Introduction

Nix is a purely functional package manager. This means that it treats packages like values in purely functional programming languages such as Haskell — they are built by functions that don’t have side-effects, and they never change after they have been built. Nix stores packages in the Nix store, usually the directory /nix/store, where each package has its own unique subdirectory such as

/nix/store/b6gvzjyb2pg0kjfwrjmg1vfhh54ad73z-firefox-33.1/

where b6gvzjyb2pg0… is a unique identifier for the package that captures all its dependencies (it’s a cryptographic hash of the package’s build dependency graph). This enables many powerful features.

Multiple versions

You can have multiple versions or variants of a package installed at the same time. This is especially important when different applications have dependencies on different versions of the same package — it prevents the “DLL hell”. Because of the hashing scheme, different versions of a package end up in different paths in the Nix store, so they don’t interfere with each other.

An important consequence is that operations like upgrading or uninstalling an application cannot break other applications, since these operations never “destructively” update or delete files that are used by other packages.

Complete dependencies

Nix helps you make sure that package dependency specifications are complete. In general, when you’re making a package for a package management system like RPM, you have to specify for each package what its dependencies are, but there are no guarantees that this specification is complete. If you forget a dependency, then the package will build and work correctly on your machine if you have the dependency installed, but not on the end user's machine if it's not there.

Since Nix on the other hand doesn’t install packages in “global” locations like /usr/bin but in package-specific directories, the risk of incomplete dependencies is greatly reduced. This is because tools such as compilers don’t search in per-packages directories such as /nix/store/5lbfaxb722zp…-openssl-0.9.8d/include, so if a package builds correctly on your system, this is because you specified the dependency explicitly. This takes care of the build-time dependencies.

Once a package is built, runtime dependencies are found by scanning binaries for the hash parts of Nix store paths (such as r8vvq9kq…). This sounds risky, but it works extremely well.

Multi-user support

Nix has multi-user support. This means that non-privileged users can securely install software. Each user can have a different profile, a set of packages in the Nix store that appear in the user’s PATH. If a user installs a package that another user has already installed previously, the package won’t be built or downloaded a second time. At the same time, it is not possible for one user to inject a Trojan horse into a package that might be used by another user.

Atomic upgrades and rollbacks

Since package management operations never overwrite packages in the Nix store but just add new versions in different paths, they are atomic. So during a package upgrade, there is no time window in which the package has some files from the old version and some files from the new version — which would be bad because a program might well crash if it’s started during that period.

And since packages aren’t overwritten, the old versions are still there after an upgrade. This means that you can roll back to the old version:

$ nix-env --upgrade some-packages
$ nix-env --rollback

Garbage collection

When you uninstall a package like this…

$ nix-env --uninstall firefox

the package isn’t deleted from the system right away (after all, you might want to do a rollback, or it might be in the profiles of other users). Instead, unused packages can be deleted safely by running the garbage collector:

$ nix-collect-garbage

This deletes all packages that aren’t in use by any user profile or by a currently running program.

Functional package language

Packages are built from Nix expressions, which is a simple functional language. A Nix expression describes everything that goes into a package build action (a “derivation”): other packages, sources, the build script, environment variables for the build script, etc. Nix tries very hard to ensure that Nix expressions are deterministic: building a Nix expression twice should yield the same result.

Because it’s a functional language, it’s easy to support building variants of a package: turn the Nix expression into a function and call it any number of times with the appropriate arguments. Due to the hashing scheme, variants don’t conflict with each other in the Nix store.

Transparent source/binary deployment

Nix expressions generally describe how to build a package from source, so an installation action like

$ nix-env --install firefox

could cause quite a bit of build activity, as not only Firefox but also all its dependencies (all the way up to the C library and the compiler) would have to built, at least if they are not already in the Nix store. This is a source deployment model. For most users, building from source is not very pleasant as it takes far too long. However, Nix can automatically skip building from source and instead use a binary cache, a web server that provides pre-built binaries. For instance, when asked to build /nix/store/b6gvzjyb2pg0…-firefox-33.1 from source, Nix would first check if the file https://cache.nixos.org/b6gvzjyb2pg0….narinfo exists, and if so, fetch the pre-built binary referenced from there; otherwise, it would fall back to building from source.

Nix Packages collection

We provide a large set of Nix expressions containing hundreds of existing Unix packages, the Nix Packages collection (Nixpkgs).

Managing build environments

Nix is extremely useful for developers as it makes it easy to automatically set up the build environment for a package. Given a Nix expression that describes the dependencies of your package, the command nix-shell will build or download those dependencies if they’re not already in your Nix store, and then start a Bash shell in which all necessary environment variables (such as compiler search paths) are set.

For example, the following command gets all dependencies of the Pan newsreader, as described by its Nix expression:

$ nix-shell '<nixpkgs>' -A pan

You’re then dropped into a shell where you can edit, build and test the package:

[nix-shell]$ unpackPhase
[nix-shell]$ cd pan-*
[nix-shell]$ configurePhase
[nix-shell]$ buildPhase
[nix-shell]$ ./pan/gui/pan

Portability

Nix runs on Linux and macOS.

NixOS

NixOS is a Linux distribution based on Nix. It uses Nix not just for package management but also to manage the system configuration (e.g., to build configuration files in /etc). This means, among other things, that it is easy to roll back the entire configuration of the system to an earlier state. Also, users can install software without root privileges. For more information and downloads, see the NixOS homepage.

License

Nix is released under the terms of the GNU LGPLv2.1 or (at your option) any later version.

Quick Start

This chapter is for impatient people who don't like reading documentation. For more in-depth information you are kindly referred to subsequent chapters.

  1. Install single-user Nix by running the following:

    $ bash <(curl -L https://nixos.org/nix/install)
    

    This will install Nix in /nix. The install script will create /nix using sudo, so make sure you have sufficient rights. (For other installation methods, see here.)

  2. See what installable packages are currently available in the channel:

    $ nix-env -qa
    docbook-xml-4.3
    docbook-xml-4.5
    firefox-33.0.2
    hello-2.9
    libxslt-1.1.28
    …
    
  3. Install some packages from the channel:

    $ nix-env -i hello
    

    This should download pre-built packages; it should not build them locally (if it does, something went wrong).

  4. Test that they work:

    $ which hello
    /home/eelco/.nix-profile/bin/hello
    $ hello
    Hello, world!
    
  5. Uninstall a package:

    $ nix-env -e hello
    
  6. You can also test a package without installing it:

    $ nix-shell -p hello
    

    This builds or downloads GNU Hello and its dependencies, then drops you into a Bash shell where the hello command is present, all without affecting your normal environment:

    [nix-shell:~]$ hello
    Hello, world!
    
    [nix-shell:~]$ exit
    
    $ hello
    hello: command not found
    
  7. To keep up-to-date with the channel, do:

    $ nix-channel --update nixpkgs
    $ nix-env -u '*'
    

    The latter command will upgrade each installed package for which there is a “newer” version (as determined by comparing the version numbers).

  8. If you're unhappy with the result of a nix-env action (e.g., an upgraded package turned out not to work properly), you can go back:

    $ nix-env --rollback
    
  9. You should periodically run the Nix garbage collector to get rid of unused packages, since uninstalls or upgrades don't actually delete them:

    $ nix-collect-garbage -d
    

This section describes how to install and configure Nix for first-time use.

Supported Platforms

Nix is currently supported on the following platforms:

  • Linux (i686, x86_64, aarch64).

  • macOS (x86_64).

Installing a Binary Distribution

The easiest way to install Nix is to run the following command:

$ sh <(curl -L https://nixos.org/nix/install)

This will run the installer interactively (causing it to explain what it is doing more explicitly), and perform the default "type" of install for your platform:

  • single-user on Linux

  • multi-user on macOS

    Notes on read-only filesystem root in macOS 10.15 Catalina +

    • It took some time to support this cleanly. You may see posts, examples, and tutorials using obsolete workarounds.
    • Supporting it cleanly made macOS installs too complex to qualify as single-user, so this type is no longer supported on macOS.

We recommend the multi-user install if it supports your platform and you can authenticate with sudo.

Single User Installation

To explicitly select a single-user installation on your system:

$ sh <(curl -L https://nixos.org/nix/install) --no-daemon

This 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. If you don’t have sudo, you should manually create /nix first as root, e.g.:

$ mkdir /nix
$ chown alice /nix

The install script will modify the first writable file from amongst .bash_profile, .bash_login and .profile to source ~/.nix-profile/etc/profile.d/nix.sh. You can set the NIX_INSTALLER_NO_MODIFY_PROFILE environment variable before executing the install script to disable this behaviour.

You can uninstall Nix simply by running:

$ rm -rf /nix

Multi User Installation

The multi-user Nix installation creates system users, and a system service for the Nix daemon.

Supported Systems

  • Linux running systemd, with SELinux disabled
  • macOS

You can instruct the installer to perform a multi-user installation on your system:

$ sh <(curl -L https://nixos.org/nix/install) --daemon

The multi-user installation of Nix will create build users between the user IDs 30001 and 30032, and a group with the group ID 30000. You should run this under your usual user account, not as root. The script will invoke sudo as needed.

Note

If you need Nix to use a different group ID or user ID set, you will have to download the tarball manually and edit the install script.

The installer will modify /etc/bashrc, and /etc/zshrc if they exist. The installer will first back up these files with a .backup-before-nix extension. The installer will also create /etc/profile.d/nix.sh.

You can uninstall Nix with the following commands:

sudo rm -rf /etc/profile/nix.sh /etc/nix /nix ~root/.nix-profile ~root/.nix-defexpr ~root/.nix-channels ~/.nix-profile ~/.nix-defexpr ~/.nix-channels

# If you are on Linux with systemd, you will need to run:
sudo systemctl stop nix-daemon.socket
sudo systemctl stop nix-daemon.service
sudo systemctl disable nix-daemon.socket
sudo systemctl disable nix-daemon.service
sudo systemctl daemon-reload

# If you are on macOS, you will need to run:
sudo launchctl unload /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.nixos.nix-daemon.plist
sudo rm /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.nixos.nix-daemon.plist

There may also be references to Nix in /etc/profile, /etc/bashrc, and /etc/zshrc which you may remove.

macOS Installation

We believe we have ironed out how to cleanly support the read-only root on modern macOS. New installs will do this automatically, and you can also re-run a new installer to convert your existing setup.

This section previously detailed the situation, options, and trade-offs, but it now only outlines what the installer does. You don't need to know this to run the installer, but it may help if you run into trouble:

  • create a new APFS volume for your Nix store
  • update /etc/synthetic.conf to direct macOS to create a "synthetic" empty root directory to mount your volume
  • specify mount options for the volume in /etc/fstab
  • if you have FileVault enabled
    • generate an encryption password
    • put it in your system Keychain
    • use it to encrypt the volume
  • create a system LaunchDaemon to mount this volume early enough in the boot process to avoid problems loading or restoring any programs that need access to your Nix store

Installing a pinned Nix version from a URL

NixOS.org hosts version-specific installation URLs for all Nix versions since 1.11.16, at https://releases.nixos.org/nix/nix-version/install.

These install scripts can be used the same as the main NixOS.org installation script:

$ sh <(curl -L https://nixos.org/nix/install)

In the same directory of the install script are sha256 sums, and gpg signature files.

Installing from a binary tarball

You can also download a binary tarball that contains Nix and all its dependencies. (This is what the install script at https://nixos.org/nix/install does automatically.) You should unpack it somewhere (e.g. in /tmp), and then run the script named install inside the binary tarball:

$ cd /tmp
$ tar xfj nix-1.8-x86_64-darwin.tar.bz2
$ cd nix-1.8-x86_64-darwin
$ ./install

If you need to edit the multi-user installation script to use different group ID or a different user ID range, modify the variables set in the file named install-multi-user.

Installing Nix from Source

If no binary package is available, you can download and compile a source distribution.

Prerequisites

  • GNU Autoconf (https://www.gnu.org/software/autoconf/) and the autoconf-archive macro collection (https://www.gnu.org/software/autoconf-archive/). These are only needed to run the bootstrap script, and are not necessary if your source distribution came with a pre-built ./configure script.

  • GNU Make.

  • Bash Shell. The ./configure script relies on bashisms, so Bash is required.

  • A version of GCC or Clang that supports C++17.

  • pkg-config to locate dependencies. If your distribution does not provide it, you can get it from http://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software/pkg-config.

  • The OpenSSL library to calculate cryptographic hashes. If your distribution does not provide it, you can get it from https://www.openssl.org.

  • The libbrotlienc and libbrotlidec libraries to provide implementation of the Brotli compression algorithm. They are available for download from the official repository https://github.com/google/brotli.

  • cURL and its library. If your distribution does not provide it, you can get it from https://curl.haxx.se/.

  • The SQLite embedded database library, version 3.6.19 or higher. If your distribution does not provide it, please install it from http://www.sqlite.org/.

  • The Boehm garbage collector to reduce the evaluator’s memory consumption (optional). To enable it, install pkgconfig and the Boehm garbage collector, and pass the flag --enable-gc to configure.

  • The boost library of version 1.66.0 or higher. It can be obtained from the official web site https://www.boost.org/.

  • The editline library of version 1.14.0 or higher. It can be obtained from the its repository https://github.com/troglobit/editline.

  • Recent versions of Bison and Flex to build the parser. (This is because Nix needs GLR support in Bison and reentrancy support in Flex.) For Bison, you need version 2.6, which can be obtained from the GNU FTP server. For Flex, you need version 2.5.35, which is available on SourceForge. Slightly older versions may also work, but ancient versions like the ubiquitous 2.5.4a won't. Note that these are only required if you modify the parser or when you are building from the Git repository.

  • The libseccomp is used to provide syscall filtering on Linux. This is an optional dependency and can be disabled passing a --disable-seccomp-sandboxing option to the configure script (Not recommended unless your system doesn't support libseccomp). To get the library, visit https://github.com/seccomp/libseccomp.

Obtaining a Source Distribution

The source tarball of the most recent stable release can be downloaded from the Nix homepage. You can also grab the most recent development release.

Alternatively, the most recent sources of Nix can be obtained from its Git repository. For example, the following command will check out the latest revision into a directory called nix:

$ git clone https://github.com/NixOS/nix

Likewise, specific releases can be obtained from the tags of the repository.

Building Nix from Source

After unpacking or checking out the Nix sources, issue the following commands:

$ ./configure options...
$ make
$ make install

Nix requires GNU Make so you may need to invoke gmake instead.

When building from the Git repository, these should be preceded by the command:

$ ./bootstrap.sh

The installation path can be specified by passing the --prefix=prefix to configure. The default installation directory is /usr/local. You can change this to any location you like. You must have write permission to the prefix path.

Nix keeps its store (the place where packages are stored) in /nix/store by default. This can be changed using --with-store-dir=path.

Warning

It is best not to change the Nix store from its default, since doing so makes it impossible to use pre-built binaries from the standard Nixpkgs channels — that is, all packages will need to be built from source.

Nix keeps state (such as its database and log files) in /nix/var by default. This can be changed using --localstatedir=path.

Security

Nix has two basic security models. First, it can be used in “single-user mode”, which is similar to what most other package management tools do: there is a single user (typically root) who performs all package management operations. All other users can then use the installed packages, but they cannot perform package management operations themselves.

Alternatively, you can configure Nix in “multi-user mode”. In this model, all users can perform package management operations — for instance, every user can install software without requiring root privileges. Nix ensures that this is secure. For instance, it’s not possible for one user to overwrite a package used by another user with a Trojan horse.

Single-User Mode

In single-user mode, all Nix operations that access the database in prefix/var/nix/db or modify the Nix store in prefix/store must be performed under the user ID that owns those directories. This is typically root. (If you install from RPM packages, that’s in fact the default ownership.) However, on single-user machines, it is often convenient to chown those directories to your normal user account so that you don’t have to su to root all the time.

Multi-User Mode

To allow a Nix store to be shared safely among multiple users, it is important that users are not able to run builders that modify the Nix store or database in arbitrary ways, or that interfere with builds started by other users. If they could do so, they could install a Trojan horse in some package and compromise the accounts of other users.

To prevent this, the Nix store and database are owned by some privileged user (usually root) and builders are executed under special user accounts (usually named nixbld1, nixbld2, etc.). When a unprivileged user runs a Nix command, actions that operate on the Nix store (such as builds) are forwarded to a Nix daemon running under the owner of the Nix store/database that performs the operation.

Note

Multi-user mode has one important limitation: only root and a set of trusted users specified in nix.conf can specify arbitrary binary caches. So while unprivileged users may install packages from arbitrary Nix expressions, they may not get pre-built binaries.

Setting up the build users

The build users are the special UIDs under which builds are performed. They should all be members of the build users group nixbld. This group should have no other members. The build users should not be members of any other group. On Linux, you can create the group and users as follows:

$ groupadd -r nixbld
$ for n in $(seq 1 10); do useradd -c "Nix build user $n" \
    -d /var/empty -g nixbld -G nixbld -M -N -r -s "$(which nologin)" \
    nixbld$n; done

This creates 10 build users. There can never be more concurrent builds than the number of build users, so you may want to increase this if you expect to do many builds at the same time.

Running the daemon

The Nix daemon should be started as follows (as root):

$ nix-daemon

You’ll want to put that line somewhere in your system’s boot scripts.

To let unprivileged users use the daemon, they should set the NIX_REMOTE environment variable to daemon. So you should put a line like

export NIX_REMOTE=daemon

into the users’ login scripts.

Restricting access

To limit which users can perform Nix operations, you can use the permissions on the directory /nix/var/nix/daemon-socket. For instance, if you want to restrict the use of Nix to the members of a group called nix-users, do

$ chgrp nix-users /nix/var/nix/daemon-socket
$ chmod ug=rwx,o= /nix/var/nix/daemon-socket

This way, users who are not in the nix-users group cannot connect to the Unix domain socket /nix/var/nix/daemon-socket/socket, so they cannot perform Nix operations.

Environment Variables

To use Nix, some environment variables should be set. In particular, PATH should contain the directories prefix/bin and ~/.nix-profile/bin. The first directory contains the Nix tools themselves, while ~/.nix-profile is a symbolic link to the current user environment (an automatically generated package consisting of symlinks to installed packages). The simplest way to set the required environment variables is to include the file prefix/etc/profile.d/nix.sh in your ~/.profile (or similar), like this:

source prefix/etc/profile.d/nix.sh

NIX_SSL_CERT_FILE

If you need to specify a custom certificate bundle to account for an HTTPS-intercepting man in the middle proxy, you must specify the path to the certificate bundle in the environment variable NIX_SSL_CERT_FILE.

If you don't specify a NIX_SSL_CERT_FILE manually, Nix will install and use its own certificate bundle.

Set the environment variable and install Nix

$ export NIX_SSL_CERT_FILE=/etc/ssl/my-certificate-bundle.crt
$ sh <(curl -L https://nixos.org/nix/install)

In the shell profile and rc files (for example, /etc/bashrc, /etc/zshrc), add the following line:

export NIX_SSL_CERT_FILE=/etc/ssl/my-certificate-bundle.crt

Note

You must not add the export and then do the install, as the Nix installer will detect the presense of Nix configuration, and abort.

NIX_SSL_CERT_FILE with macOS and the Nix daemon

On macOS you must specify the environment variable for the Nix daemon service, then restart it:

$ sudo launchctl setenv NIX_SSL_CERT_FILE /etc/ssl/my-certificate-bundle.crt
$ sudo launchctl kickstart -k system/org.nixos.nix-daemon

Proxy Environment Variables

The Nix installer has special handling for these proxy-related environment variables: http_proxy, https_proxy, ftp_proxy, no_proxy, HTTP_PROXY, HTTPS_PROXY, FTP_PROXY, NO_PROXY.

If any of these variables are set when running the Nix installer, then the installer will create an override file at /etc/systemd/system/nix-daemon.service.d/override.conf so nix-daemon will use them.

Upgrading Nix

Multi-user Nix users on macOS can upgrade Nix by running: sudo -i sh -c 'nix-channel --update && nix-env -iA nixpkgs.nix && launchctl remove org.nixos.nix-daemon && launchctl load /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.nixos.nix-daemon.plist'

Single-user installations of Nix should run this: nix-channel --update; nix-env -iA nixpkgs.nix nixpkgs.cacert

Multi-user Nix users on Linux should run this with sudo: nix-channel --update; nix-env -iA nixpkgs.nix nixpkgs.cacert; systemctl daemon-reload; systemctl restart nix-daemon

This chapter discusses how to do package management with Nix, i.e., how to obtain, install, upgrade, and erase packages. This is the “user’s” perspective of the Nix system — people who want to create packages should consult the chapter on writing Nix expressions.

Basic Package Management

The main command for package management is nix-env. You can use it to install, upgrade, and erase packages, and to query what packages are installed or are available for installation.

In Nix, different users can have different “views” on the set of installed applications. That is, there might be lots of applications present on the system (possibly in many different versions), but users can have a specific selection of those active — where “active” just means that it appears in a directory in the user’s PATH. Such a view on the set of installed applications is called a user environment, which is just a directory tree consisting of symlinks to the files of the active applications.

Components are installed from a set of Nix expressions that tell Nix how to build those packages, including, if necessary, their dependencies. There is a collection of Nix expressions called the Nixpkgs package collection that contains packages ranging from basic development stuff such as GCC and Glibc, to end-user applications like Mozilla Firefox. (Nix is however not tied to the Nixpkgs package collection; you could write your own Nix expressions based on Nixpkgs, or completely new ones.)

