Clear Linux* OS is a powerful, modular, and customizable OS. Upstream Clear Linux OS offers many images to support different environments and use-cases. There are hundreds of bundles that will meet most, if not all, of your OS and software needs.

However, if you need additional customization or content, Clear Linux OS provides the mixer tool. Depending on your needs, the mixer tool allows you to:

  1. Create a mix to create a distinct derivative of the Clear Linux OS that contains your custom software.
  2. Create a mixin to add custom bundles but also keep updating the OS from upstream.

Create a mix

When creating a mix, you can

  • Use any existing upstream bundles with no modification.
  • Redefine what goes into existing bundles.
  • Create completely new, custom bundles with your own custom packages.

With mixer you are not required to incorporate every upstream release into your mix. You decide which upstream versions to update your derivative to, as illustrated in Figure 1.

Creating a custom mix.

Figure 1: With a custom mix, you add your custom bundle and decide which upstream versions to update your mix to, on your own release cycle.

Creating your own mix forks away from the Clear Linux OS upstream and requires that you act as your own OSV. There is a greater level of responsibility, requiring more infrastructure and processes to adopt. However, with this approach, you have a higher degree of control and customization of your custom Clear Linux OS.

Create a mixin

The second option is to use the mixin tool, a light wrapper for mixer, to create custom bundles and sideload them into your upstream version of Clear Linux OS. A mixin is useful when you need to add custom or 3rd party content but want to keep on the upstream update cycle, as shown in Figure 2. You can also create new bundles using upstream packages.

Creating a custom mix.

Figure 2: With a mixin you can add custom bundles, but stay on upstream.

Mixin is primarily intended for end users. It is easier to adopt as it does not require breaking from upstream or acting as an OSV. With mixin

  • You are responsible for maintaining and testing your custom bundle(s).
  • You retain access to all upstream bundles and updates.
  • You can easily revert your system back to the upstream version.