Given it can take well over an hour to download and update a new template releasing R4.2 missing two (out of only 3) of the newer templates (whonix17 & debian12) doesn’t sound like a good use of time to me. A new user would be completely turned off.
My hope is to redo my pc on R4.2, but if the expectation is more hours of time after that time spent to update to the latest R4.2 version to the “actual” latest R4.2 version I’ll wait.
No need to worry. No templates will be missing. Qubes 4.2 will include both Whonix 17 and Debian 12. The message you’re quoting is referring to in-place upgrades, which are a different story. Existing templates have never been upgraded in-place automatically when upgrading Qubes OS itself in-place.
I thought it still should work (for Upgrade to 4.2) too, but with a special switch in the command, so the upgrade function knows, it should use the upgrade to an RC-x version.
If not - then we have to wait until the final version is out!
To try it out without trouble I would suggest the following:
Boot up in a live system (for example TailsOS from an TailsOS USB stick) and doing an image from your entire QubesOS harddrive by using the “Drive” tool of the TailsOS stick (live system) and an USB harddrive, which has more space as your QubesOS harddrive.
After having your image of the QubesOS save on the USB drive - unplug it and boot into QubesOS again - do the upgrade and check out, what errors you’ll may run into. If there are any, you can’t solve - just turn off your device and boot up into the live system again and restore your 4.1.2 QubesOS again from the image…
After you’re using the same harddrive for QubesOS - nothing has to be changed on the bootloader, so this works fine on my side. Tried it several times on the upgrade from 4.0 to 4.1, because I ran into some errors during the “in-place-upgrade”.
“In-Place-Upgrade” always have some trouble with non-qubes-vms (as Windows10/11 qubes are or others with other OSes). Maybe it’s good to made backups from these qubes before - delete them and after you only have disp, templates, usual-vm’s and that regular Qubes stuff in the qubes manager - start the in-place-upgrade process.
Later you can restore those external qubes again from backup in 4.2
There are two ways to upgrade: a clean installation or an in-place upgrade. In general, a clean installation is simpler and less error-prone, but an in-place upgrade allows you to preserve your customizations.
For both minor release (e.g. 4.1 to 4.2) or major release (e.g. R4 to R5), I personally prefer a fresh installation.
I guess it’s up to you and if you have an automated way to reinstall your system.