Rawhide

"Rawhide" is the name given to the current development version of Fedora Linux. It consists of a package repository called "rawhide" and contains the latest build of all Fedora Linux packages updated on a daily basis. Each day, the build system attempts to create a full set of deliverables (installation images and so on), and all that compose successfully are included in the Rawhide tree for that day.

Rawhide is sometimes called "development" or "main" (as it’s the "main" branch in package git repositories).

Goals

Rawhide has the following Goals:

  • To allow package maintainers to integrate the newest usable versions of their packages into Fedora.

  • To allow advanced users access to the newest usable packages in a rolling manner.

  • To allow incremental changes to packages that are either too minor or major to go to stable Fedora releases.

  • To identify and fix issues with packages before they reach a stable release of Fedora.

  • To allow a place where certain low-level packages (approved by FESCo), including (but not limited to) glibc and gcc, can gain real-world testing of pre-release versions.

Audience

Rawhide is targeted at advanced users, testers, and package maintainers.

As a Rawhide consumer, you should:

  • Be willing to update on an almost daily basis. Rawhide gets hundreds of updates a day, and applying those updates on a regular basis allows you to more easily isolate when a bug appeared and what package(s) are responsible.

  • Be willing and able to troubleshoot problems. From time to time there are problems with Rawhide packages, and you will need strong troubleshooting skills and the ability to gather information for bug reports. You need a good understanding of dnf and how to downgrade packages, as well as boot time troubleshooting.

  • Have time and desire to learn new interfaces and changes. Rawhide packages stick closely to upstream projects, so interfaces and command-line options are subject to frequent changes.

  • Be willing to reboot frequently to test new kernel versions and confirm functionality of the boot process. If you can’t reboot often, consider using a stable release instead.

  • Be willing and able to report bugs to bugzilla as you find them and help maintainers gather information to fix them.

If the above doesn’t match you, you may wish to instead follow the Branched release (depending on the point in the release cycle) or use regular stable Fedora releases.

Using Rawhide

See the wiki template for instructions on installing and using Rawhide.

Discussing Rawhide

There are a number of ways to communicate with other Rawhide users:

IRC

Rawhide discussion is on topic and welcome in both the #fedora-devel and #fedora-qa IRC channels.

Mailing Lists

Rawhide discussion is on topic and welcome in both the test and devel lists.

Bugzilla

Rawhide bugs should be reported against the Fedora product, rawhide version and the affected component. Please do follow best practices when filing. Remember that IRC and mailing lists are useful to help narrow down if some behavior is a bug or where to report it, but are themselves not bug reporting channels. Always file bugs in Bugzilla.

Note that broken dependencies are mailed to maintainers for each daily Rawhide compose where a package has such broken dependencies. Therefore, it’s usually not worth filing a bug for broken dependencies unless they don’t appear in the daily report, or you have a fix or improvement to suggest.

Producing Rawhide

Package owners must build for Rawhide using koji just like you would any other build; you do not go through the Bodhi process and the build becomes available almost immediately.

The Rawhide repository is composed every day starting at 05:15UTC. All rawhide builds in the buildsystem at that time are included in the compose attempt. The compose process also attempts to build all the standard Fedora 'deliverables' (live and install images, ARM and Cloud disk images, container images and so on). If any release-blocking image fails to build as part of the compose, the compose is considered to have failed. If the compose completes successfully, the compose will be 'synced out' to the mirror system. (A system where the sync only happens if a set of automated tests run on it passes is planned, but not yet fully implemented).

Rawhide is under development/rawhide on the mirrors. You can find a local "development" mirror on the public mirror list. Compose time varies depending on number of changes but is typically between 5 and 8 hours.

Composes are done in a rawhide chroot using the 'pungi' tool called from a script maintained by Fedora Release engineering. If the base set of packages in Rawhide needed to compose Rawhide are broken, the daily compose may fail.

A report for each Rawhide compose is sent to to the test and devel lists. This report contains output from the repodiff tool from the previous compose as well as a broken dependency report for packages with broken dependencies. Additionally, private email is sent to maintainers with packages containing broken dependencies.

Package maintainers should read and follow the Rawhide updates policy for building any packages in Rawhide.

If needed and approved by FESCo, mass rebuilds are done by Release Engineering in Rawhide a month or so before the next release branches from it. Typically these are done for a global change over all packages such as a new gcc release, or rpm package format.

Questions and Answers

Doesn’t rawhide eat babies / kill pets / burn down houses / break constantly?

No. Please stop telling everyone that.

So Rawhide is very stable and we can all use it?

No. See audience above. There are things that break from time to time, but if you are able to downgrade or troubleshoot such issues aren’t too severe. Most users should still stick to stable Fedora releases, but Rawhide is a viable option for enthusiasts to experiment with.

I’m using a Stable Fedora release, but I want a newer package version that’s only available in Rawhide. Can I just dnf install it?