You can manually download the latest version of Nixpkgs from http://nixos.org/nixpkgs/download.html. However, it’s much more convenient to use the Nixpkgs channel, since it makes it easy to stay up to date with new versions of Nixpkgs. Nixpkgs is automatically added to your list of “subscribed” channels when you install Nix. If this is not the case for some reason, you can add it as follows:

$ nix-channel --add https://nixos.org/channels/nixpkgs-unstable
$ nix-channel --update

Note

On NixOS, you’re automatically subscribed to a NixOS channel corresponding to your NixOS major release (e.g. http://nixos.org/channels/nixos-14.12). A NixOS channel is identical to the Nixpkgs channel, except that it contains only Linux binaries and is updated only if a set of regression tests succeed.

You can view the set of available packages in Nixpkgs:

$ nix-env -qa
aterm-2.2
bash-3.0
binutils-2.15
bison-1.875d
blackdown-1.4.2
bzip2-1.0.2
…

The flag -q specifies a query operation, and -a means that you want to show the “available” (i.e., installable) packages, as opposed to the installed packages. If you downloaded Nixpkgs yourself, or if you checked it out from GitHub, then you need to pass the path to your Nixpkgs tree using the -f flag:

$ nix-env -qaf /path/to/nixpkgs

where /path/to/nixpkgs is where you’ve unpacked or checked out Nixpkgs.

You can select specific packages by name:

$ nix-env -qa firefox
firefox-34.0.5
firefox-with-plugins-34.0.5

and using regular expressions:

$ nix-env -qa 'firefox.*'

It is also possible to see the status of available packages, i.e., whether they are installed into the user environment and/or present in the system:

$ nix-env -qas
…
-PS bash-3.0
--S binutils-2.15
IPS bison-1.875d
…

The first character (I) indicates whether the package is installed in your current user environment. The second (P) indicates whether it is present on your system (in which case installing it into your user environment would be a very quick operation). The last one (S) indicates whether there is a so-called substitute for the package, which is Nix’s mechanism for doing binary deployment. It just means that Nix knows that it can fetch a pre-built package from somewhere (typically a network server) instead of building it locally.

You can install a package using nix-env -i. For instance,

$ nix-env -i subversion

will install the package called subversion (which is, of course, the Subversion version management system).

Note

When you ask Nix to install a package, it will first try to get it in pre-compiled form from a binary cache. By default, Nix will use the binary cache https://cache.nixos.org; it contains binaries for most packages in Nixpkgs. Only if no binary is available in the binary cache, Nix will build the package from source. So if nix-env -i subversion results in Nix building stuff from source, then either the package is not built for your platform by the Nixpkgs build servers, or your version of Nixpkgs is too old or too new. For instance, if you have a very recent checkout of Nixpkgs, then the Nixpkgs build servers may not have had a chance to build everything and upload the resulting binaries to https://cache.nixos.org. The Nixpkgs channel is only updated after all binaries have been uploaded to the cache, so if you stick to the Nixpkgs channel (rather than using a Git checkout of the Nixpkgs tree), you will get binaries for most packages.

Naturally, packages can also be uninstalled:

$ nix-env -e subversion

Upgrading to a new version is just as easy. If you have a new release of Nix Packages, you can do:

$ nix-env -u subversion

This will only upgrade Subversion if there is a “newer” version in the new set of Nix expressions, as defined by some pretty arbitrary rules regarding ordering of version numbers (which generally do what you’d expect of them). To just unconditionally replace Subversion with whatever version is in the Nix expressions, use -i instead of -u; -i will remove whatever version is already installed.

You can also upgrade all packages for which there are newer versions:

$ nix-env -u

Sometimes it’s useful to be able to ask what nix-env would do, without actually doing it. For instance, to find out what packages would be upgraded by nix-env -u, you can do

$ nix-env -u --dry-run
(dry run; not doing anything)
upgrading `libxslt-1.1.0' to `libxslt-1.1.10'
upgrading `graphviz-1.10' to `graphviz-1.12'
upgrading `coreutils-5.0' to `coreutils-5.2.1'

Profiles

Profiles and user environments are Nix’s mechanism for implementing the ability to allow different users to have different configurations, and to do atomic upgrades and rollbacks. To understand how they work, it’s useful to know a bit about how Nix works. In Nix, packages are stored in unique locations in the Nix store (typically, /nix/store). For instance, a particular version of the Subversion package might be stored in a directory /nix/store/dpmvp969yhdqs7lm2r1a3gng7pyq6vy4-subversion-1.1.3/, while another version might be stored in /nix/store/5mq2jcn36ldlmh93yj1n8s9c95pj7c5s-subversion-1.1.2. The long strings prefixed to the directory names are cryptographic hashes (to be precise, 160-bit truncations of SHA-256 hashes encoded in a base-32 notation) of all inputs involved in building the package — sources, dependencies, compiler flags, and so on. So if two packages differ in any way, they end up in different locations in the file system, so they don’t interfere with each other. Here is what a part of a typical Nix store looks like:

Of course, you wouldn’t want to type

$ /nix/store/dpmvp969yhdq...-subversion-1.1.3/bin/svn

every time you want to run Subversion. Of course we could set up the PATH environment variable to include the bin directory of every package we want to use, but this is not very convenient since changing PATH doesn’t take effect for already existing processes. The solution Nix uses is to create directory trees of symlinks to activated packages. These are called user environments and they are packages themselves (though automatically generated by nix-env), so they too reside in the Nix store. For instance, in the figure above, the user environment /nix/store/0c1p5z4kda11...-user-env contains a symlink to just Subversion 1.1.2 (arrows in the figure indicate symlinks). This would be what we would obtain if we had done

$ nix-env -i subversion

on a set of Nix expressions that contained Subversion 1.1.2.

This doesn’t in itself solve the problem, of course; you wouldn’t want to type /nix/store/0c1p5z4kda11...-user-env/bin/svn either. That’s why there are symlinks outside of the store that point to the user environments in the store; for instance, the symlinks default-42-link and default-43-link in the example. These are called generations since every time you perform a nix-env operation, a new user environment is generated based on the current one. For instance, generation 43 was created from generation 42 when we did

$ nix-env -i subversion firefox

on a set of Nix expressions that contained Firefox and a new version of Subversion.

Generations are grouped together into profiles so that different users don’t interfere with each other if they don’t want to. For example:

$ ls -l /nix/var/nix/profiles/
...
lrwxrwxrwx  1 eelco ... default-42-link -> /nix/store/0c1p5z4kda11...-user-env
lrwxrwxrwx  1 eelco ... default-43-link -> /nix/store/3aw2pdyx2jfc...-user-env
lrwxrwxrwx  1 eelco ... default -> default-43-link

This shows a profile called default. The file default itself is actually a symlink that points to the current generation. When we do a nix-env operation, a new user environment and generation link are created based on the current one, and finally the default symlink is made to point at the new generation. This last step is atomic on Unix, which explains how we can do atomic upgrades. (Note that the building/installing of new packages doesn’t interfere in any way with old packages, since they are stored in different locations in the Nix store.)

If you find that you want to undo a nix-env operation, you can just do

$ nix-env --rollback

which will just make the current generation link point at the previous link. E.g., default would be made to point at default-42-link. You can also switch to a specific generation:

$ nix-env --switch-generation 43

which in this example would roll forward to generation 43 again. You can also see all available generations:

$ nix-env --list-generations

You generally wouldn’t have /nix/var/nix/profiles/some-profile/bin in your PATH. Rather, there is a symlink ~/.nix-profile that points to your current profile. This means that you should put ~/.nix-profile/bin in your PATH (and indeed, that’s what the initialisation script /nix/etc/profile.d/nix.sh does). This makes it easier to switch to a different profile. You can do that using the command nix-env --switch-profile:

$ nix-env --switch-profile /nix/var/nix/profiles/my-profile

$ nix-env --switch-profile /nix/var/nix/profiles/default

These commands switch to the my-profile and default profile, respectively. If the profile doesn’t exist, it will be created automatically. You should be careful about storing a profile in another location than the profiles directory, since otherwise it might not be used as a root of the garbage collector.

All nix-env operations work on the profile pointed to by ~/.nix-profile, but you can override this using the --profile option (abbreviation -p):

$ nix-env -p /nix/var/nix/profiles/other-profile -i subversion

This will not change the ~/.nix-profile symlink.

Garbage Collection

nix-env operations such as upgrades (-u) and uninstall (-e) never actually delete packages from the system. All they do (as shown above) is to create a new user environment that no longer contains symlinks to the “deleted” packages.

Of course, since disk space is not infinite, unused packages should be removed at some point. You can do this by running the Nix garbage collector. It will remove from the Nix store any package not used (directly or indirectly) by any generation of any profile.

Note however that as long as old generations reference a package, it will not be deleted. After all, we wouldn’t be able to do a rollback otherwise. So in order for garbage collection to be effective, you should also delete (some) old generations. Of course, this should only be done if you are certain that you will not need to roll back.

To delete all old (non-current) generations of your current profile:

$ nix-env --delete-generations old

Instead of old you can also specify a list of generations, e.g.,

$ nix-env --delete-generations 10 11 14

To delete all generations older than a specified number of days (except the current generation), use the d suffix. For example,

$ nix-env --delete-generations 14d

deletes all generations older than two weeks.

After removing appropriate old generations you can run the garbage collector as follows:

$ nix-store --gc

The behaviour of the gargage collector is affected by the keep-derivations (default: true) and keep-outputs (default: false) options in the Nix configuration file. The defaults will ensure that all derivations that are build-time dependencies of garbage collector roots will be kept and that all output paths that are runtime dependencies will be kept as well. All other derivations or paths will be collected. (This is usually what you want, but while you are developing it may make sense to keep outputs to ensure that rebuild times are quick.) If you are feeling uncertain, you can also first view what files would be deleted:

$ nix-store --gc --print-dead

Likewise, the option --print-live will show the paths that won’t be deleted.

There is also a convenient little utility nix-collect-garbage, which when invoked with the -d (--delete-old) switch deletes all old generations of all profiles in /nix/var/nix/profiles. So

$ nix-collect-garbage -d

is a quick and easy way to clean up your system.

Garbage Collector Roots

The roots of the garbage collector are all store paths to which there are symlinks in the directory prefix/nix/var/nix/gcroots. For instance, the following command makes the path /nix/store/d718ef...-foo a root of the collector:

$ ln -s /nix/store/d718ef...-foo /nix/var/nix/gcroots/bar

That is, after this command, the garbage collector will not remove /nix/store/d718ef...-foo or any of its dependencies.

Subdirectories of prefix/nix/var/nix/gcroots are also searched for symlinks. Symlinks to non-store paths are followed and searched for roots, but symlinks to non-store paths inside the paths reached in that way are not followed to prevent infinite recursion.

Channels

If you want to stay up to date with a set of packages, it’s not very convenient to manually download the latest set of Nix expressions for those packages and upgrade using nix-env. Fortunately, there’s a better way: Nix channels.

A Nix channel is just a URL that points to a place that contains a set of Nix expressions and a manifest. Using the command nix-channel you can automatically stay up to date with whatever is available at that URL.

To see the list of official NixOS channels, visit https://nixos.org/channels.

You can “subscribe” to a channel using nix-channel --add, e.g.,

$ nix-channel --add https://nixos.org/channels/nixpkgs-unstable

subscribes you to a channel that always contains that latest version of the Nix Packages collection. (Subscribing really just means that the URL is added to the file ~/.nix-channels, where it is read by subsequent calls to nix-channel --update.) You can “unsubscribe” using nix-channel --remove:

$ nix-channel --remove nixpkgs

To obtain the latest Nix expressions available in a channel, do

$ nix-channel --update

This downloads and unpacks the Nix expressions in every channel (downloaded from url/nixexprs.tar.bz2). It also makes the union of each channel’s Nix expressions available by default to nix-env operations (via the symlink ~/.nix-defexpr/channels). Consequently, you can then say

$ nix-env -u

to upgrade all packages in your profile to the latest versions available in the subscribed channels.

Sharing Packages Between Machines

Sometimes you want to copy a package from one machine to another. Or, you want to install some packages and you know that another machine already has some or all of those packages or their dependencies. In that case there are mechanisms to quickly copy packages between machines.

Serving a Nix store via HTTP

You can easily share the Nix store of a machine via HTTP. This allows other machines to fetch store paths from that machine to speed up installations. It uses the same binary cache mechanism that Nix usually uses to fetch pre-built binaries from https://cache.nixos.org.

The daemon that handles binary cache requests via HTTP, nix-serve, is not part of the Nix distribution, but you can install it from Nixpkgs:

$ nix-env -i nix-serve

You can then start the server, listening for HTTP connections on whatever port you like:

$ nix-serve -p 8080

To check whether it works, try the following on the client:

$ curl http://avalon:8080/nix-cache-info

which should print something like:

StoreDir: /nix/store
WantMassQuery: 1
Priority: 30

On the client side, you can tell Nix to use your binary cache using --option extra-binary-caches, e.g.:

$ nix-env -i firefox --option extra-binary-caches http://avalon:8080/

The option extra-binary-caches tells Nix to use this binary cache in addition to your default caches, such as https://cache.nixos.org. Thus, for any path in the closure of Firefox, Nix will first check if the path is available on the server avalon or another binary caches. If not, it will fall back to building from source.

You can also tell Nix to always use your binary cache by adding a line to the nix.conf configuration file like this:

binary-caches = http://avalon:8080/ https://cache.nixos.org/

Copying Closures via SSH

The command nix-copy-closure copies a Nix store path along with all its dependencies to or from another machine via the SSH protocol. It doesn’t copy store paths that are already present on the target machine. For example, the following command copies Firefox with all its dependencies:

$ nix-copy-closure --to alice@itchy.example.org $(type -p firefox)

See the manpage for nix-copy-closure for details.

With nix-store --export and nix-store --import you can write the closure of a store path (that is, the path and all its dependencies) to a file, and then unpack that file into another Nix store. For example,

$ nix-store --export $(nix-store -qR $(type -p firefox)) > firefox.closure

writes the closure of Firefox to a file. You can then copy this file to another machine and install the closure:

$ nix-store --import < firefox.closure

Any store paths in the closure that are already present in the target store are ignored. It is also possible to pipe the export into another command, e.g. to copy and install a closure directly to/on another machine:

$ nix-store --export $(nix-store -qR $(type -p firefox)) | bzip2 | \
    ssh alice@itchy.example.org "bunzip2 | nix-store --import"

However, nix-copy-closure is generally more efficient because it only copies paths that are not already present in the target Nix store.

Serving a Nix store via SSH

You can tell Nix to automatically fetch needed binaries from a remote Nix store via SSH. For example, the following installs Firefox, automatically fetching any store paths in Firefox’s closure if they are available on the server avalon:

$ nix-env -i firefox --substituters ssh://alice@avalon

This works similar to the binary cache substituter that Nix usually uses, only using SSH instead of HTTP: if a store path P is needed, Nix will first check if it’s available in the Nix store on avalon. If not, it will fall back to using the binary cache substituter, and then to building from source.

Note

The SSH substituter currently does not allow you to enter an SSH passphrase interactively. Therefore, you should use ssh-add to load the decrypted private key into ssh-agent.

You can also copy the closure of some store path, without installing it into your profile, e.g.

$ nix-store -r /nix/store/m85bxg…-firefox-34.0.5 --substituters
ssh://alice@avalon

This is essentially equivalent to doing

$ nix-copy-closure --from alice@avalon
/nix/store/m85bxg…-firefox-34.0.5

You can use SSH’s forced command feature to set up a restricted user account for SSH substituter access, allowing read-only access to the local Nix store, but nothing more. For example, add the following lines to sshd_config to restrict the user nix-ssh:

Match User nix-ssh
  AllowAgentForwarding no
  AllowTcpForwarding no
  PermitTTY no
  PermitTunnel no
  X11Forwarding no
  ForceCommand nix-store --serve
Match All

On NixOS, you can accomplish the same by adding the following to your configuration.nix:

nix.sshServe.enable = true;
nix.sshServe.keys = [ "ssh-dss AAAAB3NzaC1k... bob@example.org" ];

where the latter line lists the public keys of users that are allowed to connect.

Serving a Nix store via S3

Nix has built-in support for storing and fetching store paths from Amazon S3 and S3-compatible services. This uses the same binary cache mechanism that Nix usually uses to fetch prebuilt binaries from cache.nixos.org.

The following options can be specified as URL parameters to the S3 URL:

  • profile
    The name of the AWS configuration profile to use. By default Nix will use the default profile.

  • region
    The region of the S3 bucket. us–east-1 by default.

    If your bucket is not in us–east-1, you should always explicitly specify the region parameter.

  • endpoint
    The URL to your S3-compatible service, for when not using Amazon S3. Do not specify this value if you're using Amazon S3.

    Note

    This endpoint must support HTTPS and will use path-based addressing instead of virtual host based addressing.

  • scheme
    The scheme used for S3 requests, https (default) or http. This option allows you to disable HTTPS for binary caches which don't support it.

    Note

    HTTPS should be used if the cache might contain sensitive information.

In this example we will use the bucket named example-nix-cache.

Anonymous Reads to your S3-compatible binary cache

If your binary cache is publicly accessible and does not require authentication, the simplest and easiest way to use Nix with your S3 compatible binary cache is to use the HTTP URL for that cache.

For AWS S3 the binary cache URL for example bucket will be exactly https://example-nix-cache.s3.amazonaws.com or s3://example-nix-cache. For S3 compatible binary caches, consult that cache's documentation.

Your bucket will need the following bucket policy:

{
    "Id": "DirectReads",
    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Statement": [
        {
            "Sid": "AllowDirectReads",
            "Action": [
                "s3:GetObject",
                "s3:GetBucketLocation"
            ],
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Resource": [
                "arn:aws:s3:::example-nix-cache",
                "arn:aws:s3:::example-nix-cache/*"
            ],
            "Principal": "*"
        }
    ]
}

Authenticated Reads to your S3 binary cache

For AWS S3 the binary cache URL for example bucket will be exactly s3://example-nix-cache.

Nix will use the default credential provider chain for authenticating requests to Amazon S3.

Nix supports authenticated reads from Amazon S3 and S3 compatible binary caches.

Your bucket will need a bucket policy allowing the desired users to perform the s3:GetObject and s3:GetBucketLocation action on all objects in the bucket. The anonymous policy given above can be updated to have a restricted Principal to support this.

Authenticated Writes to your S3-compatible binary cache

Nix support fully supports writing to Amazon S3 and S3 compatible buckets. The binary cache URL for our example bucket will be s3://example-nix-cache.

Nix will use the default credential provider chain for authenticating requests to Amazon S3.

Your account will need the following IAM policy to upload to the cache:

{
  "Version": "2012-10-17",
  "Statement": [
    {
      "Sid": "UploadToCache",
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Action": [
        "s3:AbortMultipartUpload",
        "s3:GetBucketLocation",
        "s3:GetObject",
        "s3:ListBucket",
        "s3:ListBucketMultipartUploads",
        "s3:ListMultipartUploadParts",
        "s3:PutObject"
      ],
      "Resource": [
        "arn:aws:s3:::example-nix-cache",
        "arn:aws:s3:::example-nix-cache/*"
      ]
    }
  ]
}

Examples

To upload with a specific credential profile for Amazon S3:

$ nix copy nixpkgs.hello \
  --to 's3://example-nix-cache?profile=cache-upload&region=eu-west-2'

To upload to an S3-compatible binary cache:

$ nix copy nixpkgs.hello --to \
  's3://example-nix-cache?profile=cache-upload&scheme=https&endpoint=minio.example.com'

This chapter shows you how to write Nix expressions, which instruct Nix how to build packages. It starts with a simple example (a Nix expression for GNU Hello), and then moves on to a more in-depth look at the Nix expression language.

Note

This chapter is mostly about the Nix expression language. For more extensive information on adding packages to the Nix Packages collection (such as functions in the standard environment and coding conventions), please consult its manual.

A Simple Nix Expression

This section shows how to add and test the GNU Hello package to the Nix Packages collection. Hello is a program that prints out the text “Hello, world!”.

To add a package to the Nix Packages collection, you generally need to do three things:

  1. Write a Nix expression for the package. This is a file that describes all the inputs involved in building the package, such as dependencies, sources, and so on.

  2. Write a builder. This is a shell script that builds the package from the inputs. (In fact, it can be written in any language, but typically it's a bash shell script.)

  3. Add the package to the file pkgs/top-level/all-packages.nix. The Nix expression written in the first step is a function; it requires other packages in order to build it. In this step you put it all together, i.e., you call the function with the right arguments to build the actual package.

Expression Syntax

Here is a Nix expression for GNU Hello:

{ stdenv, fetchurl, perl }: ①

stdenv.mkDerivation { ②
  name = "hello-2.1.1"; ③
  builder = ./builder.sh; ④
  src = fetchurl { ⑤
    url = "ftp://ftp.nluug.nl/pub/gnu/hello/hello-2.1.1.tar.gz";
    sha256 = "1md7jsfd8pa45z73bz1kszpp01yw6x5ljkjk2hx7wl800any6465";
  };
  inherit perl; ⑥
}

This file is actually already in the Nix Packages collection in pkgs/applications/misc/hello/ex-1/default.nix. It is customary to place each package in a separate directory and call the single Nix expression in that directory default.nix. The file has the following elements (referenced from the figure by number):

  1. This states that the expression is a function that expects to be called with three arguments: stdenv, fetchurl, and perl. They are needed to build Hello, but we don't know how to build them here; that's why they are function arguments. stdenv is a package that is used by almost all Nix Packages packages; it provides a “standard” environment consisting of the things you would expect in a basic Unix environment: a C/C++ compiler (GCC, to be precise), the Bash shell, fundamental Unix tools such as cp, grep, tar, etc. fetchurl is a function that downloads files. perl is the Perl interpreter.

