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Second-Generation Amazon Linux OS Sees Daylight

Amazon Web Services (AWS) on Wednesday took the wraps off the next version release of its Linux server operating system.

A preliminary version of Amazon Linux 2, dubbed build 2017.12, is now generally available out of all public AWS regions. AWS described this release as a "candidate" in its announcement, meaning the final build is still to come.

The Amazon Linux OS "provides a high performance, stable, and secure execution environment for cloud and enterprise applications," according to AWS. Unlike the first release, Amazon Linux 2 will include five years of support from AWS, spanning security patches and platform updates.

In another change from its predecessor, Amazon Linux 2 can also be deployed on-premises via a virtual machine image. This option supports Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware and Oracle VM VirtualBox systems. Amazon Linux 2 is also available as a Docker container image or as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI).

With the Amazon Linux 2 release, AWS is also introducing a new "Amazon Linux Extras" feature that will let users install new versions of common applications -- including Python, Ansible, PostgreSQL, MariaDB, Redis and others -- without risking conflict with the underlying OS. AS AWS explained in this lengthy FAQ:

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.

More information on Amazon Linux 2 is available here. Wednesday's release is still a preliminary build, so the final Amazon Linux 2 version may include some changes that haven't yet been announced.

As for its predecessor, AWS said the last update for the original Amazon Linux product was build 2017.09, released this past October. However, AWS will continue to issue security updates for build 2017.09 for another two years.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for RCPmag.com and senior editor of AWSInsider.net.

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