The Branched release is the part of the Fedora Release Life Cycle that spans from pre-Alpha to post-Beta. It is forked from Rawhide (which continues independently) and post-Beta turns into a final general public release.
The Branch Freeze Policy describes the process of building packages during this phase. (This replaces the older Alpha, Beta, and Final freeze policies.) Essentially there are non-rawhide repositories with the version number of the release-to-be (currently 21). New builds go to the "updates-testing" repository; after approval in Bodhi, they are promoted directly to the stable "fedora" repository for that release. (There is no "updates" repository until the final general availability release.)
The Feature Freeze and String Freeze are started near the beginning of the Branched phase. The Alpha Milestone is intended to be feature-complete, and start a phase of intensive installer testing. The Beta release is intended to experience a high volume of public testing of all packages.
During the appropriate phases, Alpha and Beta releases can be found at: http://fedoraproject.org/get-prerelease
Upgrading from pre-release to final is also possible once the final release is available.
How to avoid disturbing an existing system
There are a few methods to test the Branched release on a machine without disturbing an existing installation:
- Test a Live version from USB or DVD drive.
- Use a virtual machine. Refer to Getting started with virtualization
- Install to a separate partition.
Direct install, upgrade, or no-install testing with an Alpha, Beta, or nightly Live build
Nightly builds of Live spins are now available. All approved Live spins are posted, but "desktop" is the one that is used and distributed most widely. The Live method is usually the fastest for fresh installs and is how most everyday users will install the final distribution. Using these nightly builds is an ideal way to test the Branched release if you have no spare machine or partition available, or simply do not have the time to maintain a Branched installation. It's a very safe way to test, since it will make no changes to your installed system. You can also later install the Branched release to your hard drive from the Live desktop if the Live image is working well for you. Note that after the go-ahead for the previous final release but before a Branched release is created in the release schedule, these nightly composes will contain Rawhide content.
Alpha and Beta milestone releases are also available as Live images.
The basic steps are:
- Download a daily Live image (.iso) from http://alt.fedoraproject.org/pub/alt/nightly-composes/ or if you would prefer the official Alpha or Beta milestone release, from http://fedoraproject.org/get-prerelease
- Make a boot disk (see "How do I make a bootable disk from an ISO?" below) and boot from it.
- Start testing.
- If you want to permanently install or upgrade locally, log in and double click on the "Install to Hard Drive" icon on the desktop, then follow the on-screen instructions.
The maximum ISO size is now 1GB, which is larger than can fit on a CD. It is expected that most users will have USB or DVD media available. USB media in particular is advantageous compared to CDs, because it is cheap and highly reusable.
Builds include only package versions from the "stable" repository, so they should in general be usable; please file a bug if you encounter any problems. If there is a bug in the generation toolchain, the images may not be built on a given night; in this case, the last built image will remain available.
If you use a LiveUSB with data persistence, you can run "yum update" to get the latest RPMs (except for the kernel). However, downloading a fresh daily ISOs is recommended instead of this method.
Installing via Anaconda
Anaconda is the Fedora installer. It can be booted directly, rather than run from a Live desktop. Installation options can also be more flexible.
Upgrade from any previous release via Preupgrade and Anaconda
A faster Anaconda installation can be performed from an existing copy of Fedora with PreUpgrade. See How to use PreUpgrade for instructions. During the process, check the box next to "Display unstable test releases" and select "Fedora 21 (Branched)" from the list.
Upgrading from a Branched test release
If a test release or "pre-release" (Alpha or Beta) is currently available, you can download it from: http://fedoraproject.org/get-prerelease
Test releases are configured to update to the latest version of the Branched release which they are building on automatically. To get the latest packages, you can run "yum update" or wait for desktop notification of updates. If you continue to follow updates, you will eventually end up with the same packages and updates as are in the final general availability release.
See upgrading from pre-release to final if you encounter any snafus.
Direct install using a general release Anaconda ISO
You can use the version of Anaconda distributed with a final public release (the latest being Fedora 20). Using this method, you will be using an older but known-to-be-working installer to install the latest content in the Branched repository.
