Amazon Linux is a RHEL-derived OS optimized for use with Amazon’s cloud services.
A long-term support offering, the distro is designed to offer a stable, secure, and high-performance environment for running apps and workloads in the cloud. It comes with a number of tools created to interact and connect to other AWS services.
For its 3rd-generation offering, Amazon Linux 2023 touts three core benefits: high-security; predictable lifecycle; and deterministic updates.
Security-wise, Amazon says this version of its OS includes ‘preconfigured security policies’ that meet industry standard practices. These can be coffered at launch or run time. The OS also ships with a hardened Linux kernel.
On lifecycle, Amazon Linux 2023 gets 5 years of long-term support. Updates (comprised of security patches, bug fixes, and package updates) get issued every 3 months. In addition to quarterly updates, Amazon provides security updates ‘as soon as they are available’.
Finally, deterministic updates – I’ll allow Amazon to explain:
“Amazon Linux provides you with deterministic updates through versioned repositories, a flexible and consistent update mechanism. The distribution locks to a specific version of the Amazon Linux package repository, giving you control over how and when you absorb updates. By default, and in contrast with Amazon Linux 2, a dnf update command will not update your installed packages (dnf is the successor to yum). This helps to ensure that you are using the same package versions across your fleet.”
If any of that sounds like something you’d be keen to take advantage of you you can learn more about Amazon Linux 2023 on the AWS website. If you’re keen to know what the pros/cons are versus Amazon Linux 2, this web page has a comparison.
Get Amazon Linux 2023
Amazon Linux 2023 is free to use, and it can be accessed via AWS relatively easy (this article is more of a news update than a how-to, so I’ll leave that to the excellent documentation Amazon provides on its website).
Want to use Amazon Linux elsewhere? You can – it’s free, open-source software after all! Just keep in mind that some Amazon Linux packages within the distro might not be compatible with other cloud providers or server setups.