back to article AWS unleashes a new homegrown Linux that's good enough to bottle

Amazon Web Services has created a second Linux distribution. AWS already offers Amazon Linux, a general-purpose distribution currently in its second edition which can be run in a Docker container or with the Linux KVM, Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware ESXi hypervisors. This distro is said to be optimized to run inside the AWS …

  1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    Missing tools?

    Ah. So this is a Linux, not a GNU Linux. I wonder how many applications will need significant work to allow them to fit in if the normal GNU toolset is missing?

    I know that I'm an old foagy, but a Linux system without the familiar admin tools just won't be like Linux to me.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Missing tools?

      The article states that it has everything it needs to run a container.

      That sounds like a pretty good idea to me, and demonstrates brilliantly just how adaptable Linux can be.

      You'd be hard pressed to get Borkzilla make a Windows 1 0 For Containers version that wasn't actually just Windows 1 0 renamed.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Missing tools?

        Reasonable points, I wonder if we will see MSDOS returning soon? The Windows 10 Bottlerocket - more secure, easier to install, and much smaller.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Missing tools?

          And memory expandable to 2MB with HIMEM.SYS

        2. Jonathon Desmond

          Re: Missing tools?

          "...I wonder if we will see MSDOS returning soon..."

          Marketed as the all new, optimised for character mode operations, Microsoft CLI Interface?

      2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Missing tools? @Pascal

        I know that "everything to run will be in the container", and have even been playing about a bit with things like Docker.

        I know that you are supposed to spin up the container running as few processes as possible (although thank heaven the original "one process per container" idea seems to have been dropped), but many existing applications are not written to work like this.

        The article says that it is a kernel (and presumably sufficient libraries), but also says that the tooset is written in Rust (to eliminate security holes and memory leaks, apparantly). Has the full GNU toolset been ported to Rust? I think not.

        When I think what is happening, I feel that what we have with containers is a shift up the virtualization stack. We had an OS which ran applications and processes. They then put in Hypervisors above the OS, to allow isolation between different OS images. We've now moved down a level, so the hosting OS becomes the Hypervisor, the container becomes the OS, and the applications are... still applications.

        I wonder how long it will be before someone suggests radically revisiting the process-to-process isolation, and deleting the containers as wasteful, so we then go back to properly isolated processes running on a secure OS. Round in a full circle.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Missing tools? @Pascal

          One of The big idea with containers is that you can save storage space by reusing common components of the host, and achieve isolation, you can run multiple instances of the same app all receiving traffic at different ip’s etc etc, it permits much greater flexibility especially when developing something as multiple versions can be running in different containers simultaneously enabling rapid assessment with minimal resource overhead.

          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: Missing tools? @ac

            If you eliminate the containers, you don't even have those duplicated files in the first place!

            I am aware of how the union filesystems work (and have been for many, many years), but on a single OS image, you do not need to even have this complexity.

            I was not really serious about eliminating containers, because they do provide some isolation from the underlying hosting OS, allowing applications from different OSs to sit on a single system, without the overhead of different full OS image under a hypervisor, but I was partly serious about moving everything back to a single OS, although some of the resource isolation features may need to remain to guarantee minimum resource allocation.

        2. JulieM Silver badge

          Re: Missing tools? @Pascal

          Whenever I hear of containers, I can never help thinking somebody has taken "Prevent rice from sticking by cooking each grain in a separate pot" and run with it.

        3. Crypto Monad

          Re: Missing tools? @Pascal

          The article says that it is a kernel (and presumably sufficient libraries), but also says that the tooset is written in Rust (to eliminate security holes and memory leaks, apparantly). Has the full GNU toolset been ported to Rust? I think not.

          The article says it *has* a kernel (Linux), not that it *is* a kernel.

          Think of it as a massively stripped down GNU/Linux, with just enough userland to be able to run containers, and nothing more. It's a toaster for containers.

          You're not supposed to *build* your container images on this. Do this on a dev system somewhere else (or do it inside a container).

          There's no package management, no "apt-get install". The whole thing is just an image that you run, and can replace as a whole. This makes administration more like flashing firmware onto a router. Time to upgrade? Just reflash and reboot.

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