    Nix functions generally have the form { x, y, ..., z }: e where x, y, etc. are the names of the expected arguments, and where e is the body of the function. So here, the entire remainder of the file is the body of the function; when given the required arguments, the body should describe how to build an instance of the Hello package.

  2. So we have to build a package. Building something from other stuff is called a derivation in Nix (as opposed to sources, which are built by humans instead of computers). We perform a derivation by calling stdenv.mkDerivation. mkDerivation is a function provided by stdenv that builds a package from a set of attributes. A set is just a list of key/value pairs where each key is a string and each value is an arbitrary Nix expression. They take the general form { name1 = expr1; ... nameN = exprN; }.

  3. The attribute name specifies the symbolic name and version of the package. Nix doesn't really care about these things, but they are used by for instance nix-env -q to show a “human-readable” name for packages. This attribute is required by mkDerivation.

  4. The attribute builder specifies the builder. This attribute can sometimes be omitted, in which case mkDerivation will fill in a default builder (which does a configure; make; make install, in essence). Hello is sufficiently simple that the default builder would suffice, but in this case, we will show an actual builder for educational purposes. The value ./builder.sh refers to the shell script shown in the next section, discussed below.

  5. The builder has to know what the sources of the package are. Here, the attribute src is bound to the result of a call to the fetchurl function. Given a URL and a SHA-256 hash of the expected contents of the file at that URL, this function builds a derivation that downloads the file and checks its hash. So the sources are a dependency that like all other dependencies is built before Hello itself is built.

    Instead of src any other name could have been used, and in fact there can be any number of sources (bound to different attributes). However, src is customary, and it's also expected by the default builder (which we don't use in this example).

  6. Since the derivation requires Perl, we have to pass the value of the perl function argument to the builder. All attributes in the set are actually passed as environment variables to the builder, so declaring an attribute

    perl = perl;
    

    will do the trick: it binds an attribute perl to the function argument which also happens to be called perl. However, it looks a bit silly, so there is a shorter syntax. The inherit keyword causes the specified attributes to be bound to whatever variables with the same name happen to be in scope.

Build Script

Here is the builder referenced from Hello's Nix expression (stored in pkgs/applications/misc/hello/ex-1/builder.sh):

source $stdenv/setup ①

PATH=$perl/bin:$PATH ②

tar xvfz $src ③
cd hello-*
./configure --prefix=$out ④
make ⑤
make install

The builder can actually be made a lot shorter by using the generic builder functions provided by stdenv, but here we write out the build steps to elucidate what a builder does. It performs the following steps:

  1. When Nix runs a builder, it initially completely clears the environment (except for the attributes declared in the derivation). This is done to prevent undeclared inputs from being used in the build process. If for example the PATH contained /usr/bin, then you might accidentally use /usr/bin/gcc.

    So the first step is to set up the environment. This is done by calling the setup script of the standard environment. The environment variable stdenv points to the location of the standard environment being used. (It wasn't specified explicitly as an attribute in Hello's Nix expression, but mkDerivation adds it automatically.)

  2. Since Hello needs Perl, we have to make sure that Perl is in the PATH. The perl environment variable points to the location of the Perl package (since it was passed in as an attribute to the derivation), so $perl/bin is the directory containing the Perl interpreter.

  3. Now we have to unpack the sources. The src attribute was bound to the result of fetching the Hello source tarball from the network, so the src environment variable points to the location in the Nix store to which the tarball was downloaded. After unpacking, we cd to the resulting source directory.

    The whole build is performed in a temporary directory created in /tmp, by the way. This directory is removed after the builder finishes, so there is no need to clean up the sources afterwards. Also, the temporary directory is always newly created, so you don't have to worry about files from previous builds interfering with the current build.

  4. GNU Hello is a typical Autoconf-based package, so we first have to run its configure script. In Nix every package is stored in a separate location in the Nix store, for instance /nix/store/9a54ba97fb71b65fda531012d0443ce2-hello-2.1.1. Nix computes this path by cryptographically hashing all attributes of the derivation. The path is passed to the builder through the out environment variable. So here we give configure the parameter --prefix=$out to cause Hello to be installed in the expected location.

  5. Finally we build Hello (make) and install it into the location specified by out (make install).

If you are wondering about the absence of error checking on the result of various commands called in the builder: this is because the shell script is evaluated with Bash's -e option, which causes the script to be aborted if any command fails without an error check.

Arguments and Variables

The Nix expression for GNU Hello is a function; it is missing some arguments that have to be filled in somewhere. In the Nix Packages collection this is done in the file pkgs/top-level/all-packages.nix, where all Nix expressions for packages are imported and called with the appropriate arguments. Here are some fragments of all-packages.nix, with annotations of what they mean:

...

rec { ①

  hello = import ../applications/misc/hello/ex-1 ② { ③
    inherit fetchurl stdenv perl;
  };

  perl = import ../development/interpreters/perl { ④
    inherit fetchurl stdenv;
  };

  fetchurl = import ../build-support/fetchurl {
    inherit stdenv; ...
  };

  stdenv = ...;

}
  1. This file defines a set of attributes, all of which are concrete derivations (i.e., not functions). In fact, we define a mutually recursive set of attributes. That is, the attributes can refer to each other. This is precisely what we want since we want to “plug” the various packages into each other.

  2. Here we import the Nix expression for GNU Hello. The import operation just loads and returns the specified Nix expression. In fact, we could just have put the contents of the Nix expression for GNU Hello in all-packages.nix at this point. That would be completely equivalent, but it would make all-packages.nix rather bulky.

    Note that we refer to ../applications/misc/hello/ex-1, not ../applications/misc/hello/ex-1/default.nix. When you try to import a directory, Nix automatically appends /default.nix to the file name.

  3. This is where the actual composition takes place. Here we call the function imported from ../applications/misc/hello/ex-1 with a set containing the things that the function expects, namely fetchurl, stdenv, and perl. We use inherit again to use the attributes defined in the surrounding scope (we could also have written fetchurl = fetchurl;, etc.).

    The result of this function call is an actual derivation that can be built by Nix (since when we fill in the arguments of the function, what we get is its body, which is the call to stdenv.mkDerivation in the Nix expression for GNU Hello).

    Note

    Nixpkgs has a convenience function callPackage that imports and calls a function, filling in any missing arguments by passing the corresponding attribute from the Nixpkgs set, like this:

    hello = callPackage ../applications/misc/hello/ex-1 { };
    

    If necessary, you can set or override arguments:

    hello = callPackage ../applications/misc/hello/ex-1 { stdenv = myStdenv; };
    
  4. Likewise, we have to instantiate Perl, fetchurl, and the standard environment.

Building and Testing

You can now try to build Hello. Of course, you could do nix-env -i hello, but you may not want to install a possibly broken package just yet. The best way to test the package is by using the command nix-build, which builds a Nix expression and creates a symlink named result in the current directory:

$ nix-build -A hello
building path `/nix/store/632d2b22514d...-hello-2.1.1'
hello-2.1.1/
hello-2.1.1/intl/
hello-2.1.1/intl/ChangeLog
...

$ ls -l result
lrwxrwxrwx ... 2006-09-29 10:43 result -> /nix/store/632d2b22514d...-hello-2.1.1

$ ./result/bin/hello
Hello, world!

The -A option selects the hello attribute. This is faster than using the symbolic package name specified by the name attribute (which also happens to be hello) and is unambiguous (there can be multiple packages with the symbolic name hello, but there can be only one attribute in a set named hello).

nix-build registers the ./result symlink as a garbage collection root, so unless and until you delete the ./result symlink, the output of the build will be safely kept on your system. You can use nix-build’s -o switch to give the symlink another name.

Nix has transactional semantics. Once a build finishes successfully, Nix makes a note of this in its database: it registers that the path denoted by out is now “valid”. If you try to build the derivation again, Nix will see that the path is already valid and finish immediately. If a build fails, either because it returns a non-zero exit code, because Nix or the builder are killed, or because the machine crashes, then the output paths will not be registered as valid. If you try to build the derivation again, Nix will remove the output paths if they exist (e.g., because the builder died half-way through make install) and try again. Note that there is no “negative caching”: Nix doesn't remember that a build failed, and so a failed build can always be repeated. This is because Nix cannot distinguish between permanent failures (e.g., a compiler error due to a syntax error in the source) and transient failures (e.g., a disk full condition).

Nix also performs locking. If you run multiple Nix builds simultaneously, and they try to build the same derivation, the first Nix instance that gets there will perform the build, while the others block (or perform other derivations if available) until the build finishes:

$ nix-build -A hello
waiting for lock on `/nix/store/0h5b7hp8d4hqfrw8igvx97x1xawrjnac-hello-2.1.1x'

So it is always safe to run multiple instances of Nix in parallel (which isn’t the case with, say, make).

Generic Builder Syntax

Recall that the build script for GNU Hello looked something like this:

PATH=$perl/bin:$PATH
tar xvfz $src
cd hello-*
./configure --prefix=$out
make
make install

The builders for almost all Unix packages look like this — set up some environment variables, unpack the sources, configure, build, and install. For this reason the standard environment provides some Bash functions that automate the build process. Here is what a builder using the generic build facilities looks like:

buildInputs="$perl" ①

source $stdenv/setup ②

genericBuild ③

Here is what each line means:

  1. The buildInputs variable tells setup to use the indicated packages as “inputs”. This means that if a package provides a bin subdirectory, it's added to PATH; if it has a include subdirectory, it's added to GCC's header search path; and so on. (This is implemented in a modular way: setup tries to source the file pkg/nix-support/setup-hook of all dependencies. These “setup hooks” can then set up whatever environment variables they want; for instance, the setup hook for Perl sets the PERL5LIB environment variable to contain the lib/site_perl directories of all inputs.)

  2. The function genericBuild is defined in the file $stdenv/setup.

  3. The final step calls the shell function genericBuild, which performs the steps that were done explicitly in the previous build script. The generic builder is smart enough to figure out whether to unpack the sources using gzip, bzip2, etc. It can be customised in many ways; see the Nixpkgs manual for details.

Discerning readers will note that the buildInputs could just as well have been set in the Nix expression, like this:

  buildInputs = [ perl ];

The perl attribute can then be removed, and the builder becomes even shorter:

source $stdenv/setup
genericBuild

In fact, mkDerivation provides a default builder that looks exactly like that, so it is actually possible to omit the builder for Hello entirely.

Nix Expression Language

The Nix expression language is a pure, lazy, functional language. Purity means that operations in the language don't have side-effects (for instance, there is no variable assignment). Laziness means that arguments to functions are evaluated only when they are needed. Functional means that functions are “normal” values that can be passed around and manipulated in interesting ways. The language is not a full-featured, general purpose language. Its main job is to describe packages, compositions of packages, and the variability within packages.

This section presents the various features of the language.

Values

Simple Values

Nix has the following basic data types:

  • Strings can be written in three ways.

    The most common way is to enclose the string between double quotes, e.g., "foo bar". Strings can span multiple lines. The special characters " and \ and the character sequence ${ must be escaped by prefixing them with a backslash (\). Newlines, carriage returns and tabs can be written as \n, \r and \t, respectively.

    You can include the result of an expression into a string by enclosing it in ${...}, a feature known as antiquotation. The enclosed expression must evaluate to something that can be coerced into a string (meaning that it must be a string, a path, or a derivation). For instance, rather than writing

    "--with-freetype2-library=" + freetype + "/lib"
    

    (where freetype is a derivation), you can instead write the more natural

    "--with-freetype2-library=${freetype}/lib"
    

    The latter is automatically translated to the former. A more complicated example (from the Nix expression for Qt):

    configureFlags = "
      -system-zlib -system-libpng -system-libjpeg
      ${if openglSupport then "-dlopen-opengl
        -L${mesa}/lib -I${mesa}/include
        -L${libXmu}/lib -I${libXmu}/include" else ""}
      ${if threadSupport then "-thread" else "-no-thread"}
    ";
    

    Note that Nix expressions and strings can be arbitrarily nested; in this case the outer string contains various antiquotations that themselves contain strings (e.g., "-thread"), some of which in turn contain expressions (e.g., ${mesa}).

    The second way to write string literals is as an indented string, which is enclosed between pairs of double single-quotes, like so:

    ''
      This is the first line.
      This is the second line.
        This is the third line.
    ''
    

    This kind of string literal intelligently strips indentation from the start of each line. To be precise, it strips from each line a number of spaces equal to the minimal indentation of the string as a whole (disregarding the indentation of empty lines). For instance, the first and second line are indented two space, while the third line is indented four spaces. Thus, two spaces are stripped from each line, so the resulting string is

    "This is the first line.\nThis is the second line.\n  This is the third line.\n"
    

    Note that the whitespace and newline following the opening '' is ignored if there is no non-whitespace text on the initial line.

    Antiquotation (${expr}) is supported in indented strings.

    Since ${ and '' have special meaning in indented strings, you need a way to quote them. $ can be escaped by prefixing it with '' (that is, two single quotes), i.e., ''$. '' can be escaped by prefixing it with ', i.e., '''. $ removes any special meaning from the following $. Linefeed, carriage-return and tab characters can be written as ''\n, ''\r, ''\t, and ''\ escapes any other character.

    Indented strings are primarily useful in that they allow multi-line string literals to follow the indentation of the enclosing Nix expression, and that less escaping is typically necessary for strings representing languages such as shell scripts and configuration files because '' is much less common than ". Example:

    stdenv.mkDerivation {
      ...
      postInstall =
        ''
          mkdir $out/bin $out/etc
          cp foo $out/bin
          echo "Hello World" > $out/etc/foo.conf
          ${if enableBar then "cp bar $out/bin" else ""}
        '';
      ...
    }
    

    Finally, as a convenience, URIs as defined in appendix B of RFC 2396 can be written as is, without quotes. For instance, the string "http://example.org/foo.tar.bz2" can also be written as http://example.org/foo.tar.bz2.

  • Numbers, which can be integers (like 123) or floating point (like 123.43 or .27e13).

    Numbers are type-compatible: pure integer operations will always return integers, whereas any operation involving at least one floating point number will have a floating point number as a result.

  • Paths, e.g., /bin/sh or ./builder.sh. A path must contain at least one slash to be recognised as such. For instance, builder.sh is not a path: it's parsed as an expression that selects the attribute sh from the variable builder. If the file name is relative, i.e., if it does not begin with a slash, it is made absolute at parse time relative to the directory of the Nix expression that contained it. For instance, if a Nix expression in /foo/bar/bla.nix refers to ../xyzzy/fnord.nix, the absolute path is /foo/xyzzy/fnord.nix.

    If the first component of a path is a ~, it is interpreted as if the rest of the path were relative to the user's home directory. e.g. ~/foo would be equivalent to /home/edolstra/foo for a user whose home directory is /home/edolstra.

    Paths can also be specified between angle brackets, e.g. <nixpkgs>. This means that the directories listed in the environment variable NIX_PATH will be searched for the given file or directory name.

    Antiquotation is supported in any paths except those in angle brackets. ./${foo}-${bar}.nix is a more convenient way of writing ./. + "/" + foo + "-" + bar + ".nix" or ./. + "/${foo}-${bar}.nix". At least one slash must appear before any antiquotations for this to be recognized as a path. a.${foo}/b.${bar} is a syntactically valid division operation. ./a.${foo}/b.${bar} is a path.

  • Booleans with values true and false.

  • The null value, denoted as null.

Lists

Lists are formed by enclosing a whitespace-separated list of values between square brackets. For example,

[ 123 ./foo.nix "abc" (f { x = y; }) ]

defines a list of four elements, the last being the result of a call to the function f. Note that function calls have to be enclosed in parentheses. If they had been omitted, e.g.,

[ 123 ./foo.nix "abc" f { x = y; } ]

the result would be a list of five elements, the fourth one being a function and the fifth being a set.

Note that lists are only lazy in values, and they are strict in length.

Sets

Sets are really the core of the language, since ultimately the Nix language is all about creating derivations, which are really just sets of attributes to be passed to build scripts.

Sets are just a list of name/value pairs (called attributes) enclosed in curly brackets, where each value is an arbitrary expression terminated by a semicolon. For example:

{ x = 123;
  text = "Hello";
  y = f { bla = 456; };
}

This defines a set with attributes named x, text, y. The order of the attributes is irrelevant. An attribute name may only occur once.

Attributes can be selected from a set using the . operator. For instance,

{ a = "Foo"; b = "Bar"; }.a

evaluates to "Foo". It is possible to provide a default value in an attribute selection using the or keyword. For example,

{ a = "Foo"; b = "Bar"; }.c or "Xyzzy"

will evaluate to "Xyzzy" because there is no c attribute in the set.

You can use arbitrary double-quoted strings as attribute names:

{ "foo ${bar}" = 123; "nix-1.0" = 456; }."foo ${bar}"

This will evaluate to 123 (Assuming bar is antiquotable). In the case where an attribute name is just a single antiquotation, the quotes can be dropped:

{ foo = 123; }.${bar} or 456

This will evaluate to 123 if bar evaluates to "foo" when coerced to a string and 456 otherwise (again assuming bar is antiquotable).

In the special case where an attribute name inside of a set declaration evaluates to null (which is normally an error, as null is not antiquotable), that attribute is simply not added to the set:

{ ${if foo then "bar" else null} = true; }

This will evaluate to {} if foo evaluates to false.

A set that has a __functor attribute whose value is callable (i.e. is itself a function or a set with a __functor attribute whose value is callable) can be applied as if it were a function, with the set itself passed in first , e.g.,

let add = { __functor = self: x: x + self.x; };
    inc = add // { x = 1; };
in inc 1

evaluates to 2. This can be used to attach metadata to a function without the caller needing to treat it specially, or to implement a form of object-oriented programming, for example.

Language Constructs

Recursive sets

Recursive sets are just normal sets, but the attributes can refer to each other. For example,

rec {
  x = y;
  y = 123;
}.x

evaluates to 123. Note that without rec the binding x = y; would refer to the variable y in the surrounding scope, if one exists, and would be invalid if no such variable exists. That is, in a normal (non-recursive) set, attributes are not added to the lexical scope; in a recursive set, they are.

Recursive sets of course introduce the danger of infinite recursion. For example, the expression

rec {
  x = y;
  y = x;
}.x

will crash with an infinite recursion encountered error message.

Let-expressions

A let-expression allows you to define local variables for an expression. For instance,

let
  x = "foo";
  y = "bar";
in x + y

evaluates to "foobar".

Inheriting attributes

When defining a set or in a let-expression it is often convenient to copy variables from the surrounding lexical scope (e.g., when you want to propagate attributes). This can be shortened using the inherit keyword. For instance,

let x = 123; in
{ inherit x;
  y = 456;
}

is equivalent to

let x = 123; in
{ x = x;
  y = 456;
}

and both evaluate to { x = 123; y = 456; }. (Note that this works because x is added to the lexical scope by the let construct.) It is also possible to inherit attributes from another set. For instance, in this fragment from all-packages.nix,

graphviz = (import ../tools/graphics/graphviz) {
  inherit fetchurl stdenv libpng libjpeg expat x11 yacc;
  inherit (xlibs) libXaw;
};

xlibs = {
  libX11 = ...;
  libXaw = ...;
  ...
}

libpng = ...;
libjpg = ...;
...

the set used in the function call to the function defined in ../tools/graphics/graphviz inherits a number of variables from the surrounding scope (fetchurl ... yacc), but also inherits libXaw (the X Athena Widgets) from the xlibs (X11 client-side libraries) set.

Summarizing the fragment

...
inherit x y z;
inherit (src-set) a b c;
...

is equivalent to

...
x = x; y = y; z = z;
a = src-set.a; b = src-set.b; c = src-set.c;
...

when used while defining local variables in a let-expression or while defining a set.

Functions

Functions have the following form:

pattern: body

The pattern specifies what the argument of the function must look like, and binds variables in the body to (parts of) the argument. There are three kinds of patterns:

  • If a pattern is a single identifier, then the function matches any argument. Example:

    let negate = x: !x;
        concat = x: y: x + y;
    in if negate true then concat "foo" "bar" else ""
    

    Note that concat is a function that takes one argument and returns a function that takes another argument. This allows partial parameterisation (i.e., only filling some of the arguments of a function); e.g.,

    map (concat "foo") [ "bar" "bla" "abc" ]
    

    evaluates to [ "foobar" "foobla" "fooabc" ].

  • A set pattern of the form { name1, name2, …, nameN } matches a set containing the listed attributes, and binds the values of those attributes to variables in the function body. For example, the function

    { x, y, z }: z + y + x
    

    can only be called with a set containing exactly the attributes x, y and z. No other attributes are allowed. If you want to allow additional arguments, you can use an ellipsis (...):

    { x, y, z, ... }: z + y + x
    

    This works on any set that contains at least the three named attributes.

    It is possible to provide default values for attributes, in which case they are allowed to be missing. A default value is specified by writing name ? e, where e is an arbitrary expression. For example,

    { x, y ? "foo", z ? "bar" }: z + y + x
    

    specifies a function that only requires an attribute named x, but optionally accepts y and z.

  • An @-pattern provides a means of referring to the whole value being matched:

    args@{ x, y, z, ... }: z + y + x + args.a
    

    but can also be written as:

    { x, y, z, ... } @ args: z + y + x + args.a
    

    Here args is bound to the entire argument, which is further matched against the pattern { x, y, z, ... }. @-pattern makes mainly sense with an ellipsis(...) as you can access attribute names as a, using args.a, which was given as an additional attribute to the function.

    Warning

    The args@ expression is bound to the argument passed to the function which means that attributes with defaults that aren't explicitly specified in the function call won't cause an evaluation error, but won't exist in args.

