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 5 years with security and ongoing maintenance updates. Amazon Linux 2 is available for use on-premises which means developers can easily write 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 doesn’t support running directly on bare metal hardware (including PCs, laptops).

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 support, newer version of glibc, toolchain (gcc and binutils), and an additional set of core packages for performance and security improvements.
  2. Latest LTS kernel (4.9) tuned for enhanced 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?

There are four major differences Amazon Linux 2 has from its predecessors:

  1. Amazon Linux 2 will offer long-term support.
  2. It is available as a VM image for on-premises development and testing.
  3. It includes systemd service and systems manager as opposed to System V init system and also includes new version of compiler and build tools.
  4. It provides the ability to install additional software packages through Extras mechanism without impacting the underlying LTS stability of the operating system.  

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. This includes all latest versions of Amazon EC2 instance types. Older generation of 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 Amazon Linux 2 for 5 years.
  2. AWS will maintain user-space Application Binary Interface (ABI) and Application Programming Interface (API) compatibility for the full lifetime of 5 years.

Q. Is Amazon Linux 2 (2017.12) build an official LTS build?

No, Amazon Linux 2 (2017.12) is a first candidate LTS build of Amazon Linux 2. In the coming weeks, we will engage our customers and the broader community to get feedback before announcing an official LTS build which will be supported for 5 years. You can provide your feedback through your designated AWS representative or directly through Amazon Linux Discussion Forum.

Q. Is the LTS Candidate build supported by AWS?

Yes, the LTS Candidate build (2017.12) of Amazon Linux 2 is supported by AWS. However, there are three important points to note:

  1. Five years of long-term support will only be applicable 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 an official LTS build is announced.

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 3rd party kernel drivers may require additional changes.

On-premises Use

Q. Which on-premises virtualization solutions is Amazon Linux 2 compatible with?

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

Q. How can I get started with using Amazon Linux 2 VM 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 the newest versions of application software in a fully supported manner on a stable Amazon Linux 2 base. Extras help alleviate the compromise between stability of the OS and freshness of available software. For example, now you can install newer versions of Python being rest assured that the underlying operating system is stable. Examples of Extras include Python 3.6, 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 introduces 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 via the well-known yum installation process.

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

The Yellowdog Updater, Modified (YUM) is a utility for package-management of 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 those packages in a supported manner. Extras is essentially a simplified mechanism to point yum to AWS curated sets of packages for a selected topic.

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 additional point releases?

AWS provides security updates and bug fixes for Amazon Linux 2 on an ongoing basis.  These point releases follow the existing Amazon Linux naming convention of YYYY.MM where YYYY represents the year and MM represents the month of the release.

Q. Does AWS provide updates for all minor/point releases of Amazon Linux 2?

AWS provides security updates only for the latest point release of Amazon Linux 2. Similarly, any new features and enhancements are also only supported for the latest point release. Thus, if the latest point version of Amazon Linux 2 is 2018.03, then any new feature will be available only for 2018.03 and later releases.

Q. How do I get security updates if I have not yet upgraded to the latest point release of Amazon Linux 2?

The security updates released for the latest point release of Amazon Linux 2 are also made available through the regular security update channel for use on older point releases of Amazon Linux 2. If you are not on the latest point release, you will still be able to get the security updates; however, these updates may pull in additional dependencies not present in the older point releases and might be disruptive to your running applications. Therefore, AWS strongly recommends always running on the latest point release.

Q. Where can I get updates for Amazon Linux 2?

Updates for Amazon Linux 2 are provided via 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 and supported Extras) on Amazon EC2 and Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS ) is included through subscriptions to AWS Support. For more information on AWS Support please visit the AWS Support web page. However, AWS Support doesn’t 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 VMs 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. In addition, you can also use Amazon EC2 Discussion Forum and Amazon ECS Discussion forum for issues with Amazon EC2 infrastructure.

ISV Support

Q. Which 3rd party applications are supported to run on Amazon Linux 2?

Amazon Linux 2 has a rapidly growing community of APN Partners that include 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 coming weeks.


Support for Existing AMI (2017.09) for Amazon Linux

Q. With the availability of Amazon Linux 2, are there any changes to the existing version of AMI (2017.09) for Amazon Linux?

With the availability of Amazon Linux 2, we are announcing that 2017.09 AMI release for Amazon Linux and container image will be the last release for the current generation of Amazon Linux. Going forward, AWS will provide newer versions only for Amazon Linux 2.

Q. Will AWS support the current version of Amazon Linux going forward?

Yes – in order to avoid any disruption to your existing applications and to facilitate migration to Amazon Linux 2, AWS will provide regular security updates for Amazon Linux 2017.09 AMI and container image for 2 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 via rolling upgrade mechanism. 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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