Testing new releases and updates

Testing new Qubes OS releases and updates is one of the most helpful ways in which you can contribute to the Qubes OS Project. If you’re interested in helping with this, please join the testing team. There are several different types of testing, which we’ll cover below.

Warning: Software testing is intended for advanced users and developers. You should only attempt to do this if you know what you’re doing. Never rely on code that is in testing for critical work!


How to test upcoming Qubes OS releases:

  • Use qubes-builder to build the latest release.
  • Test the latest release candidate (RC), if one is currently available.
  • (No support) Experiment with devel alpha ISOs found from time to time at Qubes OpenQA.

Please make sure to report any bugs you encounter.

See Version Scheme for details about release versions and schedules. See Release Checklist for details about the RC process.


How to test updates:

Every new update is first uploaded to the security-testing repository if it is a security update or current-testing if it is a normal update. The update remains in security-testing or current-testing for a minimum of one week. On occasion, an exception is made for a particularly critical security update, which is immediately pushed to the current stable repository. In general, however, security updates remain in security-testing for two weeks before migrating to current. Normal updates generally remain in current-testing until they have been sufficiently tested by the community, which can last weeks or even months, depending on the amount of feedback received (see Providing feedback).

“Sufficient testing” is, in practice, a fluid term that is up the developers’ judgment. In general, it means either that no negative feedback and at least one piece of positive feedback has been received or that the package has been in current-testing for long enough, depending on the component and the complexity of the changes.

A limitation of the current testing setup is that it is only possible to migrate the most recent version of a package from current-testing to current. This means that, if a newer version of a package is uploaded to current-testing, it will no longer be possible to migrate any older versions of that same package from current-testing to current, even if one of those older versions has been deemed stable enough. While this limitation can be inconvenient, the benefits outweigh the costs, since it greatly simplifies the testing and reporting process.


How to test templates:

  • For official templates, enable the qubes-templates-itl-testing repository, then install the desired template.
  • For community templates, enable the qubes-templates-community-testing repository, then install the desired template.

To temporarily enable any of these repos, use the --enablerepo=<repo-name> option. Example commands:

sudo qubes-dom0-update --enablerepo=qubes-templates-itl-testing
sudo qubes-dom0-update --enablerepo=qubes-templates-community-testing

To enable or disable any of these repos permanently, change the corresponding enabled value to 1 in /etc/yum.repos.d/qubes-templates.repo.

Providing feedback

Since the whole point of testing software is to discover and fix bugs, your feedback is an essential part of this process.

We use an automated build process. For every package that is uploaded to a testing repository, a GitHub issue is created in the updates-status repository for tracking purposes. We welcome any kind of feedback on any package in any testing repository. Even a simple or on the package’s associated issue would help us to decide whether the package is ready to be migrated to a stable repository. If you report a bug in a package that is in a testing repository, please reference the appropriate issue in updates-status.