intel’s clear linux isn’t for me

I installed a ClearLinux VM guest into VirtualBox on my Mac, and I’ve spent several weeks working with it and trying to get it into something similar to what I already have with CentOS 8 and Ubuntu. Tonight I gave up and deleted the VM.

ClearLinux is a distribution maintained and released by Intel. It’s primary claims to fame is that the entire distribution has been built with every optimization available, and it is built with every up-to-date package that you can find including the Linux kernel. So I tried out the latest ClearLinux because of all the positive buzz.

Installing ClearLinux was straightforward enough, especially if you followed the directions on the ClearLinux website ( After that, trying to configure anything simple (like the host name) on up turned into a nearly impossible trial. All the knowledge I’ve build up over the decades working with Redhat, Suse, Debian, and Ubuntu are pretty much useless when in ClearLinux. Rather than go over every problem, let me just say that nearly everything you think you can do with ClearLinux is either missing, or has been reinvented. It has been a good 25 years since I was this frustrated with a Linux distribution.

Even working with Ubuntu for IoT wasn’t this frustrating, although it sure tried to be.

If anything, ClearLinux shows what can be accomplished performance-wise with optimal builds across the entire software stack. But for regular daily-driver use, I sure can’t use ClearLinux. I have too many other excellent distribution choices that are all reasonably performant.