Future Fedora upgrades

Most users are interested in Fedora upgrades. Each release brings improvements, and frequent releases are a hallmark of open source software. Releases of Fedora happen twice a year, and many users take advantage of improvements by upgrading to each new release. There are several methods to do this in Fedora, as outlined on the project wiki.

However, not every user wants to upgrade twice a year. Some users prefer a longer cycle. Their reasons may vary. Some prefer the familiarity of a single release a year at a time. Some have customizations and don’t want to redo them quite as often. For home users and enthusiasts, a long-term release like CentOS is an option.

Some users, however, want a different balance between newer software and more time on a release. For them, upgrades every other release can be a solution. In a recent blog post, Adam Williamson of the Fedora Quality Assurance (QA) team discusses how these upgrades work.

In general, users were expected to upgrade one release at a time. As Adam explains“If you wanted to run Fedora 21 until it went EOL then go to Fedora 23, you were still supposed to upgrade to Fedora 22 first, then straight to Fedora 23. This has long struck many people as a bit odd, though, and recently we’re taking steps to do something about it.”

Adam theorizes there can be a more supportable, official upgrade across two releases in the future. You can read more about the concept, and what QA is doing about it, here in his blog.

Fedora Project community


  1. Etna

    Long releases are definitely good for stability, but seriously, CentOS? Most of the long-release distributions like Debian and CentOS ship with painfully outdated packages and software on launch. Hopefully something can be done to CentOS so that users have cutting edge software on release like Fedora, but with a longer lifespan.

  2. Erix

    i’m using Fedora since fedora-core-1
    i always prefer clean install !! don’t have luck with upgrades! always something wont work! the last time my database went bad and i had to clean install all over again !!
    it’s a challenge every 6 month i have to face!
    installing so many applications that i use!! sometimes my hardware wont work until packages for new OS releases … but it worth the challenge !
    Thanks FEDORA for being a good OS for me!

    • Robert Susmilch

      Hard core excitement there Erix!

      I personally don’t think a six month release is worthwhile. I also don’t have luck with upgrades and tend to first try an upgrade, and then do a fresh if it doesn’t work. I recently dusted off an old netbook to get ready to go back to school, Fedora with XFCE running solidly. Saw an upgrade and decided, why not?!

      I’ll tell you why not… wireless quit working. That’s just unacceptable. I reinstalled a clean install of the previous Fedora version, wireless worked just fine. Spent hours troubleshooting and gave up, had classes to take care of first.

  3. VK Joseph

    Six monthly releases gives me a lot of challenges in the form upgrade or fresh install and gives a good learning experience..in any case no regrets at all..

  4. Rene Reichenbach

    Sounds more scary then it is you can get a full list of installed software using dnf. And you can easily execute this list on the new installation. If you save and copy your “home” folder most of the “reinstallation” should be done.

    But anyway i would like to see an direct upgrade to the over next version as it will help to make the community grow.

  5. Fedora’s move to keep the 6 months release cycle will keep its technological edge differentiation value while being able to jump from upgrades would also make things easier. Being an occasionally lazy and busy person, I often delay my upgrade until it becomes EOL.

    One question for the QA team, what about upgrades for even older Fedora versions – eg: having 4 upgrade jumps from F22 to 26. Would Fedora be considering that as well? Because sometimes, people do get pretty busy till the point where their Fedora installation is 3 or 4 cycles behind the release.

  6. Paavo Leinonen

    Supported upgrade from release X to X+2 sounds very good.

  7. X

    no worry about us and stick to your vision to have a bleeding edge operating system that fedora created for 🙂

    in my laptop i have f23 but i am using the 4.2.6-300 kernel because something is broken in the intel driver in the hdmi support after this kernel . not big deal . i am using the grub customizer to easy set my default kernel if something goes bad on update and i have increase the number of grub kernels in /etc/yum.conf up to 10 entries in the installonly_limit .

    i am updating , i am reporting if something brake and i am continue using the old working entry of kernel without loosing the most valuable variable in life …time 🙂

    • X

      i forgot to write that after fedora 21 we have to change dnf.conf in /etc/dnf/dnf.conf to have more than the 3 default kernels in grub and if someone wants all the kernels to remain unaffected during updating procedure he should change the value to installonly_limit=0 in dnf.conf

  8. Weren’t you able to upgrade two releases back when you could upgrade Fedora using an install DVD?

  9. steve

    I have done release upgrade jumps in the past, mostly it worked fine, from 21 to 23 not so fine. In any event, I always back up critical data prior to upgrading, as is recommended. I haven’t done a fresh install, in at least 4 releases, with minimal aggravation. Mostly, just need to review the installation logs to determine the errors needing attention. As for the tested ability to jump releases, that would be marvelous in my opinion.

  10. Etna

    Actually, come to think of it, users who jump releases are more likely to perform clean installations anyway. I once jumped from Fedora 10 to Fedora 19; no jump update plan would have been able to cater for that even if Fedora were to implement jump upgrades.

  11. Bruce Barbour

    I followed the explicit instructions to upgrade from Fedora 22 to Fedora 23 and it was a complete disaster. Apparently many others had the same outcome. I gave up the struggle to get it right and took it in to a linux expert. He told me never to upgrade Fedora the same way again.

    • @Bruce: Sorry you had a negative experience. We obviously can’t test every combination of software, especially since many people use add-ons from outside the Fedora Project. Filing a bug or issue with some specific symptoms usually helps Fedora folks fix things. Thanks for taking the time to write.

  12. Alex Finkel

    I upgraded several systems from F21 to F23 directly and without issue using dnf. I remember having done at least one upgrade from F19 to F21 directly (using Fedup) also without issue. Maybe an n+2 upgrade is one of those things that mostly works, but edge cases will always be a danger. I was unaware that it was unsupported.

    • Steve

      I have done so too, both with Fedup and dnf upgrade. I find dnf upgrade seems more adept at doing this. One of the issues I ran into with the F21 to F23 upgrade that I mentioned above was not a show stopper but was really related to the age of the PC and its CPU board combination (an older MSI board with a Quad Core Athalon CPU). As I stated above I had to review the logs of the upgrade to determine where the problems were, and then resolve. No clean install was required, just not as simple as pushing a button and letting it complete. All in though, I must say that every release cycle I see improvements in the Distro, both in respect to installing and upgrading.

  13. Please don’t use white-on-black text. It is painful to read and write.
    “Each release brings improvements, and frequent releases are a hallmark of open source software.”
    I disagree with both these statements. For me, Fedora is a resource like paper. It is a way to get things done, which in my case are almost entirely limited to: accessing the internet, using email,
    writing LaTeX, reading newsgroups, and running various mathematic programs (GAP, pari/gp, sagemath).
    For me, the only question is: does Fedora fulfil these needs reliably? From my admittedly very limited perspective new releases rarely if ever bring improvements, and I doubt if they are necessary in any case. I upgrade every couple of days, and I believe most new releases could be implemented in this way.
    As for the suggestion that frequent releases of this kind are “a hallmark of open source software”,
    that is simply nonsense. Most programs are updated by a process similar to Fedora’s daily upgrades.

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