Today we’re releasing the first release candidate of Qubes 3.2. This release, similar to 3.1, is mostly focused on hardware compatibility and improved usability. But as usual, there are also some new features. Major highlights for this release are:

  1. Major enhancements to management/pre-configuration. Now, it is not only possible to create VMs and set their properties, but you can also configure the insides of the VMs! This enables many more interesting use-cases, like setting up new customized templates automatically. We don’t have any finished, out-of-the-box configurations using this new feature yet, but we already have some preliminary versions of some of them, for example:

  2. Dom0 updated to Fedora 23. This provides much newer graphics drivers. Together with Linux kernel 4.4.x in dom0, it should make Qubes OS much more compatible with new hardware. With Fedora 23 we were forced to upgrade KDE 4 to KDE 5. This is mostly done, but there are still some rough edges. We aim to iron out any remaining rough edges for the final Qubes 3.2 release.

  3. USB passthrough. For a long time it was only possible to attach the whole USB controller to a selected VM. With Qubes 3.2, we introduce USB passthrough, which allows connecting individual USB devices to any VM. This is actually our second attempt to do this - the previous one was based on Xen-specific PV USB drivers and turned out to be a failure, as those drivers were buggy and not maintained anymore. The current approach is based on the USB IP driver, which is supported in vanilla Linux.

    While this feature enables many new of possibilities, it should be noted that connecting a whole USB device to VM exposes that VM to all the problems with USB devices. So, if there are other options for using a specific device (for example qvm-block for block devices), those alternatives should be used.

Read the release notes for more details and installation instructions. The installation image can be downloaded from here. A word of caution: we haven’t prepared the upgrade path yet, so the only option to try 3.2-rc1 is to do a clean reinstall (or install it on another drive/partition).