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InfoQ Homepage News BellSoft Introduces Alpaquita Linux for Containerized Java Applications

BellSoft Introduces Alpaquita Linux for Containerized Java Applications


BellSoft has released Alpaquita Linux, an operating system based upon Alpine Linux, optimized for containerized Java applications. A plain Docker image is available, as well as Docker images with Liberica JDK or JRE or a Native Image Kit based upon GraalVM.

Alternatively, Alpaquita Linux can be installed via Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), Linux repositories or an ISO file.

Alpaquita Linux offers some additional benefits such as LTS releases, support for the musl and glibc C standard libraries and modern security features with fast security patches for both the operating system and the Java runtime. Security options include the kernel lockdown feature which makes it impossible to directly or indirectly access a running kernel image. The kernel module signing is another option and works with SHA-512 to disallow loading modules with invalid keys and unsigned modules. The small number of operating system components reduces the attack surface. Hardening is supported with userspace compilation options such as the -Wformat-security argument which issues a warning for format functions which may cause security issues.

The operating system supports kernel module compression, and contains the malloc implementations mimalloc, jemalloc and rpmalloc.

This is the only Linux operating system optimized for Java applications with a TCK-verified runtime and optimized memory consumption.

BellSoft provides four years support for Long Term Support (LTS) releases, two years more than Alpine Linux. The current LTS is released this year and the next one will be released in 2024. BellSoft offers various commercial support plans.

The Alpaquita Linux Docker image based on musl is 3.22 MB and the image based on glibc is 7.8 MB. That's just a bit bigger than the Alpine Docker images, which start at less than 2.5 MB. Additional Docker images with Python or GCC are available as well.

Alternatively, the Liberica Runtime Container, based on Alpaquita Linux, may be used for Java applications. Docker images are available for Java 8, 11 and 17 where the smallest JRE and JDK images for Java 17 are less than 75MB. The images are based upon Liberica Lite which is optimized for size, performance and cloud deployments.

The last alternative based on Alpaquita Linux is the Liberica Native Image Kit (NIK) which uses GraalVM. Docker images are available for Java 11 and 17, where the Java 17 images start at a bit more than 308 MB. The kit may be used to compile JVM applications into ahead of time compiled native executables that offer faster startup times and lower memory consumption compared to traditional applications. The executable binary file contains the application, dependencies and runtime components including the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Applications written in JVM languages such as Java, Kotlin, Scala and Groovy may be converted into executables. The Native Image Kit works on Windows, Linux and macOS on machines with x86, x64 or ARM processors (Linux only).

Alpaquita Linux is part of the Alpaquita Cloud Native Platform together with Liberica JDK Lite and Liberica Native Image Kit (NIK).

More information can be found in the introduction blog.

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