Comparison of Linux Distributions on AWS EC2

Nick Galbreath

How do various Linux distributions implement a operating system for use in virtualized or cloud environments? One proxy for size and complexity is the number of packages installed. While not a perfect comparison, in general, less is more. In Amazon’s US-WEST-1 region, I fired up the a number of Linux distributions and counted the number of packages installed.

OS Distribution AMI Packages
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 `ami-b95b4ffc` 724
Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic `ami-b7515af2` 461
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Precise `ami-076e6542` 450
Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Trusty `ami-b7515af2` 396
Amazon Linux AMI 2014.09.1 `ami-4b6f650e` 361
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.0 `ami-33cdd876` 347
Debian 8.0 (experimental) `ami-17899452` 271
CentOS 7 `ami-33c1ca76` 246
Fedora-Cloud-Base-20141203-21 `ami-970310d2` 226
Debian 7.7 `ami-b12e39f4` 194

Notes:

Not-Linux and Not-Quite Linux

Obviously there is more to deciding what OS to use than how small the base install is, but it is a useful reflection of the goals and designs of the distribution.