Can you add a driver that I need?

If a kernel module is available as part of the Linux kernel source tree but not enabled in the Clear Linux OS kernels, in many cases the Clear Linux OS team will enable it upon request. Submit requests on GitHub here: https://github.com/clearlinux/distribution/issues

The Clear Linux OS team does not typically add out-of-tree kernel modules as a matter of practice because of the maintenance overhead. If the driver was unable to be merged upstream, there is a good chance we may be unable to merge it for similar reasons.

Kernel modules can be individually built and installed on Clear Linux OS. See the kernel modules page for more information.