General Questions

Q. What is Amazon Linux 2?

Amazon Linux 2 is the next-generation Amazon Linux operating system that provides modern application environment with the latest enhancements from the Linux community and offers long-term support. In addition to Amazon Machine Images (AMI) and container image formats, Amazon Linux 2 is available as a virtual machine image for on-premises development and testing, enabling you to easily develop, test, and certify your applications right from your local development environment.

Q. What are the benefits of using Amazon Linux 2?

Similar to Amazon Linux AMI, Amazon Linux 2 supports the latest Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance features and includes packages that enable easy integration with AWS. It is optimized for use in Amazon EC2 with a latest and tuned Linux kernel version. As a result, many customer workloads perform better on Amazon Linux 2. Amazon Linux 2 offers will be supported until June 30, 2023 with security and maintenance updates. Amazon Linux 2 is available as on-prem virtual machine images allowing local development and test.

Q. Which workloads or use cases are supported with Amazon Linux 2?

Amazon Linux 2 is suited for a wide variety of virtualized and containerized workloads such as databases, data analytics, line-of-business applications, web and desktop applications, and more in production contexts. It is also available for use on EC2 Bare Metal Instances as both a bare metal OS and a virtualization host.

Q. What are the core components of Amazon Linux 2?

The core components of Amazon Linux 2 are:

  1. A Linux kernel tuned for performance on Amazon EC2.
  2. A set of core packages including systemd, GCC 7.3, Glibc 2.26, Binutils 2.29.1 that receive Long Term Support (LTS) from AWS.
  3. An extras channel for rapidly evolving technologies that are likely to be updated frequently and outside the Long Term Support (LTS) model.

Q. How is Amazon Linux 2 different from Amazon Linux AMI?
The primary differences between Amazon Linux 2 and Amazon Linux AMI are:

  1. Amazon Linux 2 offers long-term support until June 30, 2023.
  2. Amazon Linux 2 is available as virtual machine images for on-premises development and testing.
  3. Amazon Linux 2 provides the systemd service and systems manager as opposed to System V init system in Amazon Linux AMI.
  4. Amazon Linux 2 comes with an updated Linux kernel, C library, compiler, and tools.
  5. Amazon Linux 2 provides the ability to install additional software packages through the extras mechanism.

Q. How can I get started with using Amazon Linux 2 on AWS?

AWS provides an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) for Amazon Linux 2 that you can use to launch an instance from the Amazon EC2 console, AWS SDK, and CLI. Refer to Amazon Linux documentation for more details.

Q. Are there any costs associated with running Amazon Linux 2 in Amazon EC2?

No, there is no additional charge for running Amazon Linux 2. Standard Amazon EC2 and AWS charges apply for running Amazon EC2 instances and other services.

Q. Which Amazon EC2 instance types does Amazon Linux 2 support?

Amazon Linux 2 supports all Amazon EC2 instance types that support HVM AMIs. Amazon Linux 2 does not support older instances that require paravirtualization (PV) functionality.

Q. Does Amazon Linux 2 support 32-bit applications and libraries?

No, Amazon Linux 2 does not currently support 32-bit applications and libraries. This support will be added incrementally into the “core” set of packages over time.

Q. Does Amazon Linux 2 come with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) desktop?
Yes, the MATE desktop environment is provided as an extra in Amazon Linux 2. Amazon Workspaces provides cloud Amazon Linux 2 based cloud desktops with a GUI. You can learn more here .

Q: Can I view the source code for Amazon Linux 2 components?

Yes. The yumdownloader --source tool in Amazon Linux 2 provides source code access for many components.

Long Term Support

Q. What is included in the Long Term Support for Amazon Linux 2?

Long-term support for Amazon Linux 2 only applies to core packages and includes:
1) AWS will provide security updates and bug fixes for all packages in core until June 30, 2023.
2) AWS will maintain user-space Application Binary Interface (ABI) compatibility for the following packages in core:

