Clear Linux is a Linux Distribution created by Intel for developers, researchers and any other person with an interest in using Linux as a tool rather than desktop. This unlike mainstream distros i.e Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, CentOS e.t.c is excellent for specific purposes. Clear Linux was created for a few reasons, most importantly to maximize the performance on Intel platforms. It works better on intel Platforms than AMD platforms. Clear Linux has the following installation options:

  • Desktop installation
  • Server installation
  • Container deployment

Clear Linux has the following amazing features:

  1. Easy to use because of autoproxy, stateless and swupd
  2. Has auto update checks
  3. Release candense
  4. custom derivatives
  5. Administrate, it provides a Telemetrics solution for collecting useful information about a deploy

This guide demonstrates how to install Clear Linux on VirtualBox / VMWare. Before we begin with our Clear Linux installation, you need to do the following:

  1. Enable virtualization on the host system in EFI/BIOS
  2. Download and install the latest version of Virtualbox and follow Virtualbox Installation Instructions for your system.

Step 1 – Download Clear Linux ISO Image

Download the iso from Clear Linux releases page. On the page, there are multiple options

Here you can choose to install the Desktop or server version. Click download and set a download path for the file.

Next you validate the integrity of the downloaded ISO file by referring to the Validate signatures documentation

Step 2 – Create a New Clear Linux virtual machine

We will create a new virtual machine by using Virtualbox | Vmware

We need to create a new virtual machine on Virtualbox | VMWare where we will install Clear Linux. Creating a new virtual machine is done through the following steps:

  • Launch Virtualbox | VMWare on your host system
  • Click the New to create a new Virtual Machine

1. On Virtualbox

For those using Virtualbox, creating and mounting ISO to the Virtual Machine is done as below.

Launch virtualbox and click on “New” to create a new Virtual Machine.

When creating a new VM, we need to name the VM, give the path to store the files, give the type of OS and the version. After entering the details, click Next

Here, you are required to set the memory for your machine from the total system’s memory.

When set, click Next.

You are required to create a hard disk for Clear Linux. I chose (Create a virtual hard disk now) and click create

Then proceed and create the disk type I selected (Virtual Hard Disk)

Click Next and create a dynamically allocated disk(grows) or fixed. I selected dynamically allocated as below.

Then enter the size of the hard disk you want to create. It should be greater than 19 GB

Then click Create to create the hard disk for Clear Linux.

Your Virtual Machine now exists, with the memory and hard disk created. Now we need to make changes if there are any to the network interface by selecting the virtual machine and navigating to the settings tab. You might want to change the network adapter to bridged, NAT, generic e.t.c. When done, click ok to save the changes.

Mount ISO file in Virtualbox

Now let’s mount Clear Linux ISO on the created Virtual Machine. We need to mount the downloaded ISO before powering on the Virtual Machine.

To mount the ISO navigate to Settings>> Storage as below

While here, load the downloaded ISO file at Controller IDE, click + and add an optical drive.

Navigate to the download path and select the downloaded ISO file.

With the ISO loaded, Click “Start” to begin the installation process.

On VMware

For those using VMWare, the process is a bit different here. Lauch VMWare and click “create new Virtual machine

Proceed and create a virtual machine by locating the ISO file and loading it.

Select the type of Operating system. (Linux OS)

Set the Virtual Machine’s name

Create a disk for your Clear Linux Virtual Machine as below.

After making all the above settings, the virtual machine will have the below settings. On this page, you can still edit your settings either add or remove something. You might need to add/reduce the RAM, hard disk size, assign a new VM name e.t.c

Clicking “Finish” means you have agreed to the settings made and your new VM will be created as shown below.

Click “Close” and proceed with the installation.

Step 3 – Install Clear Linux on Virtualbox | VMWare

Proceed to live installation by clicking on “Clear Linux* OS” as shown.

This opens Clear Linux live session. While in live mode we now need to run the installation in the below steps:

Launch Clear Linux Installer

Open the terminal by clicking at activity then find it. Or use the shortcut CTL+ALT+T,. On the terminal, change to the root user $ sudo su then run the command.

clr-installer

Sample output

This launches the installation Interface.

Choose TimeZone

You are required to choose your Timezone

Choose the Language.

Choose your preferred language from the list

Configure the keyboard as well.

Configure Installation Media

Here you are required to select installation media and installation method. I chose Safe Installation.

Create a User

Next we create a user for our system. With the required credentials as below:

With the user and a strong password created, proceed and confirm to add the user

Telemetry

This feature is used to report failures and crushes. Enable it by clicking YES

With everything set appropriately, let’s install Clear Linux

By confirming install, you have agreed to all the information created. The installation process will begin:

When the installation is complete,click exit.

Shutdown the system.

shutdown now

Remove ISO Attachment On Virtualbox | VMWare

We need to unmount the ISO file to avoid the system booting using it.

Virtualbox

Now on Virtualbox navigate to Settings>>Storage Then right click at the ISO file and select Remove Attachment

Confirm this by clicking OK

VMWare

To unmount the iso on VMWare, click “Edit virtual machine settings” on the created VM.

Click on the ISO file as shown above and click Remove. Then save and start the machine

Step 4 – Test Clear Linux Installation

We have successfully installed Clear Linux on Virtualbox/VMWare. Lets now start our Virtual Machine and test it.

In Clear Linux, commands are quite different, swupd is used to link Clear Linux with upstream updates and software. Swupd has two main functions which are:

  • Managing software and replacing yum or apt by installing bundles and not packages.
  • Checking system updates and installing them

Let’s look at simple commands in Clear Linux.

Update system.

$ swupd update
Version on server (34860) is not newer than system version (34860)
Update complete - System already up-to-date at version 34860

Autoupdate

$ sudo swupd autoupdate
Enabled

Check update

$ sudo swupd check-update
Current OS version: 34860
Latest server version: 34860
There are no updates available

Find commands using swupd search for example we want to install vim and we don’t know the command to run. We just issue

$ sudo swupd search vim
Bundle with the best search result:
     vim                            	- Vi Improved, a configurable, improved version of the vi text editor. (installed)

This bundle can be installed with:

  swupd bundle-add  vim

Alternative bundle options are
     vim-minimal                    	- A completely bare version of Vim. 
     os-utils-gui                   	- Provides a graphical desktop environment. 
     neovim                         	- Fork of Vim aiming to improve user experience, plugins, and GUIs 

So, we run swupd bundle-add vim. So we have identified that installing an app, we use swupd bundle-add flag

$ sudo swupd bundle-add wget
Loading required manifests...
Downloading packs for:
 - wget
 [100%]

Finishing packs extraction...
Validate downloaded files
 [100%]

No extra files need to be downloaded
 [100%]

Installing files...
 [100%]

Calling post-update helper scripts
Successfully installed 1 bundle

Removing a bundle/ uninstalling a package use swupd bundle-remove. Let’s try and remove vim

$ swupd bundle-remove vim
The following bundles are being removed:
 - vim

Deleting bundle files...
 [100%]

Total deleted files: 241

Successfully removed 1 bundle

To view more Clear Linux commands run:

sudo swupd --help

Conclusion

That is it! We have successfully installed Clear Linux Clear Linux on VirtualBox / VMWare. We have also tested Clear Linux and seen the basic commands. I hope this article was helpful

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