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FAQ

Below is a list of commonly asked questions with answers sourced from the |CL-ATTR| team and Clear Linux community forums.

General

Why did you make another distro?

The |CL| team felt that performance was left on the table with Linux software. |CL| takes a holistic approach to improve performance across the stack. We also wanted to take more modern approaches with OS updates and tooling.


Can other distros copy |CL| improvements?

Yes, we absolutely love open source reuse and upstreaming improvements.


How often do you update?

The |CL| team puts out multiple releases a week, often releasing two or more times a day. This rolling release approach allows |CL| to remain agile to upstream changes and security patches.


Is telemetry required?

The telemetry solution provided by |CL| is entirely optional and customizable. It is disabled by default. If you do choose to enable telemetry, the data helps the |CL| team proactively identify and resolve bugs. See the :ref:`telem-guide` guide for more information.


What is the default firewall?

|CL| packages :command:`iptables` as a bundle, however, there are no default firewall rules. All network traffic is allowed by default.


Where are the files that I usually see under /etc like fstab?

|CL| has a stateless design that maintains a separation between system files and user files. Default values are stored under :file:`/usr/share/defaults/`. Files under :file:`/etc/` are not created unless you create one.

A blog post explaining how this is accomplished with :file:`/etc/fstab/` specifically is available here: https://clearlinux.org/news-blogs/where-etcfstab-clear-linux


Software packages

How is software installed and updated?

|CL| provides software in the form of :ref:`bundles-guide` and updates software with :ref:`swupd <swupd-guide>`.

:ref:`Flatpak\* <flatpak-tutorial>` is an application virtualization solution that allows more software to be available to |CL| users by augmenting the software |CL| packages natively with software available through Flatpak.

Our goal is to have software packaged natively and made available through bundles whenever possible.


Does |CL| use RPMs like other distros?

|CL| provides software in the form of :ref:`bundles-guide`. The RPM format is used as an intermediary step for packaging and determining software dependencies at OS build time.

Individual RPMs can sometimes be manually installed on a |CL| system with the right tools, but that is not the intended use case.


Can I install a software package from another OS on |CL|?

Software that is packaged in other formats for other Linux distributions is not guaranteed to work on |CL| and may be impacted by |CL| updates.

If the software you're seeking is open source, please submit a request to add it to |CL|. Submit requests on GitHub* here: https://github.com/clearlinux/distribution/issues


Software availability

What software is available on |CL|?

Available software can be found in the Software Store, through the GNOME* Software application on the desktop, or by using :ref:`swupd search <swupd-quick-ref>`.


Is Google* Chrome* available?

The Google Chrome web browser is not distributed as a bundle in |CL| due to copyright and licensing complexities.

A discussion on manually installing and maintaining Google Chrome can be found on GitHub: https://github.com/clearlinux/distribution/issues/422


Is Microsoft* Visual Studio Code* available?

Yes. Find the CLI command for installing VS Code and other Flatpak apps in the software store. Installing Flatpak apps is also covered in our :ref:`tutorial <flatpak-tutorial>`.

The |CL| team is working on a natively packaged version of Visual Studio Code for future release.

Join a community forum discussion about manually installing and maintaining Visual Studio Code: https://community.clearlinux.org/t/need-native-support-for-vs-code-through-swupd/


Is FFmpeg available?

FFmpeg is a multimedia software suite, which is commonly used for various media encoding/decoding, streaming, and playback.

|CL| does not distribute FFmpeg due to well-known licensing and legal complexities (See https://www.ffmpeg.org/legal.html and http://blog.pkh.me/p/13-the-ffmpeg-libav-situation.html).

Read more in the |CL| repository, including discussion of an alternative hardware-based solution: https://github.com/clearlinux/distribution/issues/429.

While |CL| cannot distribute FFmpeg, a manual solution to build and install FFmpeg under :file:`/usr/local` has been shared on the community forums: https://community.clearlinux.org/t/how-to-h264-etc-support-for-firefox-including-ffmpeg-install.


Is ZFS* available?

ZFS is not available with |CL| because of copyright and licensing complexities. BTRFS is an alternative filesystem that is available in |CL| natively.

A user on GitHub notes that the ZFS kernel module can be compiled, built, and installed manually: https://github.com/clearlinux/distribution/issues/631


Can you add a driver that I need?

If a kernel module is available as part of the Linux kernel source tree but not enabled in the |CL| kernels, in many cases the |CL| team will enable it upon request. Submit requests on GitHub here: https://github.com/clearlinux/distribution/issues

The |CL| team does not typically add out-of-tree kernel modules as a matter of practice because of the maintenance overhead. If the driver was unable to be merged upstream, there is a good chance we may be unable to merge it for similar reasons.

Kernel modules can be individually built and installed on |CL|. See the :ref:`kernel modules <kernel-modules>` page for more information.


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