Giving Clear Linux a try

  • 1st Mar 2020
  • • 
  • 3 min read
  • Last updated on 18th Nov 2023


The installation experience was very straightforward, similar to the one of Ubuntu I'd say. The graphical interface leaves next to no room for mistakes and presents you with a ready-to-go system with just a few clicks.

The only thing I was missing was F2FS (Flash-Friendly File System) support, which is my preferred filesystem. However, at the time of my writing this post, a pull request adding support for it has been merged.

The Good

The very first thing I noticed when booting Clear Linux, was the boot process itself. It is blazing fast! Despite full root encryption. I also found confirmation of that impression here.

Since the default desktop environment of the distro is Gnome, I was then greeted by the Gnome Desktop Manager. A choice I very much support, as Gnome gives a very complete desktop experience in my opinion, including support for X11 and Wayland.

Last but not least, all the software I installed was up-to-date, which is one of the big promises on the distro's website.

The Bad

While the software I installed was up-to-date, it still cost me quite some frustration. Clear Linux offers a lot of its packages in bundles, e.g. the desktop-dev bundle, which includes lots of different packages that you might need or might not. As for me, I prefer being in control of what is being installed, rather than having to get a whole bundle of things of which half of it is useless to me.

Another packaging format that is supported is Flatpak. A containerized, distribution-independent packaging format that claims to be "The Future Of Apps On Linux." As they offer Visual Studio Code, which is my main code editor, I gave it a try. The first problem, the integrated terminal was not working as I was used to. The Z shell didn't respect my config files, certain executables weren't usable... and I am not the only one.

Last but not least, only 1 week into the experiment, my Gnome Wayland setup didn't load anymore, instead, I was greeted with a black screen on log-in. The X11 variant still worked though, so I tried to repair it from there. However, attempt after attempt the frustration grew bigger and bigger and I needed my system to be reliable at work, so I just decided to pull the plug and re-install the trusted Arch Linux.


I am still glad I gave Clear Linux a try and despite the problems that I faced, I am still very impressed with how far this very young distro has come. The performance is astonishing, and I hope other distros can integrate some of Clear Linux's patches. I can't wait to try out the next up-and-coming distro, whichever it might be.