Amazon says it has added AWS-optimised variants of new Linux Kernel releases to its extras catalogue in Amazon Linux 2 – a Linux server operating system (OS) – saying the boost results in higher bandwidth with lower latency on smaller instance types.
Amazon Linux is an OS distribution supported and updated by AWS and made available for use with Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances. Amazon Linux users will now be able to update the operating system to Linux Kernel 4.19, as released in October 2018.
“Extras in Amazon Linux 2 provide access to bleeding-edge software such new versions of language runtimes, toolchains, databases, and web stacks on a stable long-term supported OS to alleviate the compromise between OS stability and software freshness”, AWS said. “Going forward, AWS will make additional kernels available via Extras.”
It was not immediately clear if the optimisation came with updates regularly requested in AWS’s Linux forum, like newer package versions of Ruby (yum – warehouses of Linux software – repos are stuck on legacy versions of the programming language).
Linux developer Greg Kroah-Hartman wrote at the time of the new kernel release: “While not the largest kernel release every by number of commits, it was larger than the last 3 releases, which is a non-trivial thing to do. After the original -rc1 bumps, things settled down on the code side and it looks like stuff came nicely together to make a solid kernel for everyone to use for a while. And given that this is going to be one of the “Long Term” kernels I end up maintaining for a few years, that’s good news for everyone.”
Amazon Linux 2
Amazon Linux 2 can be deployed as a virtual machine image, images are template configurations as they have no specific settings or set accounts, this allows a user to run on-premises development tests within the local environment.
The operating system supports Amazon EC2 instances and due to its design it easily integrates into most AWS services. A key difference between Linux 2 and its predecessor is the ability to install additional software packages into Linux 2 via the AWS extras mechanism. The Extras Library is used to install application and software updates for instances, these updates are known as topics.
Amazon has detailed how topics can be listed via commands;
The Linux Kernel version 4.14 will remain the default download and pre-installed kernel for Amazon Linux 2, which the company states will receive long-term support.