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ClearOS Core vs. ClearOS Enterprise ... what's the diff?

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If you are confused, it is my fault. I take the blame and I'm sorry. The recent releases of ClearOS Core is causing some confusion and I know why. If you have read every post on all the forums then it is easy to see what is going on but a cursory glance will lead to confusion so I will attempt to spell it out simply. ClearFoundation is releasing a completely different distro (ClearOS Core) and to make matters worse, we are calling nearly the same name as another existing product (ClearOS Enterprise). This was done for strategic, long term consistency between multiple product lines and makes way for yet another goal, ClearOS Home.

If you are used to using ClearOS Enterprise and you remember the days of Clarkconnect then by now you know that sometimes we mix things up and it can cause to some confusion. For example, ClearOS Enterprise used to be paid and now it is free like Clarkconnect Community Edition, which was free but now no longer exists, much like Clarkconnect SOHO or GS (which you probably never heard of). Back then the question was, "Wait, why are you getting rid of the Community Edition, man!" The answer was "Well Enterprise is now free!". To which the reply was, "But I like the Community Edition." ... good times.

For existing users familiar to the interface, ClearOS Enterprise is the only thing you need to concern yourself with. ClearOS Enterprise is a continuation of what most people consider 'ClearOS'. So if you are looking for a server, network and gateway platform that is managed through a web-based interface, ClearOS Enterprise is the tool for you. The alpha release of ClearOS Enterprise should be available as a VM shortly.

So what the heck is ClearOS Core? For a long time we have been anticipating the release of open source code from CentOS which would allow ClearOS Enterprise to move forward with a better kernel, improvements to the driver stack and other bits that make geeks chitter with glee, bob their heads in approval, and strum their fingers together signalling imminent world domination. Sadly, our primary source of this code has not been forthcoming in a manner that met our expectations. Our answer to this was to bypass them and go further upstream. We have retooled our development resources to handle this mammoth project and decided to give it away as well. The end result is a vanilla multi-purpose Linux distribution that is not easy to manage but is great for Linux hobbists and elite Linux admins. A CentOS replacement. With nothing better to do than to confuse our patient fans we decided to call it ... ClearOS Core! I realize now that this is akin to U2 calling the followup to their smash hit album, "The Joshua Tree Leaf". I'm sorry for confusing anyone.

Dave Loper has not set their biography yet

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  • Yup, the "product focus" topic comes up all the time. The old "do something, and do it really well" adage. I definitely hear you and agree.

    Just like CentOS, ClearOS Core aims to be as close to upstream as possible (that's not quite the case with Scientific Linux by the way). ClearOS Enterprise will stay very close to the upstream version, but there are always valid business cases for diverging a bit. For technical details, see

    Hopefully, one day, you'll be able to say that CentOS is just like ClearOS Enterprise, but without a user-friendly front-end and tight application integration. LOL.

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  • The concern over the future of Centos is fair, but why not use Scientific Linux if it is producing the core that ClearOS needs?
    The way I see it the value ClearOS delivers is not in the core, but the administration interface and web services. I can be talking to a another IT person and say "it's Centos with a user-friendly front-end" and they understand exactly what the value proposition is. My concern is that ClearOS Core ceases to be 100% RHEL compatible, and we are left with a distribution that cannot take advantage of new developments and existing repositories.

    I have put ClearOS into a number of businesses and I am not against development that delivers more value and/or encouragement to purchase a ClearOS subscription. My only concern is that this doesn't dilute or distract resources from the more important long-term issues that are centered around the administration and monitoring suite of tools ClearOS provides.

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  • @David Harrison. Peter is right. That being said, it does take resources to branch out. It would have been nice to stay with CentOS but again, Peter is right. For a greater part of January-March we were just fretting about wondering what to do and not moving forward.

    Since the Clarkconnect days we have gone to a greater community base with the advent of ClearFoundation. This has brought some great minds and people together which makes expediting the builds much easier. We still have a ways to go to streamline and automate this process but we move forward. I'm glad that we have been able to do ClearOS Core without derailing Peter's focus on ClearOS Enterprise. As we continue to streamline, we hope to be able to roll the code from ClearOS Core to ClearOS Enterprise even faster than before. This means more timely updates, faster resolution to errata and now an easier way for us to directly submit and validate bugs to the upstream vendor.

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  • I've been waiting for clear 6.0 for a while. I'm excited about the changes in API / extend-ability (even though I don't understand 'em yet... I just expect they'll be awesome). And I just like to see products I love make forward progress. I know clear has been waiting for centOS to get their act together, and I started watching their IRC channel to see if they ever would.

    I don't know what the problem is with centOS. A lot of folks rely on them, and one might think they'd run a tighter ship.

    I applaud clear's move here.

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  • I've been working on a home server product for awhile now and would like to discuss combining my work with the ClearOS Home....could you email me and we could discuss further.
    thanks, Robert

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  • Hi David H.

    I'm not as polite as others around here, so I'll get straight to the point. The CentOS team has dropped the ball on getting timely security/bug fix updates out. Did you know that it took nearly 3 months to get CentOS 5.6 out the door and during that time security/bug fixes came to a halt? Scientific Linux shipped a 6.0 beta in January and a the final release on March 3. It's now 7 *months* since RHEL 6 was released and over a year since RHEL 6 betas have been available, and CentOS 6.0 is still not out. And what about CentOS 6.1? Who knows when that is going to be released. Yikes!

    The CentOS community is a bit dysfunctional right now and IMHO the project is in crisis (though the leadership won't acknowledge or agree with that statement). We needed to get off of that ship and additional development resources came to the rescue. For the record, the primary team of ClearOS Enterprise developers is still just doing Enterprise development. I personally haven't really done much with ClearOS Core except clap from the sidelines.

    Fundamentally, CentOS and ClearOS Core is not really "changing cores", they are - for all intents and purposes - identical. The difference is that we will be able to provide those bug/security updates in a more timely and professional manner.

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  • I used ClarkConnect and I remember the announcements that took place when the "core" was moved to Centos so that the ClarkConnect developers could be freed to focus on the front-end configuration tools. With a release of a Centos 6 beta nearing I do not understand the logic behind a move back to a custom core. As ClearOS is targeted at a server environment I struggle to see the advantage of moving away from a core that has such a strong reputation and installed base. The best aspect of ClearOS is that it took Centos and made setting up a Samba/LDAP service a painless, the only disadvantage being that there was no 64bit ClearOS, which was no fault of Centos.

    Can you please explain how this move will maximize your capability and the potential of ClearOS, because from where I am sitting it appears only to be further diluting an already thin development resource?
    i.e. There are many functional holes in ClearOS that can be filled without changing cores.

    If the answer to this question is that you will be better able to create the ultimate Active Directory replacement with Samba4 and Bind that is great, but if it is just to have a couple of shiny new kernel modules that have no place on a server then there is a problem.

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  • Just an idea, if you want to position ClearOS Core as Desktop Linux, it's good to complete with supporting programs such as multimedia players, codecs, many drivers, especially the printer driver. Yup, some things are used for everyday activities by users.

    For servers, given that is based on RHEL, it would be a great server customization as it a CentOS replacement.

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  • Wow, I was kinda off on what I thought Core was... but I'm glad to see this post. ALL is good! And I'm excited to see what the new ClearOS has to offer...

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  • Thanks for the heads-up Dave!

    So a enterprise is on its way, three cheers to that!! :)

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