What is Amazon Linux 2023?

We’ve got Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, all these other distros – what’s the deal with Amazon Linux 2023? (AL2023 as they’ve coded it)

Amazon has a custom version of Linux for use with their Virtual Machine (VM) service called EC2. For sometime the default image available is one they’ve rolled themselves. Most people are familiar with a recent version, Amazon Linux 2.

Many who’ve used the OG Amazon Linux 2 would note that it’s not quite compatible with Ubuntu or Fedora out-of-the-box, often requiring a little more manual labor like a Debian base install would.

This year they’ve changed the naming scheme (no Amazon Linux 3?) and instead have gone the samsung route of just using the current year with the release of Amazon Linux 2023. So what’s actually new?

Well, in short, here’s their list straight from the horses mouth:

… but the important ones are release cycles, optimizations, built on fedora.

Now, what does it mean to be “built on fedora?” Again, straight from the source:

Amazon Linux 2023 (AL2023) maintains its own release and support life cycles independent of Fedora. AL2023 provides updated versions of open-source software, a larger variety of packages, and frequent releases. This preserves the familiar RPM-based operating systems.

The Generally Available (GA) version of AL2023 isn’t directly comparable to any specific Fedora release. The AL2023 GA version 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 9 Streams or were developed independently. The Amazon Linux kernel is sourced from the long-term support options that are on kernel.org, chosen independently from Fedora.

AWS Documentation

So it in short, it looks like a win for those who prefer DNF – we’ll see if they contribute upstream!