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Why are they disabled?

Updating from the Testing repositories is not enabled by default, you can install from them but not update an existing package with one from Testing. The reason for that is simply because the software held within them is untested. Although the packagers usually do a good job of checking they haven't broken anything or caused problems elsewhere it simply hasn't been checked.

That is where the QA team comes in!

What do all the names mean?

You will probably notice that you have many more medias disabled than you have enabled.

Release media
These are the ones most of the packages we first install will come from. They contain all the packages as they were at the time of release.
Debug media
Debug media contains debug information of the various packages. We don't really need to worry about those, although they can be useful for helping to debug a package which is crashing, you do not generally need to be able to update from them, only to install from them.
Updates media
These contain all the updated packages which have passed QA validation and have been pushed (moved from one media to another) by the Syadmins.
Updates Testing media
These are some of the ones we are interested in. The Testing media hold updated packages awaiting QA validation. Packages stay in there until they are pushed into the relevant Updates media by the Sysadmin team.
Backports media
Backports are new versions of packages which don't really belong in the existing release. They can often bring new and wanted features but can also bring new and unwanted problems. Although they do go through a QA validation process they may conflict with other packages on the system and to a large extent remain unsupported.
Backports Testing media
This is where new backported packages are held until they have passed QA validation when they are moved into the relevant Backports media.

What do enabled and updates really mean here?

As you can see from the table above, updated packages are kept separately from the original set in the Release medias. The updated packages are kept in the Updates medias. For example Core Release and Core Updates. The packages in Core Updates are updated versions of the packages in Core Release.

In order to speed up the process of installing updates, only medias which are marked as containing updated packages are checked for newer versions of what you have installed. This is what is meant when a media is set as an Updates media.

There are also medias that most regular users will not want to use, like the Testing medias (which is where update candidates are built and tested before being pushed as updates) or the Debug medias (which contain technical debugging information required by debugging software like gdb). All these medias are added for you by default but only some are set to be used. Any medias Enabled will be used and any not enabled are ignored.

Which media to set as update medias

You should find that media named Updates are already enabled for updates, but you may need to set this on Nonfree Updates and Tainted Updates if is isn't already.

For our purposes in QA we need to be able to test updates from Updates Testing medias but we don't want them to initially be enabled as we only install the packages from Updates Testing medias we need to install to be able to test a particular update. You should not leave Updates Testing medias enabled all time.

The extra media to set as update media are:

  • Core Updates Testing
  • Nonfree Updates Testing
  • Tainted Updates Testing
  • Core 32bit Updates Testing (x86_64 Only)

You should not enable updates from Release media!

Enable them the easy way

A simple way to enable them is to use the expert switch as below:

drakrpm-edit-media --expert

Place a tick in the 'Updates' column next to the media's listed above. They should appear as in the image below, with the tick placed in the Updates column for the (Core, Nonfree, Tainted) Updates Testing medias.


Enable them the hard way

You can also use the command line and carefully edit /etc/urpmi/urpmi.cfg by hand, adding the update option to the testing repositories. You will need to edit urpmi.cfg as root so caution is advised.

Simply add the word update on a separate line within the relevant sections. Several sections should already have update, such as Core Updates, which should give you an idea what you need to do for the Testing sections.

For example:

Core\ Updates\ Testing  {
  key-ids: 80420f66
  mirrorlist: $MIRRORLIST
  with-dir: media/core/updates_testing

If you are in any doubt then make no alterations to the file!

Add them separately

You can also add separate Testing repositories manually from the command line and allow them to be selected for updates using the urpmi.addmedia command with the --update option.

The syntax to do so is:

urpmi.addmedia choose-a-name --update $PROTOCOL://$MIRROR/path/to/Mageia/$ARCH/media/$MEDIA/$REPOSITORY_testing

For example:

urpmi.addmedia CUTesting --update


urpmi.addmedia NFBTesting --update

Ensure you select the correct architecture for your installation. The name you choose to use is completely up to you. A list of Mageia mirrors can be found here.

How to use and disable them

Once you have enabled updates from Testing repositories they can be enabled or disabled using the Media Manager. You can access that as an option in rpmdrake or via the Mageia Control Centre, Configure Media Sources for Install and Update.

To call this from the command line use as root.

Alternately you can use the urpmi.update command as below:

To enable Core Updates Testing:
urpmi.update --no-ignore "Core Updates Testing"

To disable again:
urpmi.update --ignore "Core Updates Testing"

Don't forget to disable the media once you have installed the selected update for testing or during regular system updates everything from the enabled testing media will be installed.

To make this easier there are some useful aliases you can use.

Return to the QA portal