    For instance

    let
      function = args@{ a ? 23, ... }: args;
    in
      function {}
    

    will evaluate to an empty attribute set.

Note that functions do not have names. If you want to give them a name, you can bind them to an attribute, e.g.,

let concat = { x, y }: x + y;
in concat { x = "foo"; y = "bar"; }

Conditionals

Conditionals look like this:

if e1 then e2 else e3

where e1 is an expression that should evaluate to a Boolean value (true or false).

Assertions

Assertions are generally used to check that certain requirements on or between features and dependencies hold. They look like this:

assert e1; e2

where e1 is an expression that should evaluate to a Boolean value. If it evaluates to true, e2 is returned; otherwise expression evaluation is aborted and a backtrace is printed.

Here is a Nix expression for the Subversion package that shows how assertions can be used:.

{ localServer ? false
, httpServer ? false
, sslSupport ? false
, pythonBindings ? false
, javaSwigBindings ? false
, javahlBindings ? false
, stdenv, fetchurl
, openssl ? null, httpd ? null, db4 ? null, expat, swig ? null, j2sdk ? null
}:

assert localServer -> db4 != null; ①
assert httpServer -> httpd != null && httpd.expat == expat; ②
assert sslSupport -> openssl != null && (httpServer -> httpd.openssl == openssl); ③
assert pythonBindings -> swig != null && swig.pythonSupport;
assert javaSwigBindings -> swig != null && swig.javaSupport;
assert javahlBindings -> j2sdk != null;

stdenv.mkDerivation {
  name = "subversion-1.1.1";
  ...
  openssl = if sslSupport then openssl else null; ④
  ...
}

The points of interest are:

  1. This assertion states that if Subversion is to have support for local repositories, then Berkeley DB is needed. So if the Subversion function is called with the localServer argument set to true but the db4 argument set to null, then the evaluation fails.

  2. This is a more subtle condition: if Subversion is built with Apache (httpServer) support, then the Expat library (an XML library) used by Subversion should be same as the one used by Apache. This is because in this configuration Subversion code ends up being linked with Apache code, and if the Expat libraries do not match, a build- or runtime link error or incompatibility might occur.

  3. This assertion says that in order for Subversion to have SSL support (so that it can access https URLs), an OpenSSL library must be passed. Additionally, it says that if Apache support is enabled, then Apache's OpenSSL should match Subversion's. (Note that if Apache support is not enabled, we don't care about Apache's OpenSSL.)

  4. The conditional here is not really related to assertions, but is worth pointing out: it ensures that if SSL support is disabled, then the Subversion derivation is not dependent on OpenSSL, even if a non-null value was passed. This prevents an unnecessary rebuild of Subversion if OpenSSL changes.

With-expressions

A with-expression,

with e1; e2

introduces the set e1 into the lexical scope of the expression e2. For instance,

let as = { x = "foo"; y = "bar"; };
in with as; x + y

evaluates to "foobar" since the with adds the x and y attributes of as to the lexical scope in the expression x + y. The most common use of with is in conjunction with the import function. E.g.,

with (import ./definitions.nix); ...

makes all attributes defined in the file definitions.nix available as if they were defined locally in a let-expression.

The bindings introduced by with do not shadow bindings introduced by other means, e.g.

let a = 3; in with { a = 1; }; let a = 4; in with { a = 2; }; ...

establishes the same scope as

let a = 1; in let a = 2; in let a = 3; in let a = 4; in ...

Comments

Comments can be single-line, started with a # character, or inline/multi-line, enclosed within /* ... */.

Operators

The table below lists the operators in the Nix expression language, in order of precedence (from strongest to weakest binding).

NameSyntaxAssociativityDescriptionPrecedence
Selecte . attrpath [ or def ]noneSelect attribute denoted by the attribute path attrpath from set e. (An attribute path is a dot-separated list of attribute names.) If the attribute doesn’t exist, return def if provided, otherwise abort evaluation.1
Applicatione1 e2leftCall function e1 with argument e2.2
Arithmetic Negation- enoneArithmetic negation.3
Has Attributee ? attrpathnoneTest whether set e contains the attribute denoted by attrpath; return true or false.4
List Concatenatione1 ++ e2rightList concatenation.5
Multiplicatione1 * e2,leftArithmetic multiplication.6
Divisione1 / e2leftArithmetic division.6
Additione1 + e2leftArithmetic addition.7
Subtractione1 - e2leftArithmetic subtraction.7
String Concatenationstring1 + string2leftString concatenation.7
Not! enoneBoolean negation.8
Updatee1 // e2rightReturn a set consisting of the attributes in e1 and e2 (with the latter taking precedence over the former in case of equally named attributes).9
Less Thane1 < e2,noneArithmetic comparison.10
Less Than or Equal Toe1 <= e2noneArithmetic comparison.10
Greater Thane1 > e2noneArithmetic comparison.10
Greater Than or Equal Toe1 >= e2noneArithmetic comparison.10
Equalitye1 == e2noneEquality.11
Inequalitye1 != e2noneInequality.11
Logical ANDe1 && e2leftLogical AND.12
Logical ORe1 \|\| e2leftLogical OR.13
Logical Implicatione1 -> e2noneLogical implication (equivalent to !e1 \|\| e2).14

Derivations

The most important built-in function is derivation, which is used to describe a single derivation (a build action). It takes as input a set, the attributes of which specify the inputs of the build.

  • There must be an attribute named system whose value must be a string specifying a Nix system type, such as "i686-linux" or "x86_64-darwin". (To figure out your system type, run nix -vv --version.) The build can only be performed on a machine and operating system matching the system type. (Nix can automatically forward builds for other platforms by forwarding them to other machines.)

  • There must be an attribute named name whose value must be a string. This is used as a symbolic name for the package by nix-env, and it is appended to the output paths of the derivation.

  • There must be an attribute named builder that identifies the program that is executed to perform the build. It can be either a derivation or a source (a local file reference, e.g., ./builder.sh).

  • Every attribute is passed as an environment variable to the builder. Attribute values are translated to environment variables as follows:

    • Strings and numbers are just passed verbatim.

    • A path (e.g., ../foo/sources.tar) causes the referenced file to be copied to the store; its location in the store is put in the environment variable. The idea is that all sources should reside in the Nix store, since all inputs to a derivation should reside in the Nix store.

    • A derivation causes that derivation to be built prior to the present derivation; its default output path is put in the environment variable.

    • Lists of the previous types are also allowed. They are simply concatenated, separated by spaces.

    • true is passed as the string 1, false and null are passed as an empty string.

  • The optional attribute args specifies command-line arguments to be passed to the builder. It should be a list.

  • The optional attribute outputs specifies a list of symbolic outputs of the derivation. By default, a derivation produces a single output path, denoted as out. However, derivations can produce multiple output paths. This is useful because it allows outputs to be downloaded or garbage-collected separately. For instance, imagine a library package that provides a dynamic library, header files, and documentation. A program that links against the library doesn’t need the header files and documentation at runtime, and it doesn’t need the documentation at build time. Thus, the library package could specify:

    outputs = [ "lib" "headers" "doc" ];
    

    This will cause Nix to pass environment variables lib, headers and doc to the builder containing the intended store paths of each output. The builder would typically do something like

    ./configure \
      --libdir=$lib/lib \
      --includedir=$headers/include \
      --docdir=$doc/share/doc
    

    for an Autoconf-style package. You can refer to each output of a derivation by selecting it as an attribute, e.g.

    buildInputs = [ pkg.lib pkg.headers ];
    

    The first element of outputs determines the default output. Thus, you could also write

    buildInputs = [ pkg pkg.headers ];
    

    since pkg is equivalent to pkg.lib.

The function mkDerivation in the Nixpkgs standard environment is a wrapper around derivation that adds a default value for system and always uses Bash as the builder, to which the supplied builder is passed as a command-line argument. See the Nixpkgs manual for details.

The builder is executed as follows:

  • A temporary directory is created under the directory specified by TMPDIR (default /tmp) where the build will take place. The current directory is changed to this directory.

  • The environment is cleared and set to the derivation attributes, as specified above.

  • In addition, the following variables are set:

    • NIX_BUILD_TOP contains the path of the temporary directory for this build.

    • Also, TMPDIR, TEMPDIR, TMP, TEMP are set to point to the temporary directory. This is to prevent the builder from accidentally writing temporary files anywhere else. Doing so might cause interference by other processes.

    • PATH is set to /path-not-set to prevent shells from initialising it to their built-in default value.

    • HOME is set to /homeless-shelter to prevent programs from using /etc/passwd or the like to find the user's home directory, which could cause impurity. Usually, when HOME is set, it is used as the location of the home directory, even if it points to a non-existent path.

    • NIX_STORE is set to the path of the top-level Nix store directory (typically, /nix/store).

    • For each output declared in outputs, the corresponding environment variable is set to point to the intended path in the Nix store for that output. Each output path is a concatenation of the cryptographic hash of all build inputs, the name attribute and the output name. (The output name is omitted if it’s out.)

  • If an output path already exists, it is removed. Also, locks are acquired to prevent multiple Nix instances from performing the same build at the same time.

  • A log of the combined standard output and error is written to /nix/var/log/nix.

  • The builder is executed with the arguments specified by the attribute args. If it exits with exit code 0, it is considered to have succeeded.

  • The temporary directory is removed (unless the -K option was specified).

  • If the build was successful, Nix scans each output path for references to input paths by looking for the hash parts of the input paths. Since these are potential runtime dependencies, Nix registers them as dependencies of the output paths.

  • After the build, Nix sets the last-modified timestamp on all files in the build result to 1 (00:00:01 1/1/1970 UTC), sets the group to the default group, and sets the mode of the file to 0444 or 0555 (i.e., read-only, with execute permission enabled if the file was originally executable). Note that possible setuid and setgid bits are cleared. Setuid and setgid programs are not currently supported by Nix. This is because the Nix archives used in deployment have no concept of ownership information, and because it makes the build result dependent on the user performing the build.

Advanced Attributes

Derivations can declare some infrequently used optional attributes.

  • allowedReferences
    The optional attribute allowedReferences specifies a list of legal references (dependencies) of the output of the builder. For example,

    allowedReferences = [];
    

    enforces that the output of a derivation cannot have any runtime dependencies on its inputs. To allow an output to have a runtime dependency on itself, use "out" as a list item. This is used in NixOS to check that generated files such as initial ramdisks for booting Linux don’t have accidental dependencies on other paths in the Nix store.

  • allowedRequisites
    This attribute is similar to allowedReferences, but it specifies the legal requisites of the whole closure, so all the dependencies recursively. For example,

    allowedRequisites = [ foobar ];
    

    enforces that the output of a derivation cannot have any other runtime dependency than foobar, and in addition it enforces that foobar itself doesn't introduce any other dependency itself.

  • disallowedReferences
    The optional attribute disallowedReferences specifies a list of illegal references (dependencies) of the output of the builder. For example,

    disallowedReferences = [ foo ];
    

    enforces that the output of a derivation cannot have a direct runtime dependencies on the derivation foo.

  • disallowedRequisites
    This attribute is similar to disallowedReferences, but it specifies illegal requisites for the whole closure, so all the dependencies recursively. For example,

    disallowedRequisites = [ foobar ];
    

    enforces that the output of a derivation cannot have any runtime dependency on foobar or any other derivation depending recursively on foobar.

  • exportReferencesGraph
    This attribute allows builders access to the references graph of their inputs. The attribute is a list of inputs in the Nix store whose references graph the builder needs to know. The value of this attribute should be a list of pairs [ name1 path1 name2 path2 ... ]. The references graph of each pathN will be stored in a text file nameN in the temporary build directory. The text files have the format used by nix-store --register-validity (with the deriver fields left empty). For example, when the following derivation is built:

    derivation {
      ...
      exportReferencesGraph = [ "libfoo-graph" libfoo ];
    };
    

    the references graph of libfoo is placed in the file libfoo-graph in the temporary build directory.

    exportReferencesGraph is useful for builders that want to do something with the closure of a store path. Examples include the builders in NixOS that generate the initial ramdisk for booting Linux (a cpio archive containing the closure of the boot script) and the ISO-9660 image for the installation CD (which is populated with a Nix store containing the closure of a bootable NixOS configuration).

  • impureEnvVars
    This attribute allows you to specify a list of environment variables that should be passed from the environment of the calling user to the builder. Usually, the environment is cleared completely when the builder is executed, but with this attribute you can allow specific environment variables to be passed unmodified. For example, fetchurl in Nixpkgs has the line

    impureEnvVars = [ "http_proxy" "https_proxy" ... ];
    

    to make it use the proxy server configuration specified by the user in the environment variables http_proxy and friends.

    This attribute is only allowed in fixed-output derivations (see below), where impurities such as these are okay since (the hash of) the output is known in advance. It is ignored for all other derivations.

    Warning

    impureEnvVars implementation takes environment variables from the current builder process. When a daemon is building its environmental variables are used. Without the daemon, the environmental variables come from the environment of the nix-build.

  • outputHash; outputHashAlgo; outputHashMode
    These attributes declare that the derivation is a so-called fixed-output derivation, which means that a cryptographic hash of the output is already known in advance. When the build of a fixed-output derivation finishes, Nix computes the cryptographic hash of the output and compares it to the hash declared with these attributes. If there is a mismatch, the build fails.

    The rationale for fixed-output derivations is derivations such as those produced by the fetchurl function. This function downloads a file from a given URL. To ensure that the downloaded file has not been modified, the caller must also specify a cryptographic hash of the file. For example,

    fetchurl {
      url = "http://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/hello/hello-2.1.1.tar.gz";
      sha256 = "1md7jsfd8pa45z73bz1kszpp01yw6x5ljkjk2hx7wl800any6465";
    }
    

    It sometimes happens that the URL of the file changes, e.g., because servers are reorganised or no longer available. We then must update the call to fetchurl, e.g.,

    fetchurl {
      url = "ftp://ftp.nluug.nl/pub/gnu/hello/hello-2.1.1.tar.gz";
      sha256 = "1md7jsfd8pa45z73bz1kszpp01yw6x5ljkjk2hx7wl800any6465";
    }
    

    If a fetchurl derivation was treated like a normal derivation, the output paths of the derivation and all derivations depending on it would change. For instance, if we were to change the URL of the Glibc source distribution in Nixpkgs (a package on which almost all other packages depend) massive rebuilds would be needed. This is unfortunate for a change which we know cannot have a real effect as it propagates upwards through the dependency graph.

    For fixed-output derivations, on the other hand, the name of the output path only depends on the outputHash* and name attributes, while all other attributes are ignored for the purpose of computing the output path. (The name attribute is included because it is part of the path.)

    As an example, here is the (simplified) Nix expression for fetchurl:

    { stdenv, curl }: # The curl program is used for downloading.
    
    { url, sha256 }:
    
    stdenv.mkDerivation {
      name = baseNameOf (toString url);
      builder = ./builder.sh;
      buildInputs = [ curl ];
    
      # This is a fixed-output derivation; the output must be a regular
      # file with SHA256 hash sha256.
      outputHashMode = "flat";
      outputHashAlgo = "sha256";
      outputHash = sha256;
    
      inherit url;
    }
    

    The outputHashAlgo attribute specifies the hash algorithm used to compute the hash. It can currently be "sha1", "sha256" or "sha512".

    The outputHashMode attribute determines how the hash is computed. It must be one of the following two values:

    • "flat"
      The output must be a non-executable regular file. If it isn’t, the build fails. The hash is simply computed over the contents of that file (so it’s equal to what Unix commands like sha256sum or sha1sum produce).

      This is the default.

    • "recursive"
      The hash is computed over the NAR archive dump of the output (i.e., the result of nix-store --dump). In this case, the output can be anything, including a directory tree.

    The outputHash attribute, finally, must be a string containing the hash in either hexadecimal or base-32 notation. (See the nix-hash command for information about converting to and from base-32 notation.)

  • __contentAddressed If this experimental attribute is set to true, then the derivation outputs will be stored in a content-addressed location rather than the traditional input-addressed one. This only has an effect if the ca-derivation experimental feature is enabled.

    Setting this attribute also requires setting outputHashMode and outputHashAlgo like for fixed-output derivations (see above).

  • passAsFile
    A list of names of attributes that should be passed via files rather than environment variables. For example, if you have

    passAsFile = ["big"];
    big = "a very long string";
    

    then when the builder runs, the environment variable bigPath will contain the absolute path to a temporary file containing a very long string. That is, for any attribute x listed in passAsFile, Nix will pass an environment variable xPath holding the path of the file containing the value of attribute x. This is useful when you need to pass large strings to a builder, since most operating systems impose a limit on the size of the environment (typically, a few hundred kilobyte).

  • preferLocalBuild
    If this attribute is set to true and distributed building is enabled, then, if possible, the derivaton will be built locally instead of forwarded to a remote machine. This is appropriate for trivial builders where the cost of doing a download or remote build would exceed the cost of building locally.

  • allowSubstitutes
    If this attribute is set to false, then Nix will always build this derivation; it will not try to substitute its outputs. This is useful for very trivial derivations (such as writeText in Nixpkgs) that are cheaper to build than to substitute from a binary cache.

    Note

    You need to have a builder configured which satisfies the derivation’s system attribute, since the derivation cannot be substituted. Thus it is usually a good idea to align system with builtins.currentSystem when setting allowSubstitutes to false. For most trivial derivations this should be the case.

Built-in Constants

Here are the constants built into the Nix expression evaluator:

  • builtins
    The set builtins contains all the built-in functions and values. You can use builtins to test for the availability of features in the Nix installation, e.g.,

    if builtins ? getEnv then builtins.getEnv "PATH" else ""
    

    This allows a Nix expression to fall back gracefully on older Nix installations that don’t have the desired built-in function.

  • builtins.currentSystem
    The built-in value currentSystem evaluates to the Nix platform identifier for the Nix installation on which the expression is being evaluated, such as "i686-linux" or "x86_64-darwin".

Built-in Functions

This section lists the functions built into the Nix expression evaluator. (The built-in function derivation is discussed above.) Some built-ins, such as derivation, are always in scope of every Nix expression; you can just access them right away. But to prevent polluting the namespace too much, most built-ins are not in scope. Instead, you can access them through the builtins built-in value, which is a set that contains all built-in functions and values. For instance, derivation is also available as builtins.derivation.

derivation attrs; builtins.derivation attrs

derivation in described in its own section.

abort s

Abort Nix expression evaluation and print the error message s.

add e1 e2

Return the sum of the numbers e1 and e2.

all pred list

Return true if the function pred returns true for all elements of list, and false otherwise.

any pred list

Return true if the function pred returns true for at least one element of list, and false otherwise.

attrNames set

Return the names of the attributes in the set set in an alphabetically sorted list. For instance, builtins.attrNames { y = 1; x = "foo"; } evaluates to [ "x" "y" ].

attrValues set

Return the values of the attributes in the set set in the order corresponding to the sorted attribute names.

baseNameOf s

Return the base name of the string s, that is, everything following the final slash in the string. This is similar to the GNU basename command.

bitAnd e1 e2

Return the bitwise AND of the integers e1 and e2.

bitOr e1 e2

Return the bitwise OR of the integers e1 and e2.

bitXor e1 e2

Return the bitwise XOR of the integers e1 and e2.

catAttrs attr list

Collect each attribute named attr from a list of attribute sets. Attrsets that don't contain the named attribute are ignored. For example,

builtins.catAttrs "a" [{a = 1;} {b = 0;} {a = 2;}]

evaluates to [1 2].

ceil double

Converts an IEEE-754 double-precision floating-point number (double) to the next higher integer.

If the datatype is neither an integer nor a "float", an evaluation error will be thrown.

compareVersions s1 s2

Compare two strings representing versions and return -1 if version s1 is older than version s2, 0 if they are the same, and 1 if s1 is newer than s2. The version comparison algorithm is the same as the one used by nix-env -u.

concatLists lists

Concatenate a list of lists into a single list.

concatMap f list

This function is equivalent to builtins.concatLists (map f list) but is more efficient.

concatStringsSep separator list

Concatenate a list of strings with a separator between each element, e.g. concatStringsSep "/" ["usr" "local" "bin"] == "usr/local/bin".

deepSeq e1 e2

This is like seq e1 e2, except that e1 is evaluated deeply: if it’s a list or set, its elements or attributes are also evaluated recursively.

dirOf s

Return the directory part of the string s, that is, everything before the final slash in the string. This is similar to the GNU dirname command.

div e1 e2

Return the quotient of the numbers e1 and e2.

elem x xs

Return true if a value equal to x occurs in the list xs, and false otherwise.

elemAt xs n

Return element n from the list xs. Elements are counted starting from 0. A fatal error occurs if the index is out of bounds.

fetchGit args

Fetch a path from git. args can be a URL, in which case the HEAD of the repo at that URL is fetched. Otherwise, it can be an attribute with the following attributes (all except url optional):

  • url
    The URL of the repo.

  • name
    The name of the directory the repo should be exported to in the store. Defaults to the basename of the URL.

  • rev
    The git revision to fetch. Defaults to the tip of ref.

  • ref
    The git ref to look for the requested revision under. This is often a branch or tag name. Defaults to HEAD.

    By default, the ref value is prefixed with refs/heads/. As of Nix 2.3.0 Nix will not prefix refs/heads/ if ref starts with refs/.

  • submodules
    A Boolean parameter that specifies whether submodules should be checked out. Defaults to false.

  • allRefs
    Whether to fetch all refs of the repository. With this argument being true, it's possible to load a rev from any ref (by default only revs from the specified ref are supported).

Here are some examples of how to use fetchGit.

