Jorge O. Castro edited this page Jan 20, 2019 · 30 revisions

Using Clear Linux as an everyday devops/cloudnative/kubernetes client

Personal notes for clear linux as a client. Just works on my X1 Carbon and X230, NUC, and home built 6700k build with a fix (see below)

What makes it awesome

  • Auto updating, sometimes multiple times per day. Core is small and tightly scoped so there's not much to break. haven't had a bad kernel or wireless regression in the 8 months I've been trying it. Though tbh all my laptops are intel only so I would hope that all works.
  • Can add all the cloud tools I want for the public clouds and they stay up to date.
  • flatpaks for stuff that is out of scope for the core os. This lets me run everything else I need for work (slack, vscode/atom, etc.) Most of the client stuff you'd want from a distro is available.
  • For server stuff, all containers, all the time .... yeeeaaaaaaaah.

Nice to have

  • I like that in containerlinux I can manage reboots for things like kernel updates, I wonder if locksmithd or whatever the equivalent is a good idea? Fixed!
  • It'd be nice to ship gnome-software with flathub preconfigured. They do this now!
  • snapd wouldn't be bad, there's some stuff in there I wouldn't mind (mailspring). Just connect both to the gnome-software thing and have one big-ole store. This isn't going to happen.
  • Had to build synergy-core from source as it's not available in swupd or a flatpak. They ship a synergy pundle now
  • Arc theme is awesome, Moka is good, but wish they'd ship the pure upstream firefox icon, at first I wasn't sure I was getting an upstream experience. It's not hard to check but it's nice to know right away I'm getting firefox firefox.
    • Sam Hewitt did the Moka theme, he's done lots of work for different distros and is very approachable, I wonder what feedback he could give with a once over of the desktop. Find low hanging fruit that could make the experience better but not incur a maintenance cost to the developers.


Server Stuff

  • It'd be nice if kubeadm "Just worked" on CL, this would need upstream kubeadm work I think, haven't had time to investigate why init fails, maybe just a bug? I clearly need to dogfood this. Engineer at Kubecon confirmed they have this working and plan on supporting it, awesome.
    • Already ships Cockpit!
    • If it was all wired together ootb it'd be a nice k8s homelab that could Just work on a NUC ootb. Then just add more NUCs with kubeadm to grow. I need time to work on this but yes, clear + a NUC with kubeadm is totally doable.
    • k8s developers would love the aggressive update schedule. Or would they?
  • minikube in cloud-native-basic would be awesome
    • It'd be awesome if it launched a clearcontainer instead of using a virtualbox backend thing.
  • rkt would be great to add to one of the cloud bundles I don't need this anymore.
  • I need to investigate this more.
  • Newer NUCs ship with Optane, it'd be nice to pair that with a 2.5 inch drive and bcache
    • bcache needs a patch (PR upstream from a distro dev) to work on newer gcc's, works awesome with nvm-e drive.

Stuff you're going to have to give up or work around

  • Chrome - Moved back to firefox with the new improvements anyway.
  • Zoom - tried this in a container, didn't really work. Now has a flatpak!
  • OBS - needs a flatpak. Now has a flatpak!
  • Slack - links from slack don't autoopen in firefox, I think that's a flatpak thing though.
  • Some internet video doesn't work, ff needs h264 I guess? Not really a problem for me since work machines just need youtube to work.
  • GNOME Extensions - the popular ones can be easily built, but missing a nice GUI way to browse and install extensions, looks like they added a package recently to make, need to investigate. With gnome-software included you can now browse the addons from there and install them.
  • Skylake CPUs might lock up when linux tries to powersave, had to install with these options, which you can tack on in the installer and the machine with install it with these flags and persist them after install:

Out of Scope crazy I am trying

  • Ship the nouveau stuff? I have some builds with nvidia cards and it'd be nice to just work. Done, they ship full mesa stack just install the steam flatpak and game on the entire free stack, quite cool.
  • Was able to successfully build a "clearlinux steam machine" with an i7-6700/RX 580
    • Mesa and Kernel are aggressively up to date, makes it nice.
    • Witcher 3, Batman Arkham Origins, and a bunch of games work fine with Proton.
    • Built SteamOS's compositor and made a dedicated session in gdm to autologin
      • Compositor works fine, games/windows launch fullscreen - console-like success!
      • Modeswitch library in /usr/bin/steamos-session doesn't work
      • Can't get steam to recognize hdmi audio out for this.
    • Just running BPM from the desktop session, sound works fine. There's gotta be a way to get hdmi out sound working in the dedicated steam session! (Tried all sorts of flags to the steam flatpak)
    • No need to bother grabbing the plymouth artwork, boots too fast anyway.
    • For steam controller I had to manually add the udev rules and make sure to load the uinput module on boot.
    • Shutdown/reboot from the steam menus doesn't work, I think this has something to do with configuring logind.
    • swupd updates in the background, no need for me to care about OS-level updates, since it's a "console" it's naturally rebooting often enough for me to end up on a new kernel.
    • Running out of excuses to not pick up that Hades Canyon NUC. Got one. 💃
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