Nix: the package manager

Current version



Multi-user installation (recommended)

Install Nix via the recommended multi-user installation:

$ sh <(curl -L --daemon

We recommend the multi-user install if you are on Linux running systemd, with SELinux disabled and you can authenticate with sudo.

Single-user installation

Install Nix via the single-user installation:

$ sh <(curl -L --no-daemon

Above command will perform a single-user installation of Nix, meaning that /nix is owned by the invoking user. You should run this under your usual user account, not as root. The script will invoke sudo to create /nix if it doesn’t already exist.

Which type of installation should you choose?

This depends on your requirements, but here is a short list of reasons why we recommend multi-user installation:

  • Better build isolation (and that is what Nix is all about)
  • Better security (a build can not write somewhere in your home)
  • Sharing builds between users
  • Requires root to run the daemon
  • More involved installation (creation of nixbld* users, installing a systemd unit, ...
  • Harder to uninstall


Multi-user installation

Install Nix via the recommended multi-user installation:

$ sh <(curl -L

We believe we have ironed out how to cleanly support the read-only root on modern macOS. Please consult the manual on details what the installation script does.

Windows (WSL2)

Single-user installation

Install Nix via the single-user installation:

$ sh <(curl -L --no-daemon


Start a Docker shell with Nix:

$ docker run -it nixos/nix

Or start a Docker shell with Nix exposing a workdir directory:

$ mkdir workdir
$ docker run -it -v $(pwd)/workdir:/workdir nixos/nix

The workdir example from above can be also used to start hacking on nixpkgs:

$ git clone --depth=1
$ docker run -it -v $(pwd)/nixpkgs:/nixpkgs nixos/nix
docker> nix-build -I nixpkgs=/nixpkgs -A hello
docker> find ./result # this symlink points to the build package

NixOS: the Linux distribution

Current version


ISO image

You can install NixOS on physical hardware by burning one of the CD images onto a blank CD/DVD disk, or by copying it onto a USB stick. For installation instructions, please see the manual.

Graphical ISO image

The graphical installation ISO image contains the graphical NixOS installer as well as a Desktop Environment and several applications. It’s a live CD, so it allows you to get an impression of NixOS (and the Nix package manager) without installing it.

Note that while the image itself only comes in GNOME and Plasma variations, the included installer also allows installing various other desktops, or installing without a desktop.

Minimal ISO image

The minimal installation ISO image does not contain the graphical user interface, and is therefore a lot smaller. You have to run the installer from the console . It contains a number of rescue tools.


VirtualBox image includes the Plasma Desktop (was KDE) as well as the VirtualBox guest additions.

To use it

  • Download the OVA file using the button above.
  • Open VirtualBox.
  • Run File → Import Appliance from the menu.
  • Select previously downloaded OVA file.
  • Click Import.
  • You can then start the virtual machine.
  • You can log in as user demo, password demo.
  • To obtain a root shell, run sudo -i in the terminal (konsole).

Amazon EC2

NixOS can be deployed to Amazon EC2 with a pre-generated AMI image that you can select below.

Via AWS Management Console

You can create an instance using the AWS Management Console by selecting the region and clicking the Launch button.

Choose region:
Root storage Virtualisation AMI
EBS Hardware ami-0d937fc7bf7b8c2ed
EBS Hardware ami-020e59f6affef2732
EBS Hardware ami-04a7bd7a969506a87
EBS Hardware ami-007b9209171e2dcdd
EBS Hardware ami-0c4d0b584cd570584
EBS Hardware ami-02aa47f84c215d593
EBS Hardware ami-067a7fca4a01c4dda
EBS Hardware ami-0638db75ba113c635
EBS Hardware ami-08dcda749c59e8747
EBS Hardware ami-09b007688e369f794
EBS Hardware ami-05df1b211df600977
EBS Hardware ami-0427d0897b928e191
EBS Hardware ami-051beda489f0dd109
EBS Hardware ami-01aafe08a4e74bd9a
EBS Hardware ami-0c2090b73fc610ac3
EBS Hardware ami-0d03a150cf6c07022
EBS Hardware ami-0443b1af94bff9e3d
EBS Hardware ami-07b2ce95ba17b6bc1
EBS Hardware ami-0508167db03652cc4
EBS Hardware ami-0e41ac272a7d67029
EBS Hardware ami-02f3fb062ee9af563
EBS Hardware ami-06b260b3a958948a0

Via Command Line

You can also create an instance from the command line. For example, to create an instance in region eu-west-1 using the EC2 API tools, just run:

$ nix-shell -p ec2_api_tools
(nix-shell) $ ec2-run-instances ami-01aafe08a4e74bd9a --region eu-west-1 -k my-key-pair