The updates-testing repository, also referred to as Test Updates, contains updates scheduled to be released for the maintained releases of Fedora. User testing and feedback provided via Bodhi, on the test mailing list and the relevant Bugzilla is vital to ensure that good updates are released quickly and bad ones kept away from release.
Using the updates-testing repository
Enabling the repository permanently
To enable the updates-testing repository permanently, run the repository configuration tool. From the Fedora menu, click Administration and then Software Sources. Now check the box labelled Show debug and development software sources. Now, check the boxes with Test Updates (but not Test Updates Source) in their name for your release of Fedora. From now on, when you update your system, test updates will be installed just as official updates were previously.
Enabling the repository temporarily
If you'd rather not enable the updates-testing repository permanently but just use it on a case-by-case basis, you can do this with yum. The command:
yum update --enablerepo=updates-testing
will update the entire system using packages from the updates-testing repository, while the command:
yum install <foo> --enablerepo=updates-testing
will install or update only the package named <foo> from the updates-testing repository.
What to test, testing, and reporting results
The Bodhi system is used to track and collate feedback on testing updates. All testing updates will be shown in the Bodhi system. First of all, if any test update package works worse for you in any respect than the pre-update version did, this is a problem that should be communicated to the developers. Secondly, when you click on a certain update, you will see a screen with more information on the update. The Details section should give you information on what the update is intended to fix. You should, if possible, test that the update does indeed fix the issues it claims to fix.
There is a tool you can use to ease the process of reporting your feedback, called
. The tool is available as a package for all supported Fedora releases. Installation instructions can be found here.
After installation, you can launch the tool at any time by running
fedora-easy-karma in a console. If your FAS account name is not the same as your user name, use the --fas-username parameter to specify your FAS account name. It will automatically discover what packages, if any, you currently have installed from the updates-testing repository, and let you file your feedback before moving on to the next package, all in one linear process.
You can also give your feedback on a test update by using the Bodhi web interface. There is a Login link in the left-hand sidebar. Log in using your Fedora account. If you don't have a Fedora account, you can create an account here. Once you are logged in, you will be able to leave a comment on the update. Underneath the comment box are three options: Untested, Works for me, and Does not work. For a guide on when to leave each type of feedback, read the update feedback guidelines.
Each Works for me adds 1 to the test update's karma, while each Does not work subtracts 1 from it. Untested leaves the karma unchanged. Usually, test updates with karma of 3 are automatically sent out as full official updates, while test updates with karma of -3 are automatically withdrawn from the testing repository. As you can see, your testing and feedback is vital to make sure that good updates are released quickly and bad ones don't get out to the general public.
Updates-testing enabled by default in development releases
Starting with the Fedora 13 development, Rawhide has become a permanent development branch. In Fedora 13 development branch and above updates-testing repository is enabled by default for any development release (Alpha, Beta, Nightly builds etc). Package maintainers in Fedora are encouraged to test their updates via this repository first to keep the development branch more robust while providing the latest updates. If you a tester, it is recommended to leave this repository enabled and provide feedback to help make the general release that follows a robust one. In the development branch, packages that are in the updates-testing repository will eventually transition into the base repository instead of the updates repository.
Before release, a fedora-release update will automatically disable the updates-testing repository and enable the updates repository. After the general release, the updates repository will start filling up as more updates gets pushed through but until the release time, updates repository will remain empty.