  • To fetch a private repository over SSH:

    builtins.fetchGit {
      url = "git@github.com:my-secret/repository.git";
      ref = "master";
      rev = "adab8b916a45068c044658c4158d81878f9ed1c3";
    }
    
  • To fetch an arbitrary reference:

    builtins.fetchGit {
      url = "https://github.com/NixOS/nix.git";
      ref = "refs/heads/0.5-release";
    }
    
  • If the revision you're looking for is in the default branch of the git repository you don't strictly need to specify the branch name in the ref attribute.

    However, if the revision you're looking for is in a future branch for the non-default branch you will need to specify the the ref attribute as well.

    builtins.fetchGit {
      url = "https://github.com/nixos/nix.git";
      rev = "841fcbd04755c7a2865c51c1e2d3b045976b7452";
      ref = "1.11-maintenance";
    }
    

    Note

    It is nice to always specify the branch which a revision belongs to. Without the branch being specified, the fetcher might fail if the default branch changes. Additionally, it can be confusing to try a commit from a non-default branch and see the fetch fail. If the branch is specified the fault is much more obvious.

  • If the revision you're looking for is in the default branch of the git repository you may omit the ref attribute.

    builtins.fetchGit {
      url = "https://github.com/nixos/nix.git";
      rev = "841fcbd04755c7a2865c51c1e2d3b045976b7452";
    }
    
  • To fetch a specific tag:

    builtins.fetchGit {
      url = "https://github.com/nixos/nix.git";
      ref = "refs/tags/1.9";
    }
    
  • To fetch the latest version of a remote branch:

    builtins.fetchGit {
      url = "ssh://git@github.com/nixos/nix.git";
      ref = "master";
    }
    

    Note

    Nix will refetch the branch in accordance with the option tarball-ttl.

    Note

    This behavior is disabled in Pure evaluation mode.

fetchTarball args

Download the specified URL, unpack it and return the path of the unpacked tree. The file must be a tape archive (.tar) compressed with gzip, bzip2 or xz. The top-level path component of the files in the tarball is removed, so it is best if the tarball contains a single directory at top level. The typical use of the function is to obtain external Nix expression dependencies, such as a particular version of Nixpkgs, e.g.

with import (fetchTarball https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/archive/nixos-14.12.tar.gz) {};

stdenv.mkDerivation { … }

The fetched tarball is cached for a certain amount of time (1 hour by default) in ~/.cache/nix/tarballs/. You can change the cache timeout either on the command line with --option tarball-ttl number of seconds or in the Nix configuration file with this option: number of seconds to cache.

Note that when obtaining the hash with nix-prefetch-url the option --unpack is required.

This function can also verify the contents against a hash. In that case, the function takes a set instead of a URL. The set requires the attribute url and the attribute sha256, e.g.

with import (fetchTarball {
  url = "https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/archive/nixos-14.12.tar.gz";
  sha256 = "1jppksrfvbk5ypiqdz4cddxdl8z6zyzdb2srq8fcffr327ld5jj2";
}) {};

stdenv.mkDerivation { … }

This function is not available if restricted evaluation mode is enabled.

fetchurl url

Download the specified URL and return the path of the downloaded file. This function is not available if restricted evaluation mode is enabled.

filter f list

Return a list consisting of the elements of list for which the function f returns true.

filterSource e1 e2

This function allows you to copy sources into the Nix store while filtering certain files. For instance, suppose that you want to use the directory source-dir as an input to a Nix expression, e.g.

stdenv.mkDerivation {
  ...
  src = ./source-dir;
}

However, if source-dir is a Subversion working copy, then all those annoying .svn subdirectories will also be copied to the store. Worse, the contents of those directories may change a lot, causing lots of spurious rebuilds. With filterSource you can filter out the .svn directories:

src = builtins.filterSource
  (path: type: type != "directory" || baseNameOf path != ".svn")
  ./source-dir;

Thus, the first argument e1 must be a predicate function that is called for each regular file, directory or symlink in the source tree e2. If the function returns true, the file is copied to the Nix store, otherwise it is omitted. The function is called with two arguments. The first is the full path of the file. The second is a string that identifies the type of the file, which is either "regular", "directory", "symlink" or "unknown" (for other kinds of files such as device nodes or fifos — but note that those cannot be copied to the Nix store, so if the predicate returns true for them, the copy will fail). If you exclude a directory, the entire corresponding subtree of e2 will be excluded.

floor double

Converts an IEEE-754 double-precision floating-point number (double) to the next lower integer.

If the datatype is neither an integer nor a "float", an evaluation error will be thrown.

foldl' op nul list

Reduce a list by applying a binary operator, from left to right, e.g. foldl’ op nul [x0 x1 x2 ...] = op (op (op nul x0) x1) x2) .... The operator is applied strictly, i.e., its arguments are evaluated first. For example, foldl’ (x: y: x + y) 0 [1 2 3] evaluates to 6.

fromJSON e

Convert a JSON string to a Nix value. For example,

builtins.fromJSON ''{"x": [1, 2, 3], "y": null}''

returns the value { x = [ 1 2 3 ]; y = null; }.

functionArgs f

Return a set containing the names of the formal arguments expected by the function f. The value of each attribute is a Boolean denoting whether the corresponding argument has a default value. For instance, functionArgs ({ x, y ? 123}: ...) = { x = false; y = true; }.

"Formal argument" here refers to the attributes pattern-matched by the function. Plain lambdas are not included, e.g. functionArgs (x: ...) = { }.

genList generator length

Generate list of size length, with each element i equal to the value returned by generator i. For example,

builtins.genList (x: x * x) 5

returns the list [ 0 1 4 9 16 ].

getAttr s set

getAttr returns the attribute named s from set. Evaluation aborts if the attribute doesn’t exist. This is a dynamic version of the . operator, since s is an expression rather than an identifier.

getEnv s

getEnv returns the value of the environment variable s, or an empty string if the variable doesn’t exist. This function should be used with care, as it can introduce all sorts of nasty environment dependencies in your Nix expression.

getEnv is used in Nix Packages to locate the file ~/.nixpkgs/config.nix, which contains user-local settings for Nix Packages. (That is, it does a getEnv "HOME" to locate the user’s home directory.)

hasAttr s set

hasAttr returns true if set has an attribute named s, and false otherwise. This is a dynamic version of the ? operator, since s is an expression rather than an identifier.

hashFile type p

Return a base-16 representation of the cryptographic hash of the file at path p. The hash algorithm specified by type must be one of "md5", "sha1", "sha256" or "sha512".

hashString type s

Return a base-16 representation of the cryptographic hash of string s. The hash algorithm specified by type must be one of "md5", "sha1", "sha256" or "sha512".

head list

Return the first element of a list; abort evaluation if the argument isn’t a list or is an empty list. You can test whether a list is empty by comparing it with [].

import path

Load, parse and return the Nix expression in the file path. If path is a directory, the file default.nix in that directory is loaded. Evaluation aborts if the file doesn’t exist or contains an incorrect Nix expression. import implements Nix’s module system: you can put any Nix expression (such as a set or a function) in a separate file, and use it from Nix expressions in other files.

Note

Unlike some languages, import is a regular function in Nix. Paths using the angle bracket syntax (e.g., import <foo>) are normal path values.

A Nix expression loaded by import must not contain any free variables (identifiers that are not defined in the Nix expression itself and are not built-in). Therefore, it cannot refer to variables that are in scope at the call site. For instance, if you have a calling expression

rec {
  x = 123;
  y = import ./foo.nix;
}

then the following foo.nix will give an error:

x + 456

since x is not in scope in foo.nix. If you want x to be available in foo.nix, you should pass it as a function argument:

rec {
  x = 123;
  y = import ./foo.nix x;
}

and

x: x + 456

(The function argument doesn’t have to be called x in foo.nix; any name would work.)

intersectAttrs e1 e2

Return a set consisting of the attributes in the set e2 that also exist in the set e1.

isAttrs e

Return true if e evaluates to a set, and false otherwise.

isBool e

Return true if e evaluates to a bool, and false otherwise.

isFloat e

Return true if e evaluates to a float, and false otherwise.

isFunction e

Return true if e evaluates to a function, and false otherwise.

isInt e

Return true if e evaluates to an integer, and false otherwise.

isList e

Return true if e evaluates to a list, and false otherwise.

isNull e

Return true if e evaluates to null, and false otherwise.

Warning

This function is deprecated; just write e == null instead.

isPath e

Return true if e evaluates to a path, and false otherwise.

isString e

Return true if e evaluates to a string, and false otherwise.

length e

Return the length of the list e.

lessThan e1 e2

Return true if the number e1 is less than the number e2, and false otherwise. Evaluation aborts if either e1 or e2 does not evaluate to a number.

listToAttrs e

Construct a set from a list specifying the names and values of each attribute. Each element of the list should be a set consisting of a string-valued attribute name specifying the name of the attribute, and an attribute value specifying its value. Example:

builtins.listToAttrs
  [ { name = "foo"; value = 123; }
    { name = "bar"; value = 456; }
  ]

evaluates to

{ foo = 123; bar = 456; }
map f list

Apply the function f to each element in the list list. For example,

map (x: "foo" + x) [ "bar" "bla" "abc" ]

evaluates to [ "foobar" "foobla" "fooabc" ].

mapAttrs f attrset

Apply function f to every element of attrset. For example,

builtins.mapAttrs (name: value: value * 10) { a = 1; b = 2; }

evaluates to { a = 10; b = 20; }.

match regex str

Returns a list if the extended POSIX regular expression regex matches str precisely, otherwise returns null. Each item in the list is a regex group.

builtins.match "ab" "abc"

Evaluates to null.

builtins.match "abc" "abc"

Evaluates to [ ].

builtins.match "a(b)(c)" "abc"

Evaluates to [ "b" "c" ].

builtins.match "[[:space:]]+([[:upper:]]+)[[:space:]]+" "  FOO   "

Evaluates to [ "foo" ].

mul e1 e2

Return the product of the numbers e1 and e2.

parseDrvName s

Split the string s into a package name and version. The package name is everything up to but not including the first dash followed by a digit, and the version is everything following that dash. The result is returned in a set { name, version }. Thus, builtins.parseDrvName "nix-0.12pre12876" returns { name = "nix"; version = "0.12pre12876"; }.

partition pred list

Given a predicate function pred, this function returns an attrset containing a list named right, containing the elements in list for which pred returned true, and a list named wrong, containing the elements for which it returned false. For example,

builtins.partition (x: x > 10) [1 23 9 3 42]

evaluates to

{ right = [ 23 42 ]; wrong = [ 1 9 3 ]; }
path args

An enrichment of the built-in path type, based on the attributes present in args. All are optional except path:

  • path
    The underlying path.

  • name
    The name of the path when added to the store. This can used to reference paths that have nix-illegal characters in their names, like @.

  • filter
    A function of the type expected by builtins.filterSource, with the same semantics.

  • recursive
    When false, when path is added to the store it is with a flat hash, rather than a hash of the NAR serialization of the file. Thus, path must refer to a regular file, not a directory. This allows similar behavior to fetchurl. Defaults to true.

  • sha256
    When provided, this is the expected hash of the file at the path. Evaluation will fail if the hash is incorrect, and providing a hash allows builtins.path to be used even when the pure-eval nix config option is on.

pathExists path

Return true if the path path exists at evaluation time, and false otherwise.

placeholder output

Return a placeholder string for the specified output that will be substituted by the corresponding output path at build time. Typical outputs would be "out", "bin" or "dev".

readDir path

Return the contents of the directory path as a set mapping directory entries to the corresponding file type. For instance, if directory A contains a regular file B and another directory C, then builtins.readDir ./A will return the set

{ B = "regular"; C = "directory"; }

The possible values for the file type are "regular", "directory", "symlink" and "unknown".

readFile path

Return the contents of the file path as a string.

removeAttrs set list

Remove the attributes listed in list from set. The attributes don’t have to exist in set. For instance,

removeAttrs { x = 1; y = 2; z = 3; } [ "a" "x" "z" ]

evaluates to { y = 2; }.

replaceStrings from to s

Given string s, replace every occurrence of the strings in from with the corresponding string in to. For example,

builtins.replaceStrings ["oo" "a"] ["a" "i"] "foobar"

evaluates to "fabir".

seq e1 e2

Evaluate e1, then evaluate and return e2. This ensures that a computation is strict in the value of e1.

sort comparator list

Return list in sorted order. It repeatedly calls the function comparator with two elements. The comparator should return true if the first element is less than the second, and false otherwise. For example,

builtins.sort builtins.lessThan [ 483 249 526 147 42 77 ]

produces the list [ 42 77 147 249 483 526 ].

This is a stable sort: it preserves the relative order of elements deemed equal by the comparator.

split regex str

Returns a list composed of non matched strings interleaved with the lists of the extended POSIX regular expression regex matches of str. Each item in the lists of matched sequences is a regex group.

builtins.split "(a)b" "abc"

Evaluates to [ "" [ "a" ] "c" ].

builtins.split "([ac])" "abc"

Evaluates to [ "" [ "a" ] "b" [ "c" ] "" ].

builtins.split "(a)|(c)" "abc"

Evaluates to [ "" [ "a" null ] "b" [ null "c" ] "" ].

builtins.split "([[:upper:]]+)" "  FOO   "

Evaluates to [ " " [ "FOO" ] " " ].

splitVersion s

Split a string representing a version into its components, by the same version splitting logic underlying the version comparison in nix-env -u.

storePath path

This function allows you to define a dependency on an already existing store path. For example, the derivation attribute src = builtins.storePath /nix/store/f1d18v1y…-source causes the derivation to depend on the specified path, which must exist or be substitutable. Note that this differs from a plain path (e.g. src = /nix/store/f1d18v1y…-source) in that the latter causes the path to be copied again to the Nix store, resulting in a new path (e.g. /nix/store/ld01dnzc…-source-source).

This function is not available in pure evaluation mode.

stringLength e

Return the length of the string e. If e is not a string, evaluation is aborted.

sub e1 e2

Return the difference between the numbers e1 and e2.

substring start len s

Return the substring of s from character position start (zero-based) up to but not including start + len. If start is greater than the length of the string, an empty string is returned, and if start + len lies beyond the end of the string, only the substring up to the end of the string is returned. start must be non-negative. For example,

builtins.substring 0 3 "nixos"

evaluates to "nix".

tail list

Return the second to last elements of a list; abort evaluation if the argument isn’t a list or is an empty list.

Warning

This function should generally be avoided since it's inefficient: unlike Haskell's tail, it takes O(n) time, so recursing over a list by repeatedly calling tail takes O(n^2) time.

throw s

Throw an error message s. This usually aborts Nix expression evaluation, but in nix-env -qa and other commands that try to evaluate a set of derivations to get information about those derivations, a derivation that throws an error is silently skipped (which is not the case for abort).

toFile name s

Store the string s in a file in the Nix store and return its path. The file has suffix name. This file can be used as an input to derivations. One application is to write builders “inline”. For instance, the following Nix expression combines the Nix expression for GNU Hello and its build script into one file:

{ stdenv, fetchurl, perl }:

stdenv.mkDerivation {
  name = "hello-2.1.1";

  builder = builtins.toFile "builder.sh" "
    source $stdenv/setup

    PATH=$perl/bin:$PATH

    tar xvfz $src
    cd hello-*
    ./configure --prefix=$out
    make
    make install
  ";

  src = fetchurl {
    url = "http://ftp.nluug.nl/pub/gnu/hello/hello-2.1.1.tar.gz";
    sha256 = "1md7jsfd8pa45z73bz1kszpp01yw6x5ljkjk2hx7wl800any6465";
  };
  inherit perl;
}

It is even possible for one file to refer to another, e.g.,

builder = let
  configFile = builtins.toFile "foo.conf" "
    # This is some dummy configuration file.
    ...
  ";
in builtins.toFile "builder.sh" "
  source $stdenv/setup
  ...
  cp ${configFile} $out/etc/foo.conf
";

Note that ${configFile} is an antiquotation, so the result of the expression configFile (i.e., a path like /nix/store/m7p7jfny445k...-foo.conf) will be spliced into the resulting string.

It is however not allowed to have files mutually referring to each other, like so:

let
  foo = builtins.toFile "foo" "...${bar}...";
  bar = builtins.toFile "bar" "...${foo}...";
in foo

This is not allowed because it would cause a cyclic dependency in the computation of the cryptographic hashes for foo and bar.

It is also not possible to reference the result of a derivation. If you are using Nixpkgs, the writeTextFile function is able to do that.

toJSON e

Return a string containing a JSON representation of e. Strings, integers, floats, booleans, nulls and lists are mapped to their JSON equivalents. Sets (except derivations) are represented as objects. Derivations are translated to a JSON string containing the derivation’s output path. Paths are copied to the store and represented as a JSON string of the resulting store path.

toPath s

DEPRECATED. Use /. + "/path" to convert a string into an absolute path. For relative paths, use ./. + "/path".

toString e

Convert the expression e to a string. e can be:

  • A string (in which case the string is returned unmodified).

  • A path (e.g., toString /foo/bar yields "/foo/bar".

  • A set containing { __toString = self: ...; } or { outPath = ...; }.

  • An integer.

  • A list, in which case the string representations of its elements are joined with spaces.

  • A Boolean (false yields "", true yields "1").

  • null, which yields the empty string.

toXML e

Return a string containing an XML representation of e. The main application for toXML is to communicate information with the builder in a more structured format than plain environment variables.

Here is an example where this is the case:

{ stdenv, fetchurl, libxslt, jira, uberwiki }:

stdenv.mkDerivation (rec {
  name = "web-server";

  buildInputs = [ libxslt ];

  builder = builtins.toFile "builder.sh" "
    source $stdenv/setup
    mkdir $out
    echo "$servlets" | xsltproc ${stylesheet} - > $out/server-conf.xml ①
  ";

  stylesheet = builtins.toFile "stylesheet.xsl" ②
   "<?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
    <xsl:stylesheet xmlns:xsl='http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform' version='1.0'>
      <xsl:template match='/'>
        <Configure>
          <xsl:for-each select='/expr/list/attrs'>
            <Call name='addWebApplication'>
              <Arg><xsl:value-of select=\"attr[@name = 'path']/string/@value\" /></Arg>
              <Arg><xsl:value-of select=\"attr[@name = 'war']/path/@value\" /></Arg>
            </Call>
          </xsl:for-each>
        </Configure>
      </xsl:template>
    </xsl:stylesheet>
  ";

  servlets = builtins.toXML [ ③
    { path = "/bugtracker"; war = jira + "/lib/atlassian-jira.war"; }
    { path = "/wiki"; war = uberwiki + "/uberwiki.war"; }
  ];
})

The builder is supposed to generate the configuration file for a Jetty servlet container. A servlet container contains a number of servlets (*.war files) each exported under a specific URI prefix. So the servlet configuration is a list of sets containing the path and war of the servlet (①). This kind of information is difficult to communicate with the normal method of passing information through an environment variable, which just concatenates everything together into a string (which might just work in this case, but wouldn’t work if fields are optional or contain lists themselves). Instead the Nix expression is converted to an XML representation with toXML, which is unambiguous and can easily be processed with the appropriate tools. For instance, in the example an XSLT stylesheet (at point ②) is applied to it (at point ①) to generate the XML configuration file for the Jetty server. The XML representation produced at point ③ by toXML is as follows:

<?xml version='1.0' encoding='utf-8'?>
<expr>
  <list>
    <attrs>
      <attr name="path">
        <string value="/bugtracker" />
      </attr>
      <attr name="war">
        <path value="/nix/store/d1jh9pasa7k2...-jira/lib/atlassian-jira.war" />
      </attr>
    </attrs>
    <attrs>
      <attr name="path">
        <string value="/wiki" />
      </attr>
      <attr name="war">
        <path value="/nix/store/y6423b1yi4sx...-uberwiki/uberwiki.war" />
      </attr>
    </attrs>
  </list>
</expr>

Note that we used the toFile built-in to write the builder and the stylesheet “inline” in the Nix expression. The path of the stylesheet is spliced into the builder using the syntax xsltproc ${stylesheet}.

trace e1 e2

Evaluate e1 and print its abstract syntax representation on standard error. Then return e2. This function is useful for debugging.

tryEval e

Try to shallowly evaluate e. Return a set containing the attributes success (true if e evaluated successfully, false if an error was thrown) and value, equalling e if successful and false otherwise. tryEval will only prevent errors created by throw or assert from being thrown. Errors tryEval will not catch are for example those created by abort and type errors generated by builtins. Also note that this doesn't evaluate e deeply, so let e = { x = throw ""; }; in (builtins.tryEval e).success will be true. Using builtins.deepSeq one can get the expected result: let e = { x = throw ""; }; in (builtins.tryEval (builtins.deepSeq e e)).success will be false.

typeOf e

Return a string representing the type of the value e, namely "int", "bool", "string", "path", "null", "set", "list", "lambda" or "float".

Remote Builds

Nix supports remote builds, where a local Nix installation can forward Nix builds to other machines. This allows multiple builds to be performed in parallel and allows Nix to perform multi-platform builds in a semi-transparent way. For instance, if you perform a build for a x86_64-darwin on an i686-linux machine, Nix can automatically forward the build to a x86_64-darwin machine, if available.

To forward a build to a remote machine, it’s required that the remote machine is accessible via SSH and that it has Nix installed. You can test whether connecting to the remote Nix instance works, e.g.

$ nix ping-store --store ssh://mac

will try to connect to the machine named mac. It is possible to specify an SSH identity file as part of the remote store URI, e.g.

$ nix ping-store --store ssh://mac?ssh-key=/home/alice/my-key

Since builds should be non-interactive, the key should not have a passphrase. Alternatively, you can load identities ahead of time into ssh-agent or gpg-agent.