elfutils-libelf, glibc, glibc-utils, hesiod, krb5-libs, libgcc, libgomp, libstdc++, libtbb.so, libtbbmalloc.so, libtbbmalloc_proxy.so, libusb, libxml2, libxslt, pam, audit-libs, audit-libs-python, bzip2-libs, c-ares, clutter, cups-libs, cyrus-sasl-gssapi, cyrus-sasl-lib, cyrus-sasl-md5, dbus-glib, dbus-libs, elfutils-libs, expat, fuse-libs, glib2, gmp, gnutls, httpd, libICE, libSM, libX11, libXau, libXaw, libXext, libXft, libXi, libXinerama, libXpm, libXrandr, libXrender, libXt, libXtst, libacl, libaio, libatomic, libattr, libblkid, libcap-ng, libdb, libdb-cxx, libgudev1, libhugetlbfs, libnotify, libpfm, libsmbclient, libtalloc, libtdb, libtevent, libusb, libuuid, ncurses-libs, nss, nss-sysinit, numactl, openssl, p11-kit, papi, pcre, perl, perl-Digest-SHA, perl-Time-Piece, perl-libs, popt, python, python-libs, readline, realmd, ruby, scl-utils, sqlite, systemd-libs, systemtap, tcl, tcp_wrappers-libs, xz-libs, and zlib


3) AWS will provide Application Binary Interface (ABI) compatibility for all other packages in core unless providing such compatibility is not possible for reasons beyond AWS’s control.

Q. Does Amazon Linux 2 maintain kernel-space ABI compatibility?
No, Amazon Linux 2 does not maintain kernel-space ABI compatibility. If there is a change in the upstream Linux kernel that breaks ABI stability, then your applications that rely on third-party kernel drivers may require additional modifications.

Q. Does AWS backport security fixes for Amazon Linux 2?
Yes. Amazon routinely takes fixes out of the most recent version of upstream software packages and applies it to the version of the package in Amazon Linux 2. During this process, Amazon isolates the fix from any other changes, ensures that the fixes do not introduce unwanted side effects, and then applies the fixes.

Q. Do the long-term support policies apply to extras topics?
The contents of extras topics are exempt from the Amazon Linux policy on long-term support and binary compatibility. Extras topics provide access to a curated list of rapidly evolving technologies and are likely to be updated frequently. When new versions of packages in extras topics are released, support will be provided only for the most current packages. Over time, these technologies will continue to mature and stabilize and may eventually be added to the Amazon Linux 2 "core" repositories to which the Amazon Linux 2 Long Term Support policies apply.

Q. Will additional Amazon Linux 2 builds be provided after the LTS builds are released?
Yes. New builds will point to the same repositories and include the cumulative set of security and feature updates to prevent the need to apply outstanding updates.

Q. Where can I get updates for Amazon Linux 2?
Updates for Amazon Linux 2 are provided with a pre-configured repository hosted in each AWS region. Security updates (important and critical) are automatically applied on the initial boot. You can also enable or disable automatic installation of critical and important security patches at the time of instance launch.

Q. How can I automate security patching on Amazon Linux 2 at scale?

AWS Systems Manager Patch Manager works with Amazon Linux 2 to automate the process of patching Amazon Linux 2 instances at scale. Patch Manager can scan for missing patches, or scan and install missing patches to large groups of instances. Systems Manager Patch Manager can also be used to install patches for non-security updates.

Q. What premium support options are available for Amazon Linux 2?
Support for Amazon Linux 2 use on Amazon Web Services (AWS) is included through subscriptions to AWS Support.

AWS Support does not currently cover the on-premises use of Amazon Linux 2. The Amazon Linux 2 forum and Amazon Linux 2 documentation are the primary sources of support for the on-premises use of Amazon Linux 2. You can post questions, report bugs, and feature requests on the Amazon Linux 2 forums.

Support for Amazon Linux 2 LTS Candidates and Amazon Linux AMI

Q. Can I perform a rolling upgrade from Amazon Linux 2 LTS Candidate 2 to the LTS version of Amazon Linux 2?
Yes, a rolling upgrade from Amazon Linux 2 LTS Candidate 2 to Amazon Linux 2 is possible. However, changes in the final LTS build that may cause breakage of your application. We recommend that you test your application on a fresh installation of Amazon Linux 2 first before migrating.

Q. Will AWS support Amazon Linux AMI going forward?

Yes. To facilitate migration to Amazon Linux 2, AWS will provide security updates for the last version of Amazon Linux and container image until June 30, 2020. You can also use all your existing support channels such as AWS Premium Support and Amazon Linux Discussion Forum to continue to submit support requests.

Q. Is Amazon Linux 2 backward compatible with the existing version of Amazon Linux AMI?
Due to the inclusion of components such as systemd in Amazon Linux 2, your applications running on the current version of Amazon Linux may require additional changes to run on Amazon Linux 2.

