Alpine Linux is an independent, non-commercial, general purpose Linux distribution designed for power users who appreciate security, simplicity and resource efficiency. Alpine Linux is “Small, Simple and Secure“.
Open Source doesn’t meaning Free, if you are moving your business from traditional virtualization to Cloud Native, you need to have light, fast and secure operating system to make containers. Also you still needs to have Micro-VM.
Alpine Linux is Free and Small
Alpine Linux is open-source and free not only open-source. So you can download it for different use cases as small images:
- STANDARD: Alpine as it was intended. Just enough to get you started. Network connection is required.
- EXTENDED: Most common used packages included. Suitable for routers and servers. Runs from RAM. Includes AMD and Intel microcode updates.
- GENERIC ARM: Has default ARM kernel. Includes the uboot bootloader. Supports armv7 and aarch64.
- MINI ROOT FILESYSTEM: Minimal root filesystem. For use in containers and minimal chroots.
- VIRTUAL: Similar to standard. Slimmed down kernel. Optimized for virtual systems.
- XEN: Built-in support for Xen Hypervisor. Includes packages targetted at Xen usage. Use for Xen Dom0.
Alpine Linux is Secure
Alpine Linux was designed with security in mind. All userland binaries are compiled as Position Independent Executables (PIE) with stack smashing protection. These proactive security features prevent exploitation of entire classes of zero-day and other vulnerabilities.
Security is very important when you are using containers. I think, Alpine Linux has good security support and it has more than 1 year support for each version. There is no long term support like Ubuntu but it’s enough for many use cases.