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Amazon Linux 2 is the next generation of Amazon Linux, a Linux server operating system from Amazon Web Services (AWS). It provides a secure, stable, and high performance execution environment to develop and run cloud and enterprise applications. Amazon Linux itself is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and uses RPM packages, a modified version of the Yellowdog Updater (YUM) and other familiar tools. The base image includes systemd, tool chain, build tools, a fine-tuned version of the latest LTS Linux kernel, plus a set of ‘core’ packages that aid performance and security.

Released on September 24th, 2019, CentOS 8 came with major changes from its predecessor. It is based on RHEL 8 and as many know, RHEL has a reputation of stability, efficiency, and reliability that is serving many enterprise systems around the globe.

This article goes into the details of what lies behind the skins of CentOS 8 and Amazon Linux 2. Take a relaxing sigh, stay tuned, and indulge in the article that checks the two out in the tabular representation below.

FeatureCentOS 8Amazon Linux 2
Release dateSeptember 24th, 2019December 2017
Based onBased on Fedora 28 (RedHat)RHEL
Backing CompanyRed HatAmazon
System processes
Management
SystemdSystemd
KernelUpstream kernel 4.18Linux Kernel 4.14
Software
Management
YUM package manager is now based
on the DNF technology and it provides
support for modular content. Uses YUM v4, distributed with RPM 4.14
Primary channel for delivering security
updates is Amazon Linux 2 yum repositories
Desktop
Environment
Default GNOME Display Manager is Wayland, GNOME Shell version 3.28The MATE desktop environment, a lightweight GUI based on GNOME 2,
is available as an extra for Amazon Linux 2
On-premises useCentOS 8 is available as a virtual machine image for on-premises useAmazon Linux 2 is available as a virtual machine image for on-premises use but optimized for AWS cloud usage.
FirewallUses nftables packet filtering frameworkUses iptables packet filtering framework
Support up toSupported for 10 years with security and maintenance updates, until 2029Supported for 5 years with security and maintenance updates, until June 30, 2023
Supported Architecturesx86_64 (64 bit Intel/AMD)
aarch64 (64-bit ARM)
ppc64le (IBM POWER, little endian)
x86_64 (AMD/Intel 64 bit)
32-bit libraries
AWS IntegrationFor AWS integration tools you’ll have to install them manuallyThe Amazon Linux 2 includes packages and configurations that help ease integration with other AWS Services.
Kernel Live PatchingOnly on RHEL for customers with active subscription for important and Critical CVEs.Amazon Linux 2 includes kernel live patching functionality.

Amazon Linux 2 as it can be guessed is now generally available in Amazon Web Services AMI for customers to enjoy without extra costs including support for the latest Amazon EC2 instance capabilities and is tuned for enhanced performance. It includes packages that help ease integration with other AWS Services.

On the other hand, Since March 2004, CentOS Linux has been a community-supported distribution derived from sources freely provided to the public by Red Hat. As such, CentOS Linux aims to be functionally compatible with RHEL.

To Close

Amazon Linux 2 and CentOS 8 share a common origin but were created with different visions in the mind of the developers. They are both amazing Operating Systems CentOS enjoying the attribute of time while Amazon enjoying the brand that sits behind it.

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All the way from security to how to manage software, you should anticipate finding major enhancements all in a bid to make Server management for both distributions as easier and as secure as possible as time and development perpetuate.

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