Clear Linux Saw New Features, New Desktop Installer + Increased Adoption In 2019

Written by Michael Larabel in Clear Linux on 1 January 2020 at 02:00 PM EST. 11 Comments
In addition to Clear Linux seeing more performance optimizations in 2019 (more so than Fedora and Ubuntu during the year), it also benefited from a new desktop installer, new help forums, and more of Intel's partners talking about their current or planned usage of Clear Linux.

Below is a look back at the popular Clear Linux news on Phoronix during 2019. While a lot of it was about their performance optimizations with continuing to deliver the best Linux x86_64 performance we have seen out of any distribution, but they've also been expanding their features into areas like better usability, their various reference stacks, and more.

One feature that we had been looking forward to in 2019 that doesn't seem to have come to fruition yet are their plans around offering third-party/proprietary software bundle options such as for Google Chrome, Steam, and possibly other Intel closed-source software packages for easier deployment on Clear. I know many others have been looking forward to this third-party software option particularly for Chrome with video support, so hopefully it won't be much longer before officially rolling out. It would also be nice still to see Clear Linux rolled out on Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), which appears to be held up on clearance in getting it into the Microsoft Store.

How Intel's Clear Linux Team Cut The Kernel Boot Time From 3 Seconds To 300 ms
Intel engineer Feng Tang spoke at this week's Linux Plumbers Conference in Lisbon, Portugal on how the Clear Linux team managed to boot their kernel faster. They started out with around a three second kernel boot time but cut it down to just 300 ms.

100+ Benchmarks Between Clear Linux vs. Arch-Based Manjaro Linux - Summer 2019 Tests
For those wondering how Intel's performance-optimized Clear Linux is comparing to the Arch-based Manjaro Linux distribution, here are a number of benchmarks on the same Intel Core i7 8700K in seeing how these rolling-release distros are competing for summer 2019.

Benchmarking The Python Optimizations Of Clear Linux Against Ubuntu, Intel Python
Stemming from Clear Linux detailing how they optimize Python's performance using various techniques, there's been reader interest in seeing just how their Python build stacks up. Here's a look at the Clear Linux Python performance compared to a few other configurations as well as Ubuntu Linux.

Clear Linux Further Enhances Its Desktop Installer, Launches Help Forums
Not only does Intel's Clear Linux distribution offer stellar out of the box performance, but they seem to be making it increasingly user/desktop friendly at this stage. There's been new GUI installer work as well as the launching of their own support forums.

Clear Linux Has A Goal To Get 3x More Upstream Components In Their Distro
For those concerned that running Clear Linux means less available packages/bundles than the likes of Debian, Arch Linux, and Fedora with their immense collection of packaged software, Clear has a goal this year of increasing their upstream components available on the distribution by three times.

Clear Linux Gets Questions Over Steam Integration, Other Plans For This High-Perf Distro
Auke Kok of Intel / Clear Linux carried out the distribution's first ask-me-anything session today where he fielded questions ranging from Steam to under-served software projects.

Clear Linux Is Beginning To Make Strides In The Industry From Alibaba To MontaVista
Of Intel's many open-source projects, taking a central role at this year's Intel Open-Source Technology Summit was Clear Linux. Most Intel open-source efforts mentioned during the event point back to Clear Linux in some capacity and at OSTS2019 we finally heard some of the companies that are beginning to make use of Clear Linux.

How Clear Linux Optimizes Python For Greater Performance
Clear Linux's leading performance isn't limited to just C/C++ applications but also scripting languages like PHP, R, and Python have seen great speed-ups too. In a new blog post, one of Intel's developers outlines some of their performance tweaks to Python for delivering greater performance.

Clear Linux Exploring "libSuperX11" As Newest Optimization Effort
As another optimization for Intel's Clear Linux distribution, a "libSuperX11" library is being considered that fundamentally changes how the X.Org libraries are handled.

Maximizing HEVC/VP9/AV1 Video Encoding On Intel Xeon Cascade Lake With SVT + Clear Linux
Continuing on from yesterday's Linux OS comparison/benchmarks on Intel 2nd Gen Xeon Scalable Cascade Lake CPUs, here are some follow-up tests focusing on the video encode performance for this dual Xeon Platinum 8280 server when focusing on Intel's high-performance "Streaming Video Technology" (SVT) encoders for VP9, AV1, and H.265/HEVC.

Some Quick Graphics/Game Tests With GNOME 3.32 On Clear Linux
For about one week already Intel's rolling-release Clear Linux distribution has been shipping with GNOME 3.32. Here are some quick graphics and gaming benchmarks comparing GNOME 3.30.2 to 3.32.0.

Clear Linux Outlines How You Can Build Your Own Linux Distro In 10 Minutes
While Intel's Clear Linux is known to the most of you for its speed, it's also a distribution that is very easy to build off of for specific use-cases should you want your own pre-configured Linux OS.

Clear Linux's make-fmv-patch Eases The Creation Of GCC FMV-Enabled Code Paths
One of the GCC compiler features unfortunately not taken advantage of by most Linux distributions is FMV - Function Multi-Versioning. FMV is what allows for the compilation of different tuned code paths depending upon the processor and for the particular code-path to be chosen at run-time, i.e. optimizing to your heart's content with AVX, SSE4, and other instruction set extensions and compiling all of that into a single binary and for the preferred code path to be taken depending upon the CPU running the binary so it will still run on older CPUs as well as today's most powerful processors.

Linux Steam Integration 0.7.3 Released With Annoyance Fixes
Solus founder Ikey Doherty who is back working for Intel on the Clear Linux team and brought the Linux Steam Integration (LSI) into that fold has issued a new release of this software for improving the Steam integration on Linux.

Clear Linux Achieved Even More Performance Improvements During April
While Clear Linux has been outperforming other Linux distributions the past several years, it's a never ending job for them of continuing to lead the way in squeezing more performance out of x86_64 hardware on Linux. During the month of April, some more performance improvements were achieved though also a few regressions appeared to have slipped into their builds.

Visual Studio Code Has Surprisingly Huge Linux Use & Other Developer Metrics
You may recall that back in July Intel's Clear Linux team was looking for feedback on Linux developer workflows and other developer preferences. This survey wasn't limited to Clear Linux users and the results are now published which provide for some interesting data points.

Clear Linux Moving Ahead With Blocking dmesg Access For Non-Root Users
Most Linux distributions allow unfettered access to dmesg for seeing the kernel log outputs, but seeing as kernel addresses can be dumped to this output and could be exploited by bad actors, Clear Linux is joining the select few Linux distributions so far blocking non-root users from seeing this output mostly used for debugging purposes.

Clear Linux Discovers Another AVX2/AVX512 Fix/Optimization To Yield Better Performance
For those running a system with AVX-512 support, Clear Linux builds as of this week should be yielding even better performance on top of their existing AVX2 and AVX-512 optimizations.

Intel's Clear Linux Already Forging Plans To Land GCC 9 & LLVM 8
While we have looked extensively at the performance of generated binaries of user-space applications built under GCC 9, soon we'll be able to benchmark a complete system image built under this annual compiler update to the GNU compiler as Clear Linux is planning a quick roll-out of the soon-to-be-released compiler.

Intel Kicks Off OSTS2019 With New Firmware Initiative, New Cloud Hypervisor, Clear Linux
Intel is running their once internal-only Open-Source Technology Summit (OSTS) in Washington this week but for a first time they have begun inviting customers and industry stakeholders and others to this annual open-source shindig. We're out here for the very interesting event with Imad Sousou and Raja Koduri talking today and some highly interesting technical talks ahead tomorrow. Here is the initial slew of announcements.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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