Explanation for the early RC
We announced RC2 approximately one week ago. Normally, RC2 would have been tested for approximately five weeks before we announced RC3. However, RC2 contained several bugs (listed below), some of which prevented certain users from testing it. These bugs have been fixed in RC3. We’ve decided to release RC3 early, as an exception to our usual policy, in order to get these fixes out as quickly as possible so that more users can test 4.2 for longer before the eventual stable release.
Main changes from RC2 to RC3
- Fixed: “Installer in R4.2 does not warn about incompatible hardware” (#8345)
- Fixed: “Wi-Fi firmware missing from default templates on 4.2.0-rc2 ISO” (#8452)
- Fixed: “Qubes R4.2.0-rc2 cannot be installed on legacy BIOS system” (#8462)
- Fixed: “R4.2 (rc1, rc2) unable to boot on Thinkpad T430 when UEFI is enabled” (#8464)
For an overview of major changes from Qubes 4.1 to 4.2, please see the Qubes OS 4.2.0 release notes.
When is the stable release?
That depends on the number of bugs discovered in this RC and their severity. As explained in our release schedule documentation, our usual process after issuing a new RC is to collect bug reports, triage the bugs, and fix them. This usually takes around five weeks, depending on the bugs discovered. If warranted, we then issue a new RC that includes the fixes and repeat the whole process again. We continue this iterative procedure until we’re left with an RC that’s good enough to be declared the stable release. No one can predict, at the outset, how many iterations will be required (and hence how many RCs will be needed before a stable release), but we tend to get a clearer picture of this with each successive RC, which we share in this section in each RC announcement.
At this point, we can say that there will be at least one more RC after this one.
Testing Qubes 4.2.0-rc3
Thank you to everyone who tested the previous Qubes 4.2.0 RCs! Due to your efforts, this new RC includes fixes for several bugs that were present in the previous RCs.
Upgrading to Qubes 4.2.0-rc3
If you’re currently running any Qubes 4.2.0 RC, you can upgrade to the latest RC by enabling the
current-testing repo in dom0, then updating normally. However, please note that there have been some recent template changes, which are detailed in the Qubes OS 4.2.0 release notes.
If you’re currently on Qubes 4.1 and wish to test 4.2, please see how to upgrade to Qubes 4.2, which details both clean installation and in-place upgrade options. As always, we strongly recommend making a full backup beforehand.
Reminder: new signing key for Qubes OS 4.2
As a reminder, we published the following special announcement in Qubes Canary 032 on 2022-09-14:
We plan to create a new Release Signing Key (RSK) for Qubes OS 4.2. Normally, we have only one RSK for each major release. However, for the 4.2 release, we will be using Qubes Builder version 2, which is a complete rewrite of the Qubes Builder. Out of an abundance of caution, we would like to isolate the build processes of the current stable 4.1 release and the upcoming 4.2 release from each other at the cryptographic level in order to minimize the risk of a vulnerability in one affecting the other. We are including this notice as a canary special announcement since introducing a new RSK for a minor release is an exception to our usual RSK management policy.
As with all Qubes signing keys, we also encourage you to authenticate the new Qubes OS Release 4.2 Signing Key, which is available in the Qubes Security Pack (qubes-secpack) as well as on the downloads page under the Qubes OS 4.2.0-rc3 ISO.
What is a release candidate?
A release candidate (RC) is a software build that has the potential to become a stable release, unless significant bugs are discovered in testing. RCs are intended for more advanced (or adventurous!) users who are comfortable testing early versions of software that are potentially buggier than stable releases. You can read more about Qubes OS supported releases and the version scheme in our documentation.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.qubes-os.org/news/2023/09/03/qubes-os-4-2-0-rc3-available-for-testing/