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.

Note: Amazon Linux 2 is currently available as an LTS release candidate. Long-term support will only be applicable to the final LTS build, to be announced at a later time. See Long-Term Support section for more details.

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

Similar to its predecessor, 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 long-term support for a duration of five years with security and ongoing maintenance updates. Amazon Linux 2 is available for use on-premises. This allows developers to build and test applications from their local development environments.

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

Amazon Linux 2 is suited for a wide variety of virtualized and container-based workloads such as web and desktop applications, open source and proprietary databases, data analytics, line-of-business applications, and more. However, Amazon Linux 2 does not support running directly on bare metal hardware.

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

An Amazon Linux 2 image consists of the following:

  1. A base image that includes systemd, newer versions of glibc, gcc, binutils, and a set of core packages.
  2. Updated kernel tuned for performance on Amazon EC2.
  3. Amazon Linux Extras repository for additional software packages such as Python, Nginx and more.  

Q. How is Amazon Linux 2 different from its predecessors?

The significant differences between Amazon Linux 2 and its predecessors are:

  1. Amazon Linux 2 will offer long-term support.
  2. It is available as a virtual machine image for on-premises development and testing.
  3. It includes systemd service and systems manager as opposed to System V init system.
  4. It includes new versions of the kernel, C library, compiler, and tools.
  5. It 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. Older instances that require PV AMIs are not supported with Amazon Linux 2.

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

Amazon Linux 2 can only run 64-bit applications. 32-bit binaries will not run on Amazon Linux 2.

Long-Term Support

Q. What's included in the long-term support for Amazon Linux 2?

Long-term support for Amazon Linux 2 LTS build will include two main components:

  1. AWS will provide security updates and bug fixes for the packages in core for five years.
  2. AWS will maintain user-space Application Binary Interface (ABI) and Application Programming Interface (API) compatibility for five years.

Q. Is Amazon Linux 2 LTS Candidate 2 the final LTS build?

No, Amazon Linux 2 LTS Candidate 2 is a second candidate LTS build of Amazon Linux 2 after the 2017.12 build. We will engage with our customers and the broader community to get feedback before announcing the final LTS build that will be supported for five years. You can provide your feedback directly through Amazon Linux Discussion Forum or through your designated AWS representative.

Q. Is the LTS Candidate build supported by AWS?

Yes, the LTS Candidate of Amazon Linux 2 is supported by AWS. It is important to note the following:

  1. Five years of long-term support will only apply to the final LTS build (to be announced at a later time).
  2. AWS may introduce breaking changes based on customer feedback between now and when the final LTS build is announced.
  3. LTS Candidate builds will not be supported by AWS after the final LTS build is announced.

Q. Can I perform a rolling upgrade from Amazon Linux 2 LTS Candidate to the final Amazon Linux 2 LTS build?

Yes. You can perform a rolling upgrade to the LTS version when it announced. However, depending on customer feedback for LTS Candidates, AWS may introduce changes in final LTS build that may cause breakage of your application.

Q. Can I perform a rolling upgrade from the first Amazon Linux 2 LTS Candidate (2017.12) to Amazon Linux 2 LTS Candidate 2?

No, you cannot perform a rolling upgrade across LTS Candidates. You will need to start afresh with Amazon Linux 2 LTS Candidate 2.

Q. Does Amazon Linux 2 also 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.

On-premises Use

Q. Which on-premises virtualization solutions does Amazon Linux 2 run on?

Amazon Linux 2 virtual machine images are currently available for VMWare, Microsoft Hyper-V, KVM, and Oracle VM VirtualBox virtualization solutions for development and testing. We intend to pursue certification for each of these virtualization solutions for the LTS build.

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. What are the minimum systems requirement for running Amazon Linux 2?

Amazon Linux 2 is a 64-bit guest only operating system, and the minimum system requirement for running Amazon Linux 2 in a virtual machine instance is 512 MB of memory.

Amazon Linux Extras Repository

Q. What is Amazon Linux Extras?

Extras is a new mechanism introduced in Amazon Linux 2 to enable the consumption of new versions of application software on a stable operating system that is supported for five years. 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 an 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 introduce the notion of 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 provide 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. Will packages in Extras receive five years of LTS support?

No. Packages in Extras will not receive five years of LTS support.

Q. How are Amazon Linux Extras topics different from the packages available in yum repositories?

yum is a utility to manage RPM packages. The base image of Amazon Linux 2 includes access to repositories that already contain stable versions of popular packages that can be installed with yum. These packages are part of the long-term support for Amazon Linux 2. However, if you need a new software package or a newer version of an existing software package that is not included in the base Amazon Linux 2 image, Extras provide a way to install them.

Q. How do I install a software package from Amazon Linux Extras repository?

Available packages can be listed with the amazon-linux-extras command. Packages can be installed with the “sudo amazon-linux-extras install <package>” command.

Example: $ sudo amazon-linux-extras install rust1


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

Release, Servicing, and Support

Q. Does Amazon Linux 2 provide builds after the LTS builds are released?

Yes. These will 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 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. What support options are available for Amazon Linux 2?

Support for installation and use of Amazon Linux 2 base image on Amazon EC2 and Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) is included through subscriptions to AWS Support. For more information on AWS Support, please visit the AWS Support web page. However, AWS Support does not cover the on-premises use of Amazon Linux 2. 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. Using the Amazon Linux 2 forums and technical documentation, you can get help for getting your Amazon Linux 2 virtual machines and containers operational (launched and connected to the network), configuring the OS, and installing applications. You can also post questions about Amazon Linux 2 images and features, report bugs, and submit enhancement requests on Amazon Linux 2 forums. You can also use Amazon EC2 Discussion Forum and Amazon ECS Discussion forum for issues with Amazon EC2 infrastructure.

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). Many partners are currently testing their application to run on Amazon Linux 2. A complete list of supported ISV applications will be available in the coming weeks.

Support for Amazon Linux AMI

Q. Will AWS support Amazon Linux 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 for two years after the final LTS build is announced. 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?

Due to the inclusion of new components in Amazon Linux 2 such as systemd, 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 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. Will you perform rolling upgrade on my current Amazon Linux instances to upgrade 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.

Learn more about Amazon Linux 2

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