If you get the error

bash: nix-store: command not found
error: cannot connect to 'mac'

then you need to ensure that the PATH of non-interactive login shells contains Nix.

Warning

If you are building via the Nix daemon, it is the Nix daemon user account (that is, root) that should have SSH access to the remote machine. If you can’t or don’t want to configure root to be able to access to remote machine, you can use a private Nix store instead by passing e.g. --store ~/my-nix.

The list of remote machines can be specified on the command line or in the Nix configuration file. The former is convenient for testing. For example, the following command allows you to build a derivation for x86_64-darwin on a Linux machine:

$ uname
Linux

$ nix build \
  '(with import <nixpkgs> { system = "x86_64-darwin"; }; runCommand "foo" {} "uname > $out")' \
  --builders 'ssh://mac x86_64-darwin'
[1/0/1 built, 0.0 MiB DL] building foo on ssh://mac

$ cat ./result
Darwin

It is possible to specify multiple builders separated by a semicolon or a newline, e.g.

  --builders 'ssh://mac x86_64-darwin ; ssh://beastie x86_64-freebsd'

Each machine specification consists of the following elements, separated by spaces. Only the first element is required. To leave a field at its default, set it to -.

  1. The URI of the remote store in the format ssh://[username@]hostname, e.g. ssh://nix@mac or ssh://mac. For backward compatibility, ssh:// may be omitted. The hostname may be an alias defined in your ~/.ssh/config.

  2. A comma-separated list of Nix platform type identifiers, such as x86_64-darwin. It is possible for a machine to support multiple platform types, e.g., i686-linux,x86_64-linux. If omitted, this defaults to the local platform type.

  3. The SSH identity file to be used to log in to the remote machine. If omitted, SSH will use its regular identities.

  4. The maximum number of builds that Nix will execute in parallel on the machine. Typically this should be equal to the number of CPU cores. For instance, the machine itchy in the example will execute up to 8 builds in parallel.

  5. The “speed factor”, indicating the relative speed of the machine. If there are multiple machines of the right type, Nix will prefer the fastest, taking load into account.

  6. A comma-separated list of supported features. If a derivation has the requiredSystemFeatures attribute, then Nix will only perform the derivation on a machine that has the specified features. For instance, the attribute

    requiredSystemFeatures = [ "kvm" ];
    

    will cause the build to be performed on a machine that has the kvm feature.

  7. A comma-separated list of mandatory features. A machine will only be used to build a derivation if all of the machine’s mandatory features appear in the derivation’s requiredSystemFeatures attribute..

  8. The (base64-encoded) public host key of the remote machine. If omitted, SSH will use its regular known-hosts file. Specifically, the field is calculated via base64 -w0 /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ed25519_key.pub.

For example, the machine specification

nix@scratchy.labs.cs.uu.nl  i686-linux      /home/nix/.ssh/id_scratchy_auto        8 1 kvm
nix@itchy.labs.cs.uu.nl     i686-linux      /home/nix/.ssh/id_scratchy_auto        8 2
nix@poochie.labs.cs.uu.nl   i686-linux      /home/nix/.ssh/id_scratchy_auto        1 2 kvm benchmark

specifies several machines that can perform i686-linux builds. However, poochie will only do builds that have the attribute

requiredSystemFeatures = [ "benchmark" ];

or

requiredSystemFeatures = [ "benchmark" "kvm" ];

itchy cannot do builds that require kvm, but scratchy does support such builds. For regular builds, itchy will be preferred over scratchy because it has a higher speed factor.

Remote builders can also be configured in nix.conf, e.g.

builders = ssh://mac x86_64-darwin ; ssh://beastie x86_64-freebsd

Finally, remote builders can be configured in a separate configuration file included in builders via the syntax @file. For example,

builders = @/etc/nix/machines

causes the list of machines in /etc/nix/machines to be included. (This is the default.)

If you want the builders to use caches, you likely want to set the option builders-use-substitutes in your local nix.conf.

To build only on remote builders and disable building on the local machine, you can use the option --max-jobs 0.

Tuning Cores and Jobs

Nix has two relevant settings with regards to how your CPU cores will be utilized: cores and max-jobs. This chapter will talk about what they are, how they interact, and their configuration trade-offs.

  • max-jobs
    Dictates how many separate derivations will be built at the same time. If you set this to zero, the local machine will do no builds. Nix will still substitute from binary caches, and build remotely if remote builders are configured.

  • cores
    Suggests how many cores each derivation should use. Similar to make -j.

The cores setting determines the value of NIX_BUILD_CORES. NIX_BUILD_CORES is equal to cores, unless cores equals 0, in which case NIX_BUILD_CORES will be the total number of cores in the system.

The maximum number of consumed cores is a simple multiplication, max-jobs * NIX_BUILD_CORES.

The balance on how to set these two independent variables depends upon each builder's workload and hardware. Here are a few example scenarios on a machine with 24 cores:

max-jobscoresNIX_BUILD_CORESMaximum ProcessesResult
1242424One derivation will be built at a time, each one can use 24 cores. Undersold if a job can’t use 24 cores.
46624Four derivations will be built at once, each given access to six cores.
12667212 derivations will be built at once, each given access to six cores. This configuration is over-sold. If all 12 derivations being built simultaneously try to use all six cores, the machine's performance will be degraded due to extensive context switching between the 12 builds.
24112424 derivations can build at the same time, each using a single core. Never oversold, but derivations which require many cores will be very slow to compile.
2402457624 derivations can build at the same time, each using all the available cores of the machine. Very likely to be oversold, and very likely to suffer context switches.

It is up to the derivations' build script to respect host's requested cores-per-build by following the value of the NIX_BUILD_CORES environment variable.

Verifying Build Reproducibility

You can use Nix's diff-hook setting to compare build results. Note that this hook is only executed if the results differ; it is not used for determining if the results are the same.

For purposes of demonstration, we'll use the following Nix file, deterministic.nix for testing:

let
  inherit (import <nixpkgs> {}) runCommand;
in {
  stable = runCommand "stable" {} ''
    touch $out
  '';

  unstable = runCommand "unstable" {} ''
    echo $RANDOM > $out
  '';
}

Additionally, nix.conf contains:

diff-hook = /etc/nix/my-diff-hook
run-diff-hook = true

where /etc/nix/my-diff-hook is an executable file containing:

#!/bin/sh
exec >&2
echo "For derivation $3:"
/run/current-system/sw/bin/diff -r "$1" "$2"

The diff hook is executed by the same user and group who ran the build. However, the diff hook does not have write access to the store path just built.

Spot-Checking Build Determinism

Verify a path which already exists in the Nix store by passing --check to the build command.

If the build passes and is deterministic, Nix will exit with a status code of 0:

$ nix-build ./deterministic.nix -A stable
this derivation will be built:
  /nix/store/z98fasz2jqy9gs0xbvdj939p27jwda38-stable.drv
building '/nix/store/z98fasz2jqy9gs0xbvdj939p27jwda38-stable.drv'...
/nix/store/yyxlzw3vqaas7wfp04g0b1xg51f2czgq-stable

$ nix-build ./deterministic.nix -A stable --check
checking outputs of '/nix/store/z98fasz2jqy9gs0xbvdj939p27jwda38-stable.drv'...
/nix/store/yyxlzw3vqaas7wfp04g0b1xg51f2czgq-stable

If the build is not deterministic, Nix will exit with a status code of 1:

$ nix-build ./deterministic.nix -A unstable
this derivation will be built:
  /nix/store/cgl13lbj1w368r5z8gywipl1ifli7dhk-unstable.drv
building '/nix/store/cgl13lbj1w368r5z8gywipl1ifli7dhk-unstable.drv'...
/nix/store/krpqk0l9ib0ibi1d2w52z293zw455cap-unstable

$ nix-build ./deterministic.nix -A unstable --check
checking outputs of '/nix/store/cgl13lbj1w368r5z8gywipl1ifli7dhk-unstable.drv'...
error: derivation '/nix/store/cgl13lbj1w368r5z8gywipl1ifli7dhk-unstable.drv' may
not be deterministic: output '/nix/store/krpqk0l9ib0ibi1d2w52z293zw455cap-unstable' differs

In the Nix daemon's log, we will now see:

For derivation /nix/store/cgl13lbj1w368r5z8gywipl1ifli7dhk-unstable.drv:
1c1
< 8108
---
> 30204

Using --check with --keep-failed will cause Nix to keep the second build's output in a special, .check path:

$ nix-build ./deterministic.nix -A unstable --check --keep-failed
checking outputs of '/nix/store/cgl13lbj1w368r5z8gywipl1ifli7dhk-unstable.drv'...
note: keeping build directory '/tmp/nix-build-unstable.drv-0'
error: derivation '/nix/store/cgl13lbj1w368r5z8gywipl1ifli7dhk-unstable.drv' may
not be deterministic: output '/nix/store/krpqk0l9ib0ibi1d2w52z293zw455cap-unstable' differs
from '/nix/store/krpqk0l9ib0ibi1d2w52z293zw455cap-unstable.check'

In particular, notice the /nix/store/krpqk0l9ib0ibi1d2w52z293zw455cap-unstable.check output. Nix has copied the build results to that directory where you can examine it.

Note

Check paths are not protected against garbage collection, and this path will be deleted on the next garbage collection.

The path is guaranteed to be alive for the duration of the diff-hook's execution, but may be deleted any time after.

If the comparison is performed as part of automated tooling, please use the diff-hook or author your tooling to handle the case where the build was not deterministic and also a check path does not exist.

--check is only usable if the derivation has been built on the system already. If the derivation has not been built Nix will fail with the error:

error: some outputs of '/nix/store/hzi1h60z2qf0nb85iwnpvrai3j2w7rr6-unstable.drv' 
are not valid, so checking is not possible

Run the build without --check, and then try with --check again.

Automatic and Optionally Enforced Determinism Verification

Automatically verify every build at build time by executing the build multiple times.

Setting repeat and enforce-determinism in your nix.conf permits the automated verification of every build Nix performs.

The following configuration will run each build three times, and will require the build to be deterministic:

enforce-determinism = true
repeat = 2

Setting enforce-determinism to false as in the following configuration will run the build multiple times, execute the build hook, but will allow the build to succeed even if it does not build reproducibly:

enforce-determinism = false
repeat = 1

An example output of this configuration:

$ nix-build ./test.nix -A unstable
this derivation will be built:
  /nix/store/ch6llwpr2h8c3jmnf3f2ghkhx59aa97f-unstable.drv
building '/nix/store/ch6llwpr2h8c3jmnf3f2ghkhx59aa97f-unstable.drv' (round 1/2)...
building '/nix/store/ch6llwpr2h8c3jmnf3f2ghkhx59aa97f-unstable.drv' (round 2/2)...
output '/nix/store/6xg356v9gl03hpbbg8gws77n19qanh02-unstable' of '/nix/store/ch6llwpr2h8c3jmnf3f2ghkhx59aa97f-unstable.drv' differs from '/nix/store/6xg356v9gl03hpbbg8gws77n19qanh02-unstable.check' from previous round
/nix/store/6xg356v9gl03hpbbg8gws77n19qanh02-unstable

Using the post-build-hook

Implementation Caveats

Here we use the post-build hook to upload to a binary cache. This is a simple and working example, but it is not suitable for all use cases.

The post build hook program runs after each executed build, and blocks the build loop. The build loop exits if the hook program fails.

Concretely, this implementation will make Nix slow or unusable when the internet is slow or unreliable.

A more advanced implementation might pass the store paths to a user-supplied daemon or queue for processing the store paths outside of the build loop.

Prerequisites

This tutorial assumes you have configured an S3-compatible binary cache, and that the root user's default AWS profile can upload to the bucket.

Set up a Signing Key

Use nix-store --generate-binary-cache-key to create our public and private signing keys. We will sign paths with the private key, and distribute the public key for verifying the authenticity of the paths.

# nix-store --generate-binary-cache-key example-nix-cache-1 /etc/nix/key.private /etc/nix/key.public
# cat /etc/nix/key.public
example-nix-cache-1:1/cKDz3QCCOmwcztD2eV6Coggp6rqc9DGjWv7C0G+rM=

Then, add the public key and the cache URL to your nix.conf's trusted-public-keys and substituters options:

substituters = https://cache.nixos.org/ s3://example-nix-cache
trusted-public-keys = cache.nixos.org-1:6NCHdD59X431o0gWypbMrAURkbJ16ZPMQFGspcDShjY= example-nix-cache-1:1/cKDz3QCCOmwcztD2eV6Coggp6rqc9DGjWv7C0G+rM=

We will restart the Nix daemon in a later step.

Implementing the build hook

Write the following script to /etc/nix/upload-to-cache.sh:

#!/bin/sh

set -eu
set -f # disable globbing
export IFS=' '

echo "Signing paths" $OUT_PATHS
nix store sign --key-file /etc/nix/key.private $OUT_PATHS
echo "Uploading paths" $OUT_PATHS
exec nix copy --to 's3://example-nix-cache' $OUT_PATHS

Note

The $OUT_PATHS variable is a space-separated list of Nix store paths. In this case, we expect and want the shell to perform word splitting to make each output path its own argument to nix store sign. Nix guarantees the paths will not contain any spaces, however a store path might contain glob characters. The set -f disables globbing in the shell.

Then make sure the hook program is executable by the root user:

# chmod +x /etc/nix/upload-to-cache.sh

Updating Nix Configuration

Edit /etc/nix/nix.conf to run our hook, by adding the following configuration snippet at the end:

post-build-hook = /etc/nix/upload-to-cache.sh

Then, restart the nix-daemon.

Testing

Build any derivation, for example:

$ nix-build -E '(import <nixpkgs> {}).writeText "example" (builtins.toString builtins.currentTime)'
this derivation will be built:
  /nix/store/s4pnfbkalzy5qz57qs6yybna8wylkig6-example.drv
building '/nix/store/s4pnfbkalzy5qz57qs6yybna8wylkig6-example.drv'...
running post-build-hook '/home/grahamc/projects/github.com/NixOS/nix/post-hook.sh'...
post-build-hook: Signing paths /nix/store/ibcyipq5gf91838ldx40mjsp0b8w9n18-example
post-build-hook: Uploading paths /nix/store/ibcyipq5gf91838ldx40mjsp0b8w9n18-example
/nix/store/ibcyipq5gf91838ldx40mjsp0b8w9n18-example

Then delete the path from the store, and try substituting it from the binary cache:

$ rm ./result
$ nix-store --delete /nix/store/ibcyipq5gf91838ldx40mjsp0b8w9n18-example

Now, copy the path back from the cache:

$ nix-store --realise /nix/store/ibcyipq5gf91838ldx40mjsp0b8w9n18-example
copying path '/nix/store/m8bmqwrch6l3h8s0k3d673xpmipcdpsa-example from 's3://example-nix-cache'...
warning: you did not specify '--add-root'; the result might be removed by the garbage collector
/nix/store/m8bmqwrch6l3h8s0k3d673xpmipcdpsa-example

Conclusion

We now have a Nix installation configured to automatically sign and upload every local build to a remote binary cache.

Before deploying this to production, be sure to consider the implementation caveats.

This section lists commands and options that you can use when you work with Nix.

Common Options

Most Nix commands accept the following command-line options:

  • --help
    Prints out a summary of the command syntax and exits.

  • --version
    Prints out the Nix version number on standard output and exits.

  • --verbose / -v
    Increases the level of verbosity of diagnostic messages printed on standard error. For each Nix operation, the information printed on standard output is well-defined; any diagnostic information is printed on standard error, never on standard output.

    This option may be specified repeatedly. Currently, the following verbosity levels exist:

    • 0
      “Errors only”: only print messages explaining why the Nix invocation failed.

    • 1
      “Informational”: print useful messages about what Nix is doing. This is the default.

    • 2
      “Talkative”: print more informational messages.

    • 3
      “Chatty”: print even more informational messages.

    • 4
      “Debug”: print debug information.

    • 5
      “Vomit”: print vast amounts of debug information.

  • --quiet
    Decreases the level of verbosity of diagnostic messages printed on standard error. This is the inverse option to -v / --verbose.

    This option may be specified repeatedly. See the previous verbosity levels list.

  • --log-format format
    This option can be used to change the output of the log format, with format being one of:

    • raw
      This is the raw format, as outputted by nix-build.

    • internal-json
      Outputs the logs in a structured manner.

      Warning

      While the schema itself is relatively stable, the format of the error-messages (namely of the msg-field) can change between releases.

    • bar
      Only display a progress bar during the builds.

    • bar-with-logs
      Display the raw logs, with the progress bar at the bottom.

  • --no-build-output / -Q
    By default, output written by builders to standard output and standard error is echoed to the Nix command's standard error. This option suppresses this behaviour. Note that the builder's standard output and error are always written to a log file in prefix/nix/var/log/nix.

  • --max-jobs / -j number
    Sets the maximum number of build jobs that Nix will perform in parallel to the specified number. Specify auto to use the number of CPUs in the system. The default is specified by the max-jobs configuration setting, which itself defaults to 1. A higher value is useful on SMP systems or to exploit I/O latency.

    Setting it to 0 disallows building on the local machine, which is useful when you want builds to happen only on remote builders.

  • --cores
    Sets the value of the NIX_BUILD_CORES environment variable in the invocation of builders. Builders can use this variable at their discretion to control the maximum amount of parallelism. For instance, in Nixpkgs, if the derivation attribute enableParallelBuilding is set to true, the builder passes the -jN flag to GNU Make. It defaults to the value of the cores configuration setting, if set, or 1 otherwise. The value 0 means that the builder should use all available CPU cores in the system.

  • --max-silent-time
    Sets the maximum number of seconds that a builder can go without producing any data on standard output or standard error. The default is specified by the max-silent-time configuration setting. 0 means no time-out.

  • --timeout
    Sets the maximum number of seconds that a builder can run. The default is specified by the timeout configuration setting. 0 means no timeout.

  • --keep-going / -k
    Keep going in case of failed builds, to the greatest extent possible. That is, if building an input of some derivation fails, Nix will still build the other inputs, but not the derivation itself. Without this option, Nix stops if any build fails (except for builds of substitutes), possibly killing builds in progress (in case of parallel or distributed builds).

  • --keep-failed / -K
    Specifies that in case of a build failure, the temporary directory (usually in /tmp) in which the build takes place should not be deleted. The path of the build directory is printed as an informational message.

  • --fallback
    Whenever Nix attempts to build a derivation for which substitutes are known for each output path, but realising the output paths through the substitutes fails, fall back on building the derivation.

    The most common scenario in which this is useful is when we have registered substitutes in order to perform binary distribution from, say, a network repository. If the repository is down, the realisation of the derivation will fail. When this option is specified, Nix will build the derivation instead. Thus, installation from binaries falls back on installation from source. This option is not the default since it is generally not desirable for a transient failure in obtaining the substitutes to lead to a full build from source (with the related consumption of resources).

  • --readonly-mode
    When this option is used, no attempt is made to open the Nix database. Most Nix operations do need database access, so those operations will fail.

  • --arg name value
    This option is accepted by nix-env, nix-instantiate, nix-shell and nix-build. When evaluating Nix expressions, the expression evaluator will automatically try to call functions that it encounters. It can automatically call functions for which every argument has a default value (e.g., { argName ? defaultValue }: ...). With --arg, you can also call functions that have arguments without a default value (or override a default value). That is, if the evaluator encounters a function with an argument named name, it will call it with value value.

    For instance, the top-level default.nix in Nixpkgs is actually a function:

    { # The system (e.g., `i686-linux') for which to build the packages.
      system ? builtins.currentSystem
      ...
    }: ...
    

    So if you call this Nix expression (e.g., when you do nix-env -i pkgname), the function will be called automatically using the value builtins.currentSystem for the system argument. You can override this using --arg, e.g., nix-env -i pkgname --arg system \"i686-freebsd\". (Note that since the argument is a Nix string literal, you have to escape the quotes.)

  • --argstr name value
    This option is like --arg, only the value is not a Nix expression but a string. So instead of --arg system "i686-linux" (the outer quotes are to keep the shell happy) you can say --argstr system i686-linux.

  • --attr / -A attrPath
    Select an attribute from the top-level Nix expression being evaluated. (nix-env, nix-instantiate, nix-build and nix-shell only.) The attribute path attrPath is a sequence of attribute names separated by dots. For instance, given a top-level Nix expression e, the attribute path xorg.xorgserver would cause the expression e.xorg.xorgserver to be used. See nix-env --install for some concrete examples.

    In addition to attribute names, you can also specify array indices. For instance, the attribute path foo.3.bar selects the bar attribute of the fourth element of the array in the foo attribute of the top-level expression.

  • --expr / -E
    Interpret the command line arguments as a list of Nix expressions to be parsed and evaluated, rather than as a list of file names of Nix expressions. (nix-instantiate, nix-build and nix-shell only.)

    For nix-shell, this option is commonly used to give you a shell in which you can build the packages returned by the expression. If you want to get a shell which contain the built packages ready for use, give your expression to the nix-shell -p convenience flag instead.

  • -I path
    Add a path to the Nix expression search path. This option may be given multiple times. See the NIX_PATH environment variable for information on the semantics of the Nix search path. Paths added through -I take precedence over NIX_PATH.

  • --option name value
    Set the Nix configuration option name to value. This overrides settings in the Nix configuration file (see nix.conf5).

  • --repair
    Fix corrupted or missing store paths by redownloading or rebuilding them. Note that this is slow because it requires computing a cryptographic hash of the contents of every path in the closure of the build. Also note the warning under nix-store --repair-path.