- Option 1 - Use a copy you've already downloaded
If you already have a bootable CD, DVD, USB stick, or hard drive partition containing the *-DVD.iso or *-disc1.iso you can use that to install Branched. However, if you need to download new boot media, these files are not recommended because they contain general release versions of Fedora RPMs, and you wish to install Branched RPMs. (See installation guide download page for instructions if you want to download these files anyway.) A general release Live image cannot be used to install Branched, only the general release version of Fedora which it contains.
- Option 2 - Download the minimal installer
If you need to make a bootable CD, DVD, USB stick, or hard drive partition, the best way is to download the minimal boot.iso installer, and load RPMs over the network. This is the same as the *-netinst.iso (e.g. Fedora-12-i386-netinst.iso) which you may find elsewhere. These files are not available by BitTorrent.
To get and use a boot.iso file:
- Go to http://download.fedoraproject.org/ - you will be redirected to a nearby mirror.
- Go to releases/20/Fedora.
- Choose the directory for your architecture (i386, x86_64, or ppc - help available), then find os/images/boot.iso and download it.
- Create a bootable CD, DVD, USB media, or hard drive partition following the instructions at  and using your newly downloaded boot.iso file. You can use the livecd-iso-to-disk method described there even though boot.iso is not a Live image, and it should also work on hard drive partitions, not just USB media.
- Option 3 - Pure network install with no boot media
The Installation Guide documents how to boot the installer directly from the network, in case you cannot or choose not to create local boot media.
- What to do after booting Option 1, 2 or 3
Follow the on-screen instructions from Anaconda, the graphical installer. The installation is very straightforward. You should do a HTTP/FTP install. To get Branched instead of a supported release, for the URL of your 'install tree', use "<mirrorroot>/development/21/<arch>/os/" where <mirrorroot> is the mirror site URL you got from the mirror list and <arch> is your architecture (i386, x86_64, or ppc).
- Option 4 - With no network access at install time
If you have no network access during the install process, you will need to download the Branched (development/21) repository from a development mirror and use the hard drive installation method described in the Installation Guide, or it might be easier to choose a different method to install Branched from another section of this page.
Direct install using daily Branched Anaconda build
Using this method, you will be testing not only the contents of Branched, but also the Branched version of the installer which will become the installer for the next version of Fedora.
Follow the same steps as in "Using a general release Anaconda ISO" above, but get your boot.iso from "development/21/<arch>/os/images/" one of the mirrors listed at: http://mirrors.fedoraproject.org/publiclist/Fedora/development/
Yum update from previous official release
This method is available but generally not recommended. Anaconda can make changes that are outside what the packaging system can normally deal with. You may also run into dependency problems which could take time to untangle. You may also need to upgrade from the immediately previous release (e.g. install Fedora 12, then Fedora 14 Branched, not jump directly from Fedora 12 to Fedora 14 Branched). Be prepared to wipe your system and re-install from scratch if things do not go well. Run the following commands as root user
yum update yum
yum --releasever=21 --disablerepo=updates --enablerepo=updates-testing update
You might have to disable any third party repositories as well using disablerepo option or editing the repo files directly. Note that the yum version originally included in Fedora 12 does not support --releasever option so make sure you run yum update yum first to get a newer version that does.
How do I make a bootable disk from an ISO?
- To write to USB media, see How to create and use Live USB.
- To burn a DVD, see the burning ISOs readme.
Where is the Branched release mirrored?
The current Branched release is found under "development/21" on the mirrors. You can find a local mirror from: http://mirrors.fedoraproject.org/publiclist/Fedora/
Where can I read the list of changes to the branch?
You can subscribe to the test list at https://admin.fedoraproject.org/mailman/listinfo/test. You will get two reports, one for the base repository and another report for the updates-testing repository which is also enabled by default for the Alpha and Beta releases.
Report for the base repository:
Report for the updates-testing repository: http://lists.fedoraproject.org/pipermail/test/2010-August/092346.html
Note that updates-testing repo is automatically disabled before the general release.