Amazon Linux 2023 virtual machine images still MIA

Enterprise Linux users question web giant's commitment to hybrid cloud

When Amazon Linux 2023 was released on March 15, it was supposed to be offered as a virtual machine image that organizations could run on their own servers.

"When Amazon Linux 2023 becomes generally available, it will be provided as a virtual machine image for on-premises use, enabling you to easily develop, test, and certify applications from a local development environment," the web titan's FAQs stated at the time. "This option is not available during the preview."

But that commitment has since vanished from the FAQ: it's not there right now nor in this capture of the page on June 2. And it's not clear whether Amazon intends to enable on-premises usage of its Linux distribution.

Those who use Linux in their businesses have been asking Amazon to clarify the situation for eighteen months, starting with a GitHub Issues feature request opened on March 15, 2022, and a similar inquiry posted a year later.

In late June, Rotan Hanrahan, a technology consultant based in Dublin, Ireland, chided Amazon for failing to explain what's going on.

"I see no evidence of any outreach to the community to explain this, nor any requests for technical assistance (assuming the issue is technical)," he wrote. "If the issue is bureaucratic in nature, we might never see the promised VM image. Some clarification from Amazon is overdue."

Last month, Stewart Smith, principal software engineer at Amazon, flagged the feature request and added it to the Amazon Linux 2023 Feature Backlog list. That suggests the ability to run on-premises VMs could still happen. And while Smith acknowledged his own frustration with the issue, he offered no specific commitment or time-table.

Earlier this week, Chris Swan, an engineer at privacy platform biz Atsign and a technology writer, joined the discussion to prod Amazon for failing to follow through.

"Given the chaos in the Enterprise Linux (EL) space since Red Hat announced changes to RHEL source availability there was a real opportunity for Amazon Linux to become the preferred distro for those wanting big company backing without subscribing to RHEL (or dealing with Oracle)," he wrote. "But that opportunity is being squandered, on this very issue. If people can't run AL23 everywhere that they want EL, then they'll probably choose something else as their baseline.

"Furthermore, promising images and then failing to deliver makes it look like the project isn't properly resourced, which is another ding on trust."

Corey Quinn, chief cloud economist at The Duckbill Group consultancy, told The Register AWS doesn't appear to be steering its Linux distribution to address the concerns of those using its software.

"I think that they've made other decisions that'll lead to a lack of adoption," he said. "The fact that it doesn't (for instance) work with upstream RHEL/CentOS repositories like EPEL is really what dooms it, because who the hell wants to sit around building RPMs in the year of our lord 2023?"

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment. ®

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