Q. Can I perform an in-place upgrade from an existing version of Amazon Linux AMI to Amazon Linux 2?
No, an in-place upgrade from the existing Amazon Linux image to Amazon Linux 2 is not supported. We recommend that you test your application on a fresh installation of Amazon Linux 2 first before migrating.

Q. Can I perform a rolling upgrade on instances running Amazon Linux AMI to Amazon Linux 2?
No, your instances running Amazon Linux will not be upgraded to Amazon Linux 2 with rolling upgrade mechanisms. Therefore, there is no disruption to your existing applications. Refer to Amazon Linux documentation and migration tooling for more details.

On-premises Use

Q. Which on-premises virtualization platforms does Amazon Linux 2 run on?
Amazon Linux 2 virtual machine images are currently available for KVM, Microsoft Hyper-V, Oracle VM VirtualBox, and VMware ESXi virtualization platforms for development and testing use. We are pursuing certification for these virtualization platforms.

Q. How can I get started with using Amazon Linux 2 virtual machine image in my local dev environment?
A virtual machine image for each supported hypervisor is available for download. After downloading the image, follow the Amazon Linux documentation to get started.

Q. Are there any costs associated with running Amazon Linux 2 on-premises?
No, there is no additional charge for running Amazon Linux 2 on-premises.

Q. Is an AWS account required for running Amazon Linux 2 on-premises?
No, there is no need for an AWS account to run Amazon Linux 2 on-premises.

Q. What are the minimum systems requirement for running Amazon Linux 2?
At a minimum, Amazon Linux 2 needs a 64-bit virtual machine with 512 MB of memory, 1 virtual CPU, and an emulated BIOS.

Q. Will on-prem VM images of Amazon Linux 2 get security updates from AWS?
Yes, AWS will provide security updates and bug fixes for all packages in core until June 30, 2023. Additionally, AWS will maintain user-space Application Binary Interface (ABI) compatibility for the following packages in core .

Q. Can I get paid support for on-premises VM images of Amazon Linux 2 from AWS Support?
No, at this time AWS Support does not offer paid support for Amazon Linux 2 VMs running on-premises. Community support through the Amazon Linux 2 forums is the primary source of support for answering questions and resolving issues originating from on-premises use. Amazon Linux 2 documentation provides guidance to get your Amazon Linux 2 virtual machines and containers operational, configuring the OS, and installing applications.

Amazon Linux Extras

Q. What is Amazon Linux extras?

Extras is a mechanism in Amazon Linux 2 to enable the consumption of new versions of application software on a stable operating system that is supported until June 30, 2023. Extras help alleviate the compromise between the stability of the OS and freshness of available software. For example, now you can install newer versions of MariaDB on a stable operating system supported for five years. Examples of extras include Ansible 2.4.2, memcached 1.5, nginx 1.12, Postgresql 9.6, MariaDB 10.2, Go 1.9, Redis 4.0, R 3.4, Rust 1.22.1.

Q. How does Amazon Linux extras work?
Extras provide topics to select software bundles. Each topic contains all the dependencies required for the software to install and function on Amazon Linux 2. For example, Rust is an extras topic in the curated list provided by Amazon. It provides the toolchain and runtimes for Rust, the systems programming language. This topic includes the cmake build system for Rust, cargo - the rust package manager, and the LLVM based compiler toolchain for Rust. The packages associated with each topic are consumed with the well-known yum installation process.

Q. How do I install a software package from Amazon Linux extras repository?
Available packages can be listed with the amazon-linux-extras command in the Amazon Linux 2 shell. Packages from extras can be installed with the “sudo amazon-linux-extras install ” command.

Example: $ sudo amazon-linux-extras install rust1

See Amazon Linux documentation for more details on getting started with Amazon Linux Extras.

Q. Will packages in extras be moved to “core” with Long Term Support?
Over time, rapidly evolving technologies in extras will continue to mature and stabilize and may be added to the Amazon Linux 2 "core" to which the Long Term Support policies apply.

ISV Support

Q. Which third-party applications are supported to run on Amazon Linux 2?

Amazon Linux 2 has a rapidly growing community of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) including Chef, Puppet, Vertica, Trend Micro, Hashicorp, Datadog, Weaveworks, Aqua Security, Tigera, SignalFX, and more.

A complete list of supported ISV applications is available on the Amazon Linux 2 page

To get your application certified with Amazon Linux 2, contact us..

Learn more about Amazon Linux 2

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