Earlier this week, Amazon announced the launch of its third-generation Linux distribution, Amazon Linux 2023 (AL2023). Amazon said the release will bring high-security standards, a predictable lifecycle and deterministic updates.
Amazon Linux 2023 is optimized for Amazon EC2, deeply integrated with the latest AWS features, and leverages many AWS-specific tools to provide an integrated experience.
In terms of security, Amazon says Amazon Linux 2023 comes with pre-configured security policies that help users set up the system to meet a variety of common industry guidelines. Amazon Linux 2023 also comes with an enhanced Linux kernel by default for added security.
In terms of lifecycle support, Amazon will release a new major version of Amazon Linux every two years, including major changes to the kernel, toolchain, GLib C, OpenSSL and other system libraries and utilities. In addition to this, security updates will be available when ready, and there will be quarterly updates that include security updates, bug fixes, and new features and packages. These quarterly updates will update things like the language runtime and popular packages.
Each version of Amazon Linux will be supported for five years, but after the initial two years and subsequent releases, a version will go into maintenance and will only receive security bug fixes and patches. Ideal for users who don’t want to keep upgrading their operating system.
Amazon Linux lifecycle chart, Amazon Linux 2023 (AL2023) will be supported until March 15, 2028.
Explaining deterministic updates, Amazon said: “Amazon Linux provides you with deterministic updates through a versioned repository, a flexible and consistent update mechanism. Distribution is locked to version-specific Amazon Linux package repositories, giving you control over how and when you get updates. By default, the dnf update command does not update your installed packages compared to Amazon Linux 2 (dnf is the successor to yum). This helps ensure that the same package versions are used in your tasks.”
Amazon Linux 2023 is available for free. For running Amazon EC2 instances and other services, standard Amazon EC2 and AWS rates apply.