If you’re a typical desktop Linux user, you probably wonder how Alpine Linux has remained hidden from you. Don’t be concerned; this is entirely normal.
Although Alpine Linux can be used as a fully working desktop system, this is not its primary goal.
The distribution is strongly focused on the container world because of its exceptional lightweight and different approach to the software providing its functionality. So, for example, you won’t find systemd here; instead, the boot initialization system is handled by OpenRC.
AlpineLinux, on the other hand, is considered a Holy Grail in the world of DevOps engineering and the most extensively utilized distribution for containerized services.
And having made that introduction, let’s now move on to the more exciting things to note in the recently released new Alpine Linux 3.16 version.
Alpine Linux 3.16 Highlights
Тhe new release includes certain enhancements to its setup scripts. We’re referring to the set of configuration tools used during a fresh installation.
These scripts have been updated in Alpine Linux 3.16, including improved support for NVMe disks, the creation of a user with administrator privileges, and the ability to add SSH keys during installation.
On top of that, the most significant improvement, however, is the addition of the
setup-desktop script, which makes it much easier to add a graphical environment during the installation of a new Alpine Linux system.
The other significant change in Alpine Linux 3.16 is the usage of the well-known
sudo command. It has been moved to the community repository, which means that only the most recent stable release branch will receive security updates in the future.
Perhaps you are already wondering how you will carry out your admin work. Don’t worry, the developers of the distribution have thought of that. The
sudo command’s new replacement,
doas, takes care of that.
The reason for the replacement is that
sudo has long been a thorn in everyone’s side because it’s a bit of a bloated mess with questionable security. On the other hand, the
doas command seems to handle the problem far more elegantly.
The best thing is that its operation is identical to that of the
One of the things that most interest developers and system administrators using Linux is the version of the various development libraries and servers. Alpine Linux 3.16 users will not be disappointed because they will find plenty of application updates:
- Go 1.18
- LLVM 13
- Node.js (current) 18.2
- Ruby 3.1
- Rust 1.60
- Python 3.10
- PHP 8.1
- Podman 4.0
In addition, Python 2 and PHP 7 have been removed and are no longer available for installation.
Apart from those mentioned above, some additional changes also deserve to be noted here.
Alpine 3.16 will not include the old SDL 1.2 package, which has been moved from community to testing. Instead, applications that utilize SDL use
sdl12-compat, which is based on the much more well-maintained SDL 2.0. This leads to various improvements, including support for Wayland, PipeWire, and more gamepads.
Last but not least, as Alpine Linux users are probably aware, the
/tmp directory was previously a part of the root filesystem that was cleaned on boot by the bootmisc openrc service script. New installations in Alpine Linux 3.16 will mount
/tmp as tmpfs.
Downloads and more details on the Alpine Linux 3.16 release are available from AlpineLinux.org.