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AWS delivers a – rather late – major release of its homebrew Linux distribution

2023 is only one more than 2022, right?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has delivered a major release of its home-spun Linux distribution – albeit rather later than it first promised.

Amazon Linux debuted in 2010 and was promoted as optimized for AWS’s infrastructure. Seven years later, the cloud colossus delivered Amazon Linux 2.

A successor dubbed AL 2022 was announced in November 2021, along with a promise of a major release every other year, plus quarterly tweaks.

Throughout 2022 Amazon published release notes for AL 2022 – but all concerned release candidates rather than a complete distribution. AL 2022 still wasn't ready for prime time in January 2023, when AWS announced release candidate 3.3

Last week Amazon released a major update to its Linux, now named Amazon Linux 2023.

AL 2022 never materialized, other than as release candidates.

Linux 6.3 coming along nicely
Linux boss Linus Torvalds on Sunday announced release candidate three for version 6.3 of the Linux kernel.

"So rc3 is fairly big, but that's not hugely usual (sic): it's when a lot of the fixes tick up as it takes a while before people find and start reporting issues," he wrote. While the release features "relatively big changes," Torvalds rated them "nothing scary" and added "nothing here looks particularly odd."

AWS's announcement of the distro repeats the promises it made in 2021: a major release every two years, quarterly updates, two years of full support and then three years of bug fixes and security patches.

Which will be fun – if AWS can hit its deadlines this time.

AWS promises the quarterly updates will offer "new features and packages."

"These releases might include the latest language runtimes such as Python or Java. They might also include other popular software packages such as Ansible and Docker," wrote principal developer advocate Sébastien Stormacq.

Biennial major releases will offer "new features and improvements in security and performance across the stack. The improvements might include major changes to the kernel, toolchain, GLib C, OpenSSL, and any other system libraries and utilities."

Amazon Linux 2023 "isn't directly comparable to any specific Fedora release," Stormacq wrote, adding that it "includes components from Fedora 34, 35, and 36."

"Some of the components are the same as the components in Fedora, and some are modified. Other components more closely resemble the components in CentOS Stream 9 or were developed independently," he added.

AWS also picks its own Linux Kernel, rather than use the one by provided by Fedora.

Stormacq asserts Amazon Linux 2023 improves on its predecessor by offering deterministic updates through versioned repositories – a change made possible by using Fedora's dnf instead of yum. He's also keen on the "preconfigured security policies that make it easy for you to implement common industry guidelines." ®

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