Common Environment Variables

Most Nix commands interpret the following environment variables:

  • IN_NIX_SHELL
    Indicator that tells if the current environment was set up by nix-shell. Since Nix 2.0 the values are "pure" and "impure"

  • NIX_PATH
    A colon-separated list of directories used to look up Nix expressions enclosed in angle brackets (i.e., <path>). For instance, the value

    /home/eelco/Dev:/etc/nixos
    

    will cause Nix to look for paths relative to /home/eelco/Dev and /etc/nixos, in this order. It is also possible to match paths against a prefix. For example, the value

    nixpkgs=/home/eelco/Dev/nixpkgs-branch:/etc/nixos
    

    will cause Nix to search for <nixpkgs/path> in /home/eelco/Dev/nixpkgs-branch/path and /etc/nixos/nixpkgs/path.

    If a path in the Nix search path starts with http:// or https://, it is interpreted as the URL of a tarball that will be downloaded and unpacked to a temporary location. The tarball must consist of a single top-level directory. For example, setting NIX_PATH to

    nixpkgs=https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/archive/master.tar.gz
    

    tells Nix to download and use the current contents of the master branch in the nixpkgs repository.

    The URLs of the tarballs from the official nixos.org channels (see the manual for nix-channel) can be abbreviated as channel:<channel-name>. For instance, the following two values of NIX_PATH are equivalent:

    nixpkgs=channel:nixos-21.05
    nixpkgs=https://nixos.org/channels/nixos-21.05/nixexprs.tar.xz
    

    The Nix search path can also be extended using the -I option to many Nix commands, which takes precedence over NIX_PATH.

  • NIX_IGNORE_SYMLINK_STORE
    Normally, the Nix store directory (typically /nix/store) is not allowed to contain any symlink components. This is to prevent “impure” builds. Builders sometimes “canonicalise” paths by resolving all symlink components. Thus, builds on different machines (with /nix/store resolving to different locations) could yield different results. This is generally not a problem, except when builds are deployed to machines where /nix/store resolves differently. If you are sure that you’re not going to do that, you can set NIX_IGNORE_SYMLINK_STORE to 1.

    Note that if you’re symlinking the Nix store so that you can put it on another file system than the root file system, on Linux you’re better off using bind mount points, e.g.,

    $ mkdir /nix
    $ mount -o bind /mnt/otherdisk/nix /nix
    

    Consult the mount 8 manual page for details.

  • NIX_STORE_DIR
    Overrides the location of the Nix store (default prefix/store).

  • NIX_DATA_DIR
    Overrides the location of the Nix static data directory (default prefix/share).

  • NIX_LOG_DIR
    Overrides the location of the Nix log directory (default prefix/var/log/nix).

  • NIX_STATE_DIR
    Overrides the location of the Nix state directory (default prefix/var/nix).

  • NIX_CONF_DIR
    Overrides the location of the system Nix configuration directory (default prefix/etc/nix).

  • NIX_CONFIG
    Applies settings from Nix configuration from the environment. The content is treated as if it was read from a Nix configuration file. Settings are separated by the newline character.

  • NIX_USER_CONF_FILES
    Overrides the location of the user Nix configuration files to load from (defaults to the XDG spec locations). The variable is treated as a list separated by the : token.

  • TMPDIR
    Use the specified directory to store temporary files. In particular, this includes temporary build directories; these can take up substantial amounts of disk space. The default is /tmp.

  • NIX_REMOTE
    This variable should be set to daemon if you want to use the Nix daemon to execute Nix operations. This is necessary in multi-user Nix installations. If the Nix daemon's Unix socket is at some non-standard path, this variable should be set to unix://path/to/socket. Otherwise, it should be left unset.

  • NIX_SHOW_STATS
    If set to 1, Nix will print some evaluation statistics, such as the number of values allocated.

  • NIX_COUNT_CALLS
    If set to 1, Nix will print how often functions were called during Nix expression evaluation. This is useful for profiling your Nix expressions.

  • GC_INITIAL_HEAP_SIZE
    If Nix has been configured to use the Boehm garbage collector, this variable sets the initial size of the heap in bytes. It defaults to 384 MiB. Setting it to a low value reduces memory consumption, but will increase runtime due to the overhead of garbage collection.

Main Commands

This section lists commands and options that you can use when you work with Nix.

Name

nix-env - manipulate or query Nix user environments

Synopsis

nix-env [--option name value] [--arg name value] [--argstr name value] [{--file | -f} path] [{--profile | -p} *path(] [--system-filter system] [--dry-run] operation [options…] [arguments…]

Description

The command nix-env is used to manipulate Nix user environments. User environments are sets of software packages available to a user at some point in time. In other words, they are a synthesised view of the programs available in the Nix store. There may be many user environments: different users can have different environments, and individual users can switch between different environments.

nix-env takes exactly one operation flag which indicates the subcommand to be performed. These are documented below.

Selectors

Several commands, such as nix-env -q and nix-env -i, take a list of arguments that specify the packages on which to operate. These are extended regular expressions that must match the entire name of the package. (For details on regular expressions, see regex7.) The match is case-sensitive. The regular expression can optionally be followed by a dash and a version number; if omitted, any version of the package will match. Here are some examples:

  • firefox
    Matches the package name firefox and any version.

  • firefox-32.0
    Matches the package name firefox and version 32.0.

  • gtk\\+
    Matches the package name gtk+. The + character must be escaped using a backslash to prevent it from being interpreted as a quantifier, and the backslash must be escaped in turn with another backslash to ensure that the shell passes it on.

  • .\*
    Matches any package name. This is the default for most commands.

  • '.*zip.*'
    Matches any package name containing the string zip. Note the dots: '*zip*' does not work, because in a regular expression, the character * is interpreted as a quantifier.

  • '.*(firefox|chromium).*'
    Matches any package name containing the strings firefox or chromium.

Common options

This section lists the options that are common to all operations. These options are allowed for every subcommand, though they may not always have an effect.

  • --file / -f path
    Specifies the Nix expression (designated below as the active Nix expression) used by the --install, --upgrade, and --query --available operations to obtain derivations. The default is ~/.nix-defexpr.

    If the argument starts with http:// or https://, it is interpreted as the URL of a tarball that will be downloaded and unpacked to a temporary location. The tarball must include a single top-level directory containing at least a file named default.nix.

  • --profile / -p path
    Specifies the profile to be used by those operations that operate on a profile (designated below as the active profile). A profile is a sequence of user environments called generations, one of which is the current generation.

  • --dry-run
    For the --install, --upgrade, --uninstall, --switch-generation, --delete-generations and --rollback operations, this flag will cause nix-env to print what would be done if this flag had not been specified, without actually doing it.

    --dry-run also prints out which paths will be substituted (i.e., downloaded) and which paths will be built from source (because no substitute is available).

  • --system-filter system
    By default, operations such as --query --available show derivations matching any platform. This option allows you to use derivations for the specified platform system.

Files

  • ~/.nix-defexpr
    The source for the default Nix expressions used by the --install, --upgrade, and --query --available operations to obtain derivations. The --file option may be used to override this default.

    If ~/.nix-defexpr is a file, it is loaded as a Nix expression. If the expression is a set, it is used as the default Nix expression. If the expression is a function, an empty set is passed as argument and the return value is used as the default Nix expression.

    If ~/.nix-defexpr is a directory containing a default.nix file, that file is loaded as in the above paragraph.

    If ~/.nix-defexpr is a directory without a default.nix file, then its contents (both files and subdirectories) are loaded as Nix expressions. The expressions are combined into a single set, each expression under an attribute with the same name as the original file or subdirectory.

    For example, if ~/.nix-defexpr contains two files, foo.nix and bar.nix, then the default Nix expression will essentially be

    {
      foo = import ~/.nix-defexpr/foo.nix;
      bar = import ~/.nix-defexpr/bar.nix;
    }
    

    The file manifest.nix is always ignored. Subdirectories without a default.nix file are traversed recursively in search of more Nix expressions, but the names of these intermediate directories are not added to the attribute paths of the default Nix expression.

    The command nix-channel places symlinks to the downloaded Nix expressions from each subscribed channel in this directory.

  • ~/.nix-profile
    A symbolic link to the user's current profile. By default, this symlink points to prefix/var/nix/profiles/default. The PATH environment variable should include ~/.nix-profile/bin for the user environment to be visible to the user.

Operation --install

Synopsis

nix-env {--install | -i} args… [{--prebuilt-only | -b}] [{--attr | -A}] [--from-expression] [-E] [--from-profile path] [--preserve-installed | -P] [--remove-all | -r]

Description

The install operation creates a new user environment, based on the current generation of the active profile, to which a set of store paths described by args is added. The arguments args map to store paths in a number of possible ways:

  • By default, args is a set of derivation names denoting derivations in the active Nix expression. These are realised, and the resulting output paths are installed. Currently installed derivations with a name equal to the name of a derivation being added are removed unless the option --preserve-installed is specified.

    If there are multiple derivations matching a name in args that have the same name (e.g., gcc-3.3.6 and gcc-4.1.1), then the derivation with the highest priority is used. A derivation can define a priority by declaring the meta.priority attribute. This attribute should be a number, with a higher value denoting a lower priority. The default priority is 0.

    If there are multiple matching derivations with the same priority, then the derivation with the highest version will be installed.

    You can force the installation of multiple derivations with the same name by being specific about the versions. For instance, nix-env -i gcc-3.3.6 gcc-4.1.1 will install both version of GCC (and will probably cause a user environment conflict!).

  • If --attr (-A) is specified, the arguments are attribute paths that select attributes from the top-level Nix expression. This is faster than using derivation names and unambiguous. To find out the attribute paths of available packages, use nix-env -qaP.

  • If --from-profile path is given, args is a set of names denoting installed store paths in the profile path. This is an easy way to copy user environment elements from one profile to another.

  • If --from-expression is given, args are Nix functions that are called with the active Nix expression as their single argument. The derivations returned by those function calls are installed. This allows derivations to be specified in an unambiguous way, which is necessary if there are multiple derivations with the same name.

  • If args are store derivations, then these are realised, and the resulting output paths are installed.

  • If args are store paths that are not store derivations, then these are realised and installed.

  • By default all outputs are installed for each derivation. That can be reduced by setting meta.outputsToInstall.

Flags

  • --prebuilt-only / -b
    Use only derivations for which a substitute is registered, i.e., there is a pre-built binary available that can be downloaded in lieu of building the derivation. Thus, no packages will be built from source.

  • --preserve-installed; -P
    Do not remove derivations with a name matching one of the derivations being installed. Usually, trying to have two versions of the same package installed in the same generation of a profile will lead to an error in building the generation, due to file name clashes between the two versions. However, this is not the case for all packages.

  • --remove-all; -r
    Remove all previously installed packages first. This is equivalent to running nix-env -e '.*' first, except that everything happens in a single transaction.

Examples

To install a specific version of gcc from the active Nix expression:

$ nix-env --install gcc-3.3.2
installing `gcc-3.3.2'
uninstalling `gcc-3.1'

Note the previously installed version is removed, since --preserve-installed was not specified.

To install an arbitrary version:

$ nix-env --install gcc
installing `gcc-3.3.2'

To install using a specific attribute:

$ nix-env -i -A gcc40mips
$ nix-env -i -A xorg.xorgserver

To install all derivations in the Nix expression foo.nix:

$ nix-env -f ~/foo.nix -i '.*'

To copy the store path with symbolic name gcc from another profile:

$ nix-env -i --from-profile /nix/var/nix/profiles/foo gcc

To install a specific store derivation (typically created by nix-instantiate):

$ nix-env -i /nix/store/fibjb1bfbpm5mrsxc4mh2d8n37sxh91i-gcc-3.4.3.drv

To install a specific output path:

$ nix-env -i /nix/store/y3cgx0xj1p4iv9x0pnnmdhr8iyg741vk-gcc-3.4.3

To install from a Nix expression specified on the command-line:

$ nix-env -f ./foo.nix -i -E \
    'f: (f {system = "i686-linux";}).subversionWithJava'

I.e., this evaluates to (f: (f {system = "i686-linux";}).subversionWithJava) (import ./foo.nix), thus selecting the subversionWithJava attribute from the set returned by calling the function defined in ./foo.nix.

A dry-run tells you which paths will be downloaded or built from source:

$ nix-env -f '<nixpkgs>' -iA hello --dry-run
(dry run; not doing anything)
installing ‘hello-2.10’
this path will be fetched (0.04 MiB download, 0.19 MiB unpacked):
  /nix/store/wkhdf9jinag5750mqlax6z2zbwhqb76n-hello-2.10
  ...

To install Firefox from the latest revision in the Nixpkgs/NixOS 14.12 channel:

$ nix-env -f https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/archive/nixos-14.12.tar.gz -iA firefox

Operation --upgrade

Synopsis

nix-env {--upgrade | -u} args [--lt | --leq | --eq | --always] [{--prebuilt-only | -b}] [{--attr | -A}] [--from-expression] [-E] [--from-profile path] [--preserve-installed | -P]

Description

The upgrade operation creates a new user environment, based on the current generation of the active profile, in which all store paths are replaced for which there are newer versions in the set of paths described by args. Paths for which there are no newer versions are left untouched; this is not an error. It is also not an error if an element of args matches no installed derivations.

For a description of how args is mapped to a set of store paths, see --install. If args describes multiple store paths with the same symbolic name, only the one with the highest version is installed.

Flags

  • --lt
    Only upgrade a derivation to newer versions. This is the default.

  • --leq
    In addition to upgrading to newer versions, also “upgrade” to derivations that have the same version. Version are not a unique identification of a derivation, so there may be many derivations that have the same version. This flag may be useful to force “synchronisation” between the installed and available derivations.

  • --eq
    Only “upgrade” to derivations that have the same version. This may not seem very useful, but it actually is, e.g., when there is a new release of Nixpkgs and you want to replace installed applications with the same versions built against newer dependencies (to reduce the number of dependencies floating around on your system).

  • --always
    In addition to upgrading to newer versions, also “upgrade” to derivations that have the same or a lower version. I.e., derivations may actually be downgraded depending on what is available in the active Nix expression.

For the other flags, see --install.

Examples

$ nix-env --upgrade gcc
upgrading `gcc-3.3.1' to `gcc-3.4'
$ nix-env -u gcc-3.3.2 --always (switch to a specific version)
upgrading `gcc-3.4' to `gcc-3.3.2'
$ nix-env --upgrade pan
(no upgrades available, so nothing happens)
$ nix-env -u (try to upgrade everything)
upgrading `hello-2.1.2' to `hello-2.1.3'
upgrading `mozilla-1.2' to `mozilla-1.4'

Versions

The upgrade operation determines whether a derivation y is an upgrade of a derivation x by looking at their respective name attributes. The names (e.g., gcc-3.3.1 are split into two parts: the package name (gcc), and the version (3.3.1). The version part starts after the first dash not followed by a letter. x is considered an upgrade of y if their package names match, and the version of y is higher that that of x.

The versions are compared by splitting them into contiguous components of numbers and letters. E.g., 3.3.1pre5 is split into [3, 3, 1, "pre", 5]. These lists are then compared lexicographically (from left to right). Corresponding components a and b are compared as follows. If they are both numbers, integer comparison is used. If a is an empty string and b is a number, a is considered less than b. The special string component pre (for pre-release) is considered to be less than other components. String components are considered less than number components. Otherwise, they are compared lexicographically (i.e., using case-sensitive string comparison).

This is illustrated by the following examples:

1.0 < 2.3
2.1 < 2.3
2.3 = 2.3
2.5 > 2.3
3.1 > 2.3
2.3.1 > 2.3
2.3.1 > 2.3a
2.3pre1 < 2.3
2.3pre3 < 2.3pre12
2.3a < 2.3c
2.3pre1 < 2.3c
2.3pre1 < 2.3q

Operation --uninstall

Synopsis

nix-env {--uninstall | -e} drvnames…

Description

The uninstall operation creates a new user environment, based on the current generation of the active profile, from which the store paths designated by the symbolic names drvnames are removed.

Examples

$ nix-env --uninstall gcc
$ nix-env -e '.*' (remove everything)

Operation --set

Synopsis

nix-env --set drvname

Description

The --set operation modifies the current generation of a profile so that it contains exactly the specified derivation, and nothing else.

Examples

The following updates a profile such that its current generation will contain just Firefox:

$ nix-env -p /nix/var/nix/profiles/browser --set firefox

Operation --set-flag

Synopsis

nix-env --set-flag name value drvnames

Description

The --set-flag operation allows meta attributes of installed packages to be modified. There are several attributes that can be usefully modified, because they affect the behaviour of nix-env or the user environment build script:

  • priority can be changed to resolve filename clashes. The user environment build script uses the meta.priority attribute of derivations to resolve filename collisions between packages. Lower priority values denote a higher priority. For instance, the GCC wrapper package and the Binutils package in Nixpkgs both have a file bin/ld, so previously if you tried to install both you would get a collision. Now, on the other hand, the GCC wrapper declares a higher priority than Binutils, so the former’s bin/ld is symlinked in the user environment.

  • keep can be set to true to prevent the package from being upgraded or replaced. This is useful if you want to hang on to an older version of a package.

  • active can be set to false to “disable” the package. That is, no symlinks will be generated to the files of the package, but it remains part of the profile (so it won’t be garbage-collected). It can be set back to true to re-enable the package.

Examples

To prevent the currently installed Firefox from being upgraded:

$ nix-env --set-flag keep true firefox

After this, nix-env -u will ignore Firefox.

To disable the currently installed Firefox, then install a new Firefox while the old remains part of the profile:

$ nix-env -q
firefox-2.0.0.9 (the current one)

$ nix-env --preserve-installed -i firefox-2.0.0.11
installing `firefox-2.0.0.11'
building path(s) `/nix/store/myy0y59q3ig70dgq37jqwg1j0rsapzsl-user-environment'
collision between `/nix/store/...-firefox-2.0.0.11/bin/firefox'
  and `/nix/store/...-firefox-2.0.0.9/bin/firefox'.
(i.e., can’t have two active at the same time)

$ nix-env --set-flag active false firefox
setting flag on `firefox-2.0.0.9'

$ nix-env --preserve-installed -i firefox-2.0.0.11
installing `firefox-2.0.0.11'

$ nix-env -q
firefox-2.0.0.11 (the enabled one)
firefox-2.0.0.9 (the disabled one)

To make files from binutils take precedence over files from gcc:

$ nix-env --set-flag priority 5 binutils
$ nix-env --set-flag priority 10 gcc

Operation --query

Synopsis

nix-env {--query | -q} names… [--installed | --available | -a] [{--status | -s}] [{--attr-path | -P}] [--no-name] [{--compare-versions | -c}] [--system] [--drv-path] [--out-path] [--description] [--meta] [--xml] [--json] [{--prebuilt-only | -b}] [{--attr | -A} attribute-path]

Description

The query operation displays information about either the store paths that are installed in the current generation of the active profile (--installed), or the derivations that are available for installation in the active Nix expression (--available). It only prints information about derivations whose symbolic name matches one of names.

The derivations are sorted by their name attributes.

Source selection

The following flags specify the set of things on which the query operates.

  • --installed
    The query operates on the store paths that are installed in the current generation of the active profile. This is the default.

  • --available; -a
    The query operates on the derivations that are available in the active Nix expression.

Queries

The following flags specify what information to display about the selected derivations. Multiple flags may be specified, in which case the information is shown in the order given here. Note that the name of the derivation is shown unless --no-name is specified.

  • --xml
    Print the result in an XML representation suitable for automatic processing by other tools. The root element is called items, which contains a item element for each available or installed derivation. The fields discussed below are all stored in attributes of the item elements.

  • --json
    Print the result in a JSON representation suitable for automatic processing by other tools.

  • --prebuilt-only / -b
    Show only derivations for which a substitute is registered, i.e., there is a pre-built binary available that can be downloaded in lieu of building the derivation. Thus, this shows all packages that probably can be installed quickly.

  • --status; -s
    Print the status of the derivation. The status consists of three characters. The first is I or -, indicating whether the derivation is currently installed in the current generation of the active profile. This is by definition the case for --installed, but not for --available. The second is P or -, indicating whether the derivation is present on the system. This indicates whether installation of an available derivation will require the derivation to be built. The third is S or -, indicating whether a substitute is available for the derivation.

  • --attr-path; -P
    Print the attribute path of the derivation, which can be used to unambiguously select it using the --attr option available in commands that install derivations like nix-env --install. This option only works together with --available

  • --no-name
    Suppress printing of the name attribute of each derivation.

  • --compare-versions / -c
    Compare installed versions to available versions, or vice versa (if --available is given). This is useful for quickly seeing whether upgrades for installed packages are available in a Nix expression. A column is added with the following meaning:

    • < version
      A newer version of the package is available or installed.

    • = version
      At most the same version of the package is available or installed.

    • > version
      Only older versions of the package are available or installed.

    • - ?
      No version of the package is available or installed.

  • --system
    Print the system attribute of the derivation.

  • --drv-path
    Print the path of the store derivation.

  • --out-path
    Print the output path of the derivation.

  • --description
    Print a short (one-line) description of the derivation, if available. The description is taken from the meta.description attribute of the derivation.

  • --meta
    Print all of the meta-attributes of the derivation. This option is only available with --xml or --json.