No Mixing releases like this is a bad idea. Better options are:

  • Ask the Fedora maintainer in a bug report to update the stable version if permitted by policy. If not, there may be a Copr repository that provides the updated version. See the COPR page for more details.

  • Obtain the src.rpm for the package you wish and try and to rpmbuild --rebuild it (which may or may not work depending on dependencies).

I want to run the Rawhide kernel on my stable Fedora machine. Can I do that?

Sometimes yes. The kernel is more self-contained than other Rawhide packages and you also can easily boot your older kernel if the Rawhide kernel goes wrong. Download and dnf install the package. However, note that Rawhide kernels often have debugging code enabled, which results in them performing noticeably worse than release kernels (they will be slower and consume more memory).

Is Rawhide a "rolling release"?

It depends on how you define that, but yes.

How can I tell when the Rawhide compose for the day has finished?

Check the for the reports sent to the test and devel lists, or watch fedora-messaging for the org.fedoraproject.prod.pungi.compose.status.change topic.

What happens during branching, does it affect my Rawhide release somehow?

No, you’re still on Rawhide and no action is required. (This was handled differently in the past).

How do I get out of Rawhide again? I want to switch to the Branched release or a stable release.

Note that downgrading your system to a lower release is not supported, not tested, not a good idea, and definitely at your own risk. The safest approach is to reinstall the system. If you really want to downgrade, at least make a filesystem snapshot first (if you use the default Btrfs filesystem).

One common use case is to switch your system to Branched right after it is created (split from Rawhide). In this case, the sooner you do it (after branching), the safer and easier it is—the difference between systems is minimal at that point. Downgrading after a long time, or downgrading to a stable release (which is completely different from Rawhide) will be more problematic.

You can (attempt to) downgrade to Branched or a stable release using DNF system upgrade (the same approach as for upgrades). However, because Rawhide uses a different set of system repositories, you need to explicitly disable those during the download phase, and explicitly enable the set or repositories used on non-Rawhide systems. So the download command would look like this (this will disable and enable the correct repositories, and if you have some additional (including third-party) repositories installed, it will keep them enabled or disabled as they are currently; replace NN with the target release number): sudo dnf system-upgrade download --releasever=NN --disablerepo='rawhide,rawhide-modular' --enablerepo='fedora,fedora-modular,updates,updates-modular'

Everything else should be unchanged, you can use the rest of the aforelinked guide to proceed. There is a higher chance of encountering broken dependencies when downgrading, because while package dependencies must work correctly when going up in versions. They don’t need to work when going down. In that case, you can try --skip-broken or removing the offending packages (if possible), otherwise you’re mostly out of luck.

As a package maintainer do I have to build rawhide packages or does the nightly compose take care of that?

You must build for Rawhide yourself (using Koji). The nightly compose only collects packages already built and marked with the appropriate target (rawhide) in koji.

Are rawhide packages signed?

All of them are now signed. Make sure you have gpgcheck=1 set in your repo file to take advantage of this.

Hints and Tips

  • Your package management system can be of great help in diagnosing and working around issues you find. Do read up and understand:

    • dnf downgrade

    • dnf history

    • dnf update --skip-broken

    • koji download-build

  • If you are using a immutable variant like Silverblue, you should make good use of the features of OSTree like:

    • rpm-ostree rollback

    • ostree admin config-diff

    • ostree admin pin 0

  • You should update frequently (preferably every day). This allows you to more easily narrow down when a problem or issue appeared. If you apply a week of Rawhide updates at once you have many more packages to examine to narrow down issues.

  • Reboot often (preferably whenever new kernels arrive). This allows you to test the boot up process and packages related to it, as well as newer kernels. Read and understand the Dracut troubleshooting steps.

  • Follow the test and devel lists for Rawhide issues. Try to at least skim them before doing your daily Rawhide updates. Look for '[rawhide]' subjects or reports of issues. Additionally if you find a problem and are not sure what to file bugs against you can open a discussion there.

  • Rawhide kernels are often built with varying degrees of debugging code enabled, which will result in worse performance and increased resource usage. See Kernel Debugging Strategy for details on exactly what debugging code is enabled for which kernel builds. You can disable SLUB debugging for those builds for which it is enabled by passing slub_debug=- to your kernel command line in /etc/default/grub (and re-generating your grub config, or just adding it directly). Additionally, you can run kernels in the Rawhide Kernel Nodebug repo that have all debugging disabled.

  • If you are using a graphical desktop environment in your Rawhide install, you may wish to install several of them. This allows you to still login and troubleshoot when your primary desktop environment is not working for some reason.

  • Have rescue media handy of the current stable Fedora release for emergencies.

History

Red Hat Linux "Raw Hide" announcement

The name might come from the song with the same name that starts with "Rolling, rolling, rolling, …​"

At one time, Rawhide would freeze before release milestones. This was changed with the No Frozen Rawhide Proposal and Branched process which we now follow.