ClearOS 6.3 is Godawful, Keep Using 5.x

I'm sure anyone who works for ClearFoundation and sees this will think "well, you can't please everyone!" but this is a list of things they have managed to horribly screw up that every admin needs to know before plunging head first into ClearOS 6.3 or worse, an earlier 6.x:

  • You can no longer limit or reserve bandwidth for a whole IP or IP range. I know the documentation says you can. You can't. This was apparently done in 6.2 then carried into 6.3 to make bandwidth management play along with multiwan - something that seemed to be possible for years until now. From the app's review tab:

    by Asad Siddiqui - June 20, 2012

    Following modifications are required;The bandwidth limitations are on network card interface only, there is no option of limiting bandwith on the basis of single IP address or range of IP addresses. Although this was provided in Clark Connect.This option may kindly be added in this application

  • Speaking of apps: WTF, apps? 6.x is clearly the Foundation's idea of caching in on "cloud" and "app" clichés. Software is no longer packaged, it is apped and you don't get your apps from a repo you get them from the marketplace. It's like they've tried to make a routing distribution appeal to a twelve year old girl. Routers are not something that should be built by people who have no concept of routing and making it approachable to those who do not is aggravating to those who do. This is not a desktop distribution, why are they trying to broaden their target demographic?

    I see what you did there. I couldn't disapprove more.

  • There is no way (at least that I've found so far) to uninstall apps in the webconfig. You must feel around and guess the package name then yum erase it.
  • Every god-damned page in the webconfig now has a huge, unnecessary app column taking up valuable space in the hopes that they might up-sell you on the commercial apps you already passed up on install. Fsck off, I'm trying to configure my firewall - I don't give a crap how many stars it has.
  • Even more of the setup process is done in the web interface now and god help you if you happen to put in a wrong name server or you may find yourself wondering why it's taking forever to not time out when it looks for new packages.
  • Registering with ClearSDN is now mandatory; you're SOL if you think you can set up the router without an active connection and drop it in later. Wonderful. ET phone home!
  • Kernel-devel doesn't actually contain the kernel sources and kernel-sourcecode is missing. You have to do it the hard way:
    wget http://mirror2-houston.clearsdn.com/clearos/community/6.3.0/dev/SRPMS/kernel-2.6.32-279.2.1.v6.src.rpm
    rpm2cpio kernel-2.6.32-279.2.1.v6.src.rpm > kernel.cpio
    cpio -idmv < kernel.cpio
    cd rpmbuild/SOURCES/
    cp linux-2.6.32-279.2.1.el6.tar.bz2 /usr/src/
    cd /usr/src/
    tar xjf linux-2.6.32-279.2.1.el6.tar.bz2
  • "Development Tools" package group has been replaced with clearos-centric clearos-devel. This pulls in 170 packages meant to help you design apps and whatnot but mostly useless if all you need is a C build environment.
  • No more free IPsec! There is still a paid-for "Dynamic VPN" app which provides this functionality but the old IPsec module has been dropped for good.

Doubtless I will have plenty more nasty things to say about this new major version as time goes on and it reveals its sins to me. Do check in from time to time.

The only nice thing I have to say is way to go on the 64 bit version - now if only they would provide Xen images in addition to every other virtualization platform that should NOT be used to run a router...



• Chris

6.4 seems to be nice now. I may be swapping in my freshly built 6.4 box over the long weekend.


@Marco Artica
Tonnes. pfSense, mon0wall etc etc

• Marco Artica

Friend're absolutely right, I almost lost my job when installing clearos 6.3.
Well, the question is are there any other alternative to clearos?

• josh

6.3 made me rage. it's a load of horse shit


Thanks for the excellent, detailed defence. You know I'm only bitter because I love ClearOS :p

I wish I could have helped beta, I had been eyeing up 6.x and salivating for months and months but time has simply not permitted.

I'm very happy to find out it's as easy as removing one package to take out the marketplace hoo-ha without crushing webconfig.

Despite all my other criticisms it's the missing IP-based bandwidth control that really stomps on my balls. I lost a day doing an install through remote hands who were as busy as I was only to find out the one thing we needed a ClearOS box for was missing. It's like you cut off your nose to sell your face - I'm not sure how important the marketing guys think this feature is or how important it is to other users but I use it 9 out of 10 times I install ClearOS and to find it missing at the same time there's all this goofy new stuff was like a proper smack in the face.

• Peter Baldwin

Hi foxpa.ws.

I wish we had some of this feedback during the 8-month beta testing period. Hopefully, we'll be able to address some of your criticisms.

-- Bandwidth -- The advanced bandwidth feature is mostly done, but it keeps getting bumped and bumped and bumped by higher priorities (QoS being a big one). It's one of the 5.2 gaps that still needs to be completed.

-- Apps -- Yes, the marketing guys won this battle. I'm a bit old school, so I laugh/cry/sigh when folks think that the "cloud" is some shiny new thing. Having said that, "app" is certainly better than the old term that we used: "module". We used to hear "what's a module" all of the time. We don't have that problem now.

- Sidebar -- I'm going to slyly blame this on Microsoft. I personally tried to add a simple setting that would disable the sidebar. Result: div, CSS and browser compatibility hell (IE... so so bad). That's not my specialty and our in-house expert has other priorities. Though it would be nice to remove the entire sidebar, at least it should be possible to remove the "recommended apps". That feature request is now in the tracker.

-- Offline Install -- Doing most of the install on first boot is done for a couple reasons:

1) Consistent install experience. Whether you use the ISO installer, VM images, Amazon, or a pre-installed ClearBOX, that first boot installation wizard is the same. Consistency = good.

2) Reality check. As you know, there are many upstream updates every single week. It's 2012, so installing from a months old ISO and *then* doing a 100+ MB "yum upgrade" seems a bit ... stupid.

Despite these reasons, we do want to offer an easy way to install from local media (no network required). Though most ClearOS users have access to fast networks, there's a significant number of users who aren't so lucky. It's on the todo list.

-- Registering -- The ClearCenter and ClearOS bits were cleanly separated in version 6. Give this a try on a test VM for kicks:

yum remove app-clearcenter-core

Voila! No Marketplace, no sidebar with "recommended apps", and it's all 100% open source and free. At this point, you can "yum install" whatever app (sorry) that you want. It's the first step in getting an install option for the open source purists out there. This wasn't possible with 5.x, but there's now a clear path in 6.