AWS commits to update its own Linux every two years • The Register


Amazon Web Services has announced that it will release an updated version of its own Linux every two years, starting with Amazon Linux 2022, which it is currently previewing.

The cloud colossus launched its first Linux distro in 2010, and seven… years… later… delivered a successor.

In the name of speeding things up a bit, Jeff Bezos’ computer rental department has promised a new version every two years, each of which will be supported for five years and will receive quarterly adjustments.

AL2022 uses the upstream Fedora project, but AWS can add or replace specific packages from other non-Fedora upstreams. The preview for AL2022 is based on Fedora34, while the full version will upgrade to Fedora 35 (which was released on November 2).

The SELinux security module is enabled and enforced by default in AL2022, but EC2 instances running the operating system will not automatically implement security patches or updates. Instead, users can choose to automate the installation of packages, fixes, or both.

For high-level packages, updates will be included in the quarterly installation, but will not be forced on users. “For example, the default version of Python in Amazon Linux 2022 might be 3.8, but we will add Python 3.9 (python39) as a separate package with namespace whenever it becomes available,” explains an FAQ on AL2022.

Default packages included in a given release “will continue to be supported for the life of AL2022”.

The GitHub repository for the operating system includes a roadmap detailing future additions.

Migration from previous versions of Amazon Linux will not be easy. AWS recommends to “replace your instances and migrate your application stack with the operating system configuration to a new AMI AL2022”. So this is your past afternoon.

Amazon’s rhetoric for the new release cycle is stability and predictability, which Microsoft, Red Hat, Canonical, and SUSE have been offering for years. The recently announced release cycle and AL2022 suggest that AWS has decided it needs to play the OS game with the same professionalism as its rivals.

But AWS also offers “no license cost, tight integration with AWS-specific tools and capabilities, immediate access to new AWS innovations, and a single-vendor support experience.” This combination is a clear argument for customers to use AL2022 if they want a top-down AWS experience.

Other clouds cannot – or do not – make this height. Microsoft doesn’t care what operating system you use in Azure, but recommends Windows Server-centric AzureStack for hybrid clouds. Google doesn’t have a server operating system, but claims that the fact that it invented Kubernetes makes its cloud a great place to implement it. IBM offers a POWER cloud and Oracle a SPARC cloud, but both are niche concerns, and each player is emphasizing their x86 and Ampere offerings as tools with which to run consumer workloads.

AWS is also conspicuously indifferent to what operating system you run in its cloud – you will pay for it regardless of your choice. But the fact that he has improved his game as an operating system vendor suggests that the murky concern has a stronger preference for his own operating system than previously voiced. ®

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