Intel's Clear Linux Ups Their Desktop Offering, Rolling Out New Installer

Written by Michael Larabel in Clear Linux on 28 November 2018 at 05:45 PM EST. 6 Comments
For those that may have been wanting to try out Clear Linux of Intel's Open-Source Technology Center on desktops/workstation, it's now easier to do thanks to a new "desktop live" image accompanied by a new OS installer to make it more akin to conventional desktop Linux distributions.

Clear Linux has long worked as a desktop Linux distribution with its original Xfce desktop stack before transitioning to GNOME Shell and in recent months started rolling out KDE support. But in getting to that desktop experience, one has had to boot to their long-standing text-based installer that is very simple and requires a working Internet connection, hasn't offered many customization options around RAID or encryption, and is quite basic all-around. After booting to that fresh Clear Linux install, it's then possible to install the respective desktop bundle (package) before being off to the races with a high-performance Linux desktop.

With the latest builds over the past week for this rolling-release Linux distribution are now complementary "desktop-live" images available. The .img.xz download is just about 1.2GB, which once extracted inflates to about 8GB in size.

When booting the live desktop beta image, the user is presented with what looks like Clear's standard GNOME Shell desktop environment.

From this desktop their new installer is accessible. It's still terminal/text-based but is much more featureful than their current standard installer.

The new installer allows for more disk/partition configurations although the encryption and RAID support still appears to be in the works. This installer also allows adding additional bundles (packages) during the install process, toggling the automatic OS update behavior, tuning the default kernel command line parameters, and other features not provided by their long-standing installer.

For novice Linux users their new installer may still be a bit intimidating with it being text-based, but it is very easy to work and straight-forward, and a simpler install process than some of the other Linux TUI installers from over the years.

The addition of the desktop-live image itself is also certainly a welcome addition for those planning a desktop install rather than first having to install the basic Clear Linux without any desktop environment, especially if you first want to verify your system's hardware support/compatibility before proceeding with the installation. From their downloads area the new images are the "live-desktop-beta" images.
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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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