Examples

To show installed packages:

$ nix-env -q
bison-1.875c
docbook-xml-4.2
firefox-1.0.4
MPlayer-1.0pre7
ORBit2-2.8.3
…

To show available packages:

$ nix-env -qa
firefox-1.0.7
GConf-2.4.0.1
MPlayer-1.0pre7
ORBit2-2.8.3
…

To show the status of available packages:

$ nix-env -qas
-P- firefox-1.0.7   (not installed but present)
--S GConf-2.4.0.1   (not present, but there is a substitute for fast installation)
--S MPlayer-1.0pre3 (i.e., this is not the installed MPlayer, even though the version is the same!)
IP- ORBit2-2.8.3    (installed and by definition present)
…

To show available packages in the Nix expression foo.nix:

$ nix-env -f ./foo.nix -qa
foo-1.2.3

To compare installed versions to what’s available:

$ nix-env -qc
...
acrobat-reader-7.0 - ?      (package is not available at all)
autoconf-2.59      = 2.59   (same version)
firefox-1.0.4      < 1.0.7  (a more recent version is available)
...

To show all packages with “zip” in the name:

$ nix-env -qa '.*zip.*'
bzip2-1.0.6
gzip-1.6
zip-3.0
…

To show all packages with “firefox” or “chromium” in the name:

$ nix-env -qa '.*(firefox|chromium).*'
chromium-37.0.2062.94
chromium-beta-38.0.2125.24
firefox-32.0.3
firefox-with-plugins-13.0.1
…

To show all packages in the latest revision of the Nixpkgs repository:

$ nix-env -f https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/archive/master.tar.gz -qa

Operation --switch-profile

Synopsis

nix-env {--switch-profile | -S} path

Description

This operation makes path the current profile for the user. That is, the symlink ~/.nix-profile is made to point to path.

Examples

$ nix-env -S ~/my-profile

Operation --list-generations

Synopsis

nix-env --list-generations

Description

This operation print a list of all the currently existing generations for the active profile. These may be switched to using the --switch-generation operation. It also prints the creation date of the generation, and indicates the current generation.

Examples

$ nix-env --list-generations
  95   2004-02-06 11:48:24
  96   2004-02-06 11:49:01
  97   2004-02-06 16:22:45
  98   2004-02-06 16:24:33   (current)

Operation --delete-generations

Synopsis

nix-env --delete-generations generations

Description

This operation deletes the specified generations of the current profile. The generations can be a list of generation numbers, the special value old to delete all non-current generations, a value such as 30d to delete all generations older than the specified number of days (except for the generation that was active at that point in time), or a value such as +5 to keep the last 5 generations ignoring any newer than current, e.g., if 30 is the current generation +5 will delete generation 25 and all older generations. Periodically deleting old generations is important to make garbage collection effective.

Examples

$ nix-env --delete-generations 3 4 8
$ nix-env --delete-generations +5
$ nix-env --delete-generations 30d
$ nix-env -p other_profile --delete-generations old

Operation --switch-generation

Synopsis

nix-env {--switch-generation | -G} generation

Description

This operation makes generation number generation the current generation of the active profile. That is, if the profile is the path to the active profile, then the symlink profile is made to point to profile-generation-link, which is in turn a symlink to the actual user environment in the Nix store.

Switching will fail if the specified generation does not exist.

Examples

$ nix-env -G 42
switching from generation 50 to 42

Operation --rollback

Synopsis

nix-env --rollback

Description

This operation switches to the “previous” generation of the active profile, that is, the highest numbered generation lower than the current generation, if it exists. It is just a convenience wrapper around --list-generations and --switch-generation.

Examples

$ nix-env --rollback
switching from generation 92 to 91
$ nix-env --rollback
error: no generation older than the current (91) exists

Environment variables

  • NIX_PROFILE
    Location of the Nix profile. Defaults to the target of the symlink ~/.nix-profile, if it exists, or /nix/var/nix/profiles/default otherwise.

Name

nix-build - build a Nix expression

Synopsis

nix-build [paths…] [--arg name value] [--argstr name value] [{--attr | -A} attrPath] [--no-out-link] [--dry-run] [{--out-link | -o} outlink]

Description

The nix-build command builds the derivations described by the Nix expressions in paths. If the build succeeds, it places a symlink to the result in the current directory. The symlink is called result. If there are multiple Nix expressions, or the Nix expressions evaluate to multiple derivations, multiple sequentially numbered symlinks are created (result, result-2, and so on).

If no paths are specified, then nix-build will use default.nix in the current directory, if it exists.

If an element of paths starts with http:// or https://, it is interpreted as the URL of a tarball that will be downloaded and unpacked to a temporary location. The tarball must include a single top-level directory containing at least a file named default.nix.

nix-build is essentially a wrapper around nix-instantiate (to translate a high-level Nix expression to a low-level store derivation) and nix-store --realise (to build the store derivation).

Warning

The result of the build is automatically registered as a root of the Nix garbage collector. This root disappears automatically when the result symlink is deleted or renamed. So don’t rename the symlink.

Options

All options not listed here are passed to nix-store --realise, except for --arg and --attr / -A which are passed to nix-instantiate.

  • --no-out-link
    Do not create a symlink to the output path. Note that as a result the output does not become a root of the garbage collector, and so might be deleted by nix-store --gc.

  • --dry-run
    Show what store paths would be built or downloaded.

  • --out-link / -o outlink
    Change the name of the symlink to the output path created from result to outlink.

The following common options are supported:

Examples

$ nix-build '<nixpkgs>' -A firefox
store derivation is /nix/store/qybprl8sz2lc...-firefox-1.5.0.7.drv
/nix/store/d18hyl92g30l...-firefox-1.5.0.7

$ ls -l result
lrwxrwxrwx  ...  result -> /nix/store/d18hyl92g30l...-firefox-1.5.0.7

$ ls ./result/bin/
firefox  firefox-config

If a derivation has multiple outputs, nix-build will build the default (first) output. You can also build all outputs:

$ nix-build '<nixpkgs>' -A openssl.all

This will create a symlink for each output named result-outputname. The suffix is omitted if the output name is out. So if openssl has outputs out, bin and man, nix-build will create symlinks result, result-bin and result-man. It’s also possible to build a specific output:

$ nix-build '<nixpkgs>' -A openssl.man

This will create a symlink result-man.

Build a Nix expression given on the command line:

$ nix-build -E 'with import <nixpkgs> { }; runCommand "foo" { } "echo bar > $out"'
$ cat ./result
bar

Build the GNU Hello package from the latest revision of the master branch of Nixpkgs:

$ nix-build https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/archive/master.tar.gz -A hello

Name

nix-shell - start an interactive shell based on a Nix expression

Synopsis

nix-shell [--arg name value] [--argstr name value] [{--attr | -A} attrPath] [--command cmd] [--run cmd] [--exclude regexp] [--pure] [--keep name] {{--packages | -p} {packages | expressions} … | [path]}

Description

The command nix-shell will build the dependencies of the specified derivation, but not the derivation itself. It will then start an interactive shell in which all environment variables defined by the derivation path have been set to their corresponding values, and the script $stdenv/setup has been sourced. This is useful for reproducing the environment of a derivation for development.

If path is not given, nix-shell defaults to shell.nix if it exists, and default.nix otherwise.

If path starts with http:// or https://, it is interpreted as the URL of a tarball that will be downloaded and unpacked to a temporary location. The tarball must include a single top-level directory containing at least a file named default.nix.

If the derivation defines the variable shellHook, it will be run after $stdenv/setup has been sourced. Since this hook is not executed by regular Nix builds, it allows you to perform initialisation specific to nix-shell. For example, the derivation attribute

shellHook =
  ''
    echo "Hello shell"
    export SOME_API_TOKEN="$(cat ~/.config/some-app/api-token)"
  '';

will cause nix-shell to print Hello shell and set the SOME_API_TOKEN environment variable to a user-configured value.

Options

All options not listed here are passed to nix-store --realise, except for --arg and --attr / -A which are passed to nix-instantiate.

  • --command cmd
    In the environment of the derivation, run the shell command cmd. This command is executed in an interactive shell. (Use --run to use a non-interactive shell instead.) However, a call to exit is implicitly added to the command, so the shell will exit after running the command. To prevent this, add return at the end; e.g. --command "echo Hello; return" will print Hello and then drop you into the interactive shell. This can be useful for doing any additional initialisation.

  • --run cmd
    Like --command, but executes the command in a non-interactive shell. This means (among other things) that if you hit Ctrl-C while the command is running, the shell exits.

  • --exclude regexp
    Do not build any dependencies whose store path matches the regular expression regexp. This option may be specified multiple times.

  • --pure
    If this flag is specified, the environment is almost entirely cleared before the interactive shell is started, so you get an environment that more closely corresponds to the “real” Nix build. A few variables, in particular HOME, USER and DISPLAY, are retained.

  • --packages / -p packages
    Set up an environment in which the specified packages are present. The command line arguments are interpreted as attribute names inside the Nix Packages collection. Thus, nix-shell -p libjpeg openjdk will start a shell in which the packages denoted by the attribute names libjpeg and openjdk are present.

  • -i interpreter
    The chained script interpreter to be invoked by nix-shell. Only applicable in #!-scripts (described below).

  • --keep name
    When a --pure shell is started, keep the listed environment variables.

The following common options are supported:

Environment variables

  • NIX_BUILD_SHELL
    Shell used to start the interactive environment. Defaults to the bash found in PATH.

Examples

To build the dependencies of the package Pan, and start an interactive shell in which to build it:

$ nix-shell '<nixpkgs>' -A pan
[nix-shell]$ unpackPhase
[nix-shell]$ cd pan-*
[nix-shell]$ configurePhase
[nix-shell]$ buildPhase
[nix-shell]$ ./pan/gui/pan

To clear the environment first, and do some additional automatic initialisation of the interactive shell:

$ nix-shell '<nixpkgs>' -A pan --pure \
    --command 'export NIX_DEBUG=1; export NIX_CORES=8; return'

Nix expressions can also be given on the command line using the -E and -p flags. For instance, the following starts a shell containing the packages sqlite and libX11:

$ nix-shell -E 'with import <nixpkgs> { }; runCommand "dummy" { buildInputs = [ sqlite xorg.libX11 ]; } ""'

A shorter way to do the same is:

$ nix-shell -p sqlite xorg.libX11
[nix-shell]$ echo $NIX_LDFLAGS
… -L/nix/store/j1zg5v…-sqlite-3.8.0.2/lib -L/nix/store/0gmcz9…-libX11-1.6.1/lib …

Note that -p accepts multiple full nix expressions that are valid in the buildInputs = [ ... ] shown above, not only package names. So the following is also legal:

$ nix-shell -p sqlite 'git.override { withManual = false; }'

The -p flag looks up Nixpkgs in the Nix search path. You can override it by passing -I or setting NIX_PATH. For example, the following gives you a shell containing the Pan package from a specific revision of Nixpkgs:

$ nix-shell -p pan -I nixpkgs=https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/archive/8a3eea054838b55aca962c3fbde9c83c102b8bf2.tar.gz

[nix-shell:~]$ pan --version
Pan 0.139

Use as a #!-interpreter

You can use nix-shell as a script interpreter to allow scripts written in arbitrary languages to obtain their own dependencies via Nix. This is done by starting the script with the following lines:

#! /usr/bin/env nix-shell
#! nix-shell -i real-interpreter -p packages

where real-interpreter is the “real” script interpreter that will be invoked by nix-shell after it has obtained the dependencies and initialised the environment, and packages are the attribute names of the dependencies in Nixpkgs.

The lines starting with #! nix-shell specify nix-shell options (see above). Note that you cannot write #! /usr/bin/env nix-shell -i ... because many operating systems only allow one argument in #! lines.

For example, here is a Python script that depends on Python and the prettytable package:

#! /usr/bin/env nix-shell
#! nix-shell -i python -p python pythonPackages.prettytable

import prettytable

# Print a simple table.
t = prettytable.PrettyTable(["N", "N^2"])
for n in range(1, 10): t.add_row([n, n * n])
print t

Similarly, the following is a Perl script that specifies that it requires Perl and the HTML::TokeParser::Simple and LWP packages:

#! /usr/bin/env nix-shell
#! nix-shell -i perl -p perl perlPackages.HTMLTokeParserSimple perlPackages.LWP

use HTML::TokeParser::Simple;

# Fetch nixos.org and print all hrefs.
my $p = HTML::TokeParser::Simple->new(url => 'http://nixos.org/');

while (my $token = $p->get_tag("a")) {
    my $href = $token->get_attr("href");
    print "$href\n" if $href;
}

Sometimes you need to pass a simple Nix expression to customize a package like Terraform:

#! /usr/bin/env nix-shell
#! nix-shell -i bash -p "terraform.withPlugins (plugins: [ plugins.openstack ])"

terraform apply

Note

You must use double quotes (") when passing a simple Nix expression in a nix-shell shebang.

Finally, using the merging of multiple nix-shell shebangs the following Haskell script uses a specific branch of Nixpkgs/NixOS (the 20.03 stable branch):

#! /usr/bin/env nix-shell
#! nix-shell -i runghc -p "haskellPackages.ghcWithPackages (ps: [ps.download-curl ps.tagsoup])"
#! nix-shell -I nixpkgs=https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/archive/nixos-20.03.tar.gz

import Network.Curl.Download
import Text.HTML.TagSoup
import Data.Either
import Data.ByteString.Char8 (unpack)

-- Fetch nixos.org and print all hrefs.
main = do
  resp <- openURI "https://nixos.org/"
  let tags = filter (isTagOpenName "a") $ parseTags $ unpack $ fromRight undefined resp
  let tags' = map (fromAttrib "href") tags
  mapM_ putStrLn $ filter (/= "") tags'

If you want to be even more precise, you can specify a specific revision of Nixpkgs:

#! nix-shell -I nixpkgs=https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/archive/0672315759b3e15e2121365f067c1c8c56bb4722.tar.gz

The examples above all used -p to get dependencies from Nixpkgs. You can also use a Nix expression to build your own dependencies. For example, the Python example could have been written as:

#! /usr/bin/env nix-shell
#! nix-shell deps.nix -i python

where the file deps.nix in the same directory as the #!-script contains:

with import <nixpkgs> {};

runCommand "dummy" { buildInputs = [ python pythonPackages.prettytable ]; } ""

Name

nix-store - manipulate or query the Nix store

Synopsis

nix-store operation [options…] [arguments…] [--option name value] [--add-root path]

Description

The command nix-store performs primitive operations on the Nix store. You generally do not need to run this command manually.

nix-store takes exactly one operation flag which indicates the subcommand to be performed. These are documented below.

Common options

This section lists the options that are common to all operations. These options are allowed for every subcommand, though they may not always have an effect.

  • --add-root path
    Causes the result of a realisation (--realise and --force-realise) to be registered as a root of the garbage collector. path will be created as a symlink to the resulting store path. In addition, a uniquely named symlink to path will be created in /nix/var/nix/gcroots/auto/. For instance,

    $ nix-store --add-root /home/eelco/bla/result -r ...
    
    $ ls -l /nix/var/nix/gcroots/auto
    lrwxrwxrwx    1 ... 2005-03-13 21:10 dn54lcypm8f8... -> /home/eelco/bla/result
    
    $ ls -l /home/eelco/bla/result
    lrwxrwxrwx    1 ... 2005-03-13 21:10 /home/eelco/bla/result -> /nix/store/1r11343n6qd4...-f-spot-0.0.10
    

    Thus, when /home/eelco/bla/result is removed, the GC root in the auto directory becomes a dangling symlink and will be ignored by the collector.

    Warning

    Note that it is not possible to move or rename GC roots, since the symlink in the auto directory will still point to the old location.

    If there are multiple results, then multiple symlinks will be created by sequentially numbering symlinks beyond the first one (e.g., foo, foo-2, foo-3, and so on).

Operation --realise

Synopsis

nix-store {--realise | -r} paths… [--dry-run]

Description

The operation --realise essentially “builds” the specified store paths. Realisation is a somewhat overloaded term:

  • If the store path is a derivation, realisation ensures that the output paths of the derivation are valid (i.e., the output path and its closure exist in the file system). This can be done in several ways. First, it is possible that the outputs are already valid, in which case we are done immediately. Otherwise, there may be substitutes that produce the outputs (e.g., by downloading them). Finally, the outputs can be produced by performing the build action described by the derivation.

  • If the store path is not a derivation, realisation ensures that the specified path is valid (i.e., it and its closure exist in the file system). If the path is already valid, we are done immediately. Otherwise, the path and any missing paths in its closure may be produced through substitutes. If there are no (successful) substitutes, realisation fails.

The output path of each derivation is printed on standard output. (For non-derivations argument, the argument itself is printed.)

The following flags are available:

  • --dry-run
    Print on standard error a description of what packages would be built or downloaded, without actually performing the operation.

  • --ignore-unknown
    If a non-derivation path does not have a substitute, then silently ignore it.

  • --check
    This option allows you to check whether a derivation is deterministic. It rebuilds the specified derivation and checks whether the result is bitwise-identical with the existing outputs, printing an error if that’s not the case. The outputs of the specified derivation must already exist. When used with -K, if an output path is not identical to the corresponding output from the previous build, the new output path is left in /nix/store/name.check.

    See also the build-repeat configuration option, which repeats a derivation a number of times and prevents its outputs from being registered as “valid” in the Nix store unless they are identical.

Special exit codes:

  • 100
    Generic build failure, the builder process returned with a non-zero exit code.

  • 101
    Build timeout, the build was aborted because it did not complete within the specified timeout.

  • 102
    Hash mismatch, the build output was rejected because it does not match the outputHash attribute of the derivation.

  • 104
    Not deterministic, the build succeeded in check mode but the resulting output is not binary reproducable.

With the --keep-going flag it's possible for multiple failures to occur, in this case the 1xx status codes are or combined using binary or.

1100100
   ^^^^
   |||`- timeout
   ||`-- output hash mismatch
   |`--- build failure
   `---- not deterministic

Examples

This operation is typically used to build store derivations produced by nix-instantiate:

$ nix-store -r $(nix-instantiate ./test.nix)
/nix/store/31axcgrlbfsxzmfff1gyj1bf62hvkby2-aterm-2.3.1

This is essentially what nix-build does.

To test whether a previously-built derivation is deterministic:

$ nix-build '<nixpkgs>' -A hello --check -K

Operation --serve

Synopsis

nix-store --serve [--write]

Description

The operation --serve provides access to the Nix store over stdin and stdout, and is intended to be used as a means of providing Nix store access to a restricted ssh user.

The following flags are available:

  • --write
    Allow the connected client to request the realization of derivations. In effect, this can be used to make the host act as a remote builder.

Examples

To turn a host into a build server, the authorized_keys file can be used to provide build access to a given SSH public key:

$ cat <<EOF >>/root/.ssh/authorized_keys
command="nice -n20 nix-store --serve --write" ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAA...
EOF

Operation --gc

Synopsis

nix-store --gc [--print-roots | --print-live | --print-dead] [--max-freed bytes]

Description

Without additional flags, the operation --gc performs a garbage collection on the Nix store. That is, all paths in the Nix store not reachable via file system references from a set of “roots”, are deleted.

The following suboperations may be specified:

  • --print-roots
    This operation prints on standard output the set of roots used by the garbage collector.

  • --print-live
    This operation prints on standard output the set of “live” store paths, which are all the store paths reachable from the roots. Live paths should never be deleted, since that would break consistency — it would become possible that applications are installed that reference things that are no longer present in the store.

  • --print-dead
    This operation prints out on standard output the set of “dead” store paths, which is just the opposite of the set of live paths: any path in the store that is not live (with respect to the roots) is dead.

By default, all unreachable paths are deleted. The following options control what gets deleted and in what order:

  • --max-freed bytes
    Keep deleting paths until at least bytes bytes have been deleted, then stop. The argument bytes can be followed by the multiplicative suffix K, M, G or T, denoting KiB, MiB, GiB or TiB units.

The behaviour of the collector is also influenced by the keep-outputs and keep-derivations settings in the Nix configuration file.

By default, the collector prints the total number of freed bytes when it finishes (or when it is interrupted). With --print-dead, it prints the number of bytes that would be freed.

Examples

To delete all unreachable paths, just do:

$ nix-store --gc
deleting `/nix/store/kq82idx6g0nyzsp2s14gfsc38npai7lf-cairo-1.0.4.tar.gz.drv'
...
8825586 bytes freed (8.42 MiB)

To delete at least 100 MiBs of unreachable paths:

$ nix-store --gc --max-freed $((100 * 1024 * 1024))

Operation --delete

Synopsis

nix-store --delete [--ignore-liveness] paths…

Description

The operation --delete deletes the store paths paths from the Nix store, but only if it is safe to do so; that is, when the path is not reachable from a root of the garbage collector. This means that you can only delete paths that would also be deleted by nix-store --gc. Thus, --delete is a more targeted version of --gc.

With the option --ignore-liveness, reachability from the roots is ignored. However, the path still won’t be deleted if there are other paths in the store that refer to it (i.e., depend on it).

Example

$ nix-store --delete /nix/store/zq0h41l75vlb4z45kzgjjmsjxvcv1qk7-mesa-6.4
0 bytes freed (0.00 MiB)
error: cannot delete path `/nix/store/zq0h41l75vlb4z45kzgjjmsjxvcv1qk7-mesa-6.4' since it is still alive

Operation --query

Synopsis

nix-store {--query | -q} {--outputs | --requisites | -R | --references | --referrers | --referrers-closure | --deriver | -d | --graph | --tree | --binding name | -b name | --hash | --size | --roots} [--use-output] [-u] [--force-realise] [-f] paths…

Description

The operation --query displays various bits of information about the store paths . The queries are described below. At most one query can be specified. The default query is --outputs.

The paths paths may also be symlinks from outside of the Nix store, to the Nix store. In that case, the query is applied to the target of the symlink.

Common query options

  • --use-output; -u
    For each argument to the query that is a store derivation, apply the query to the output path of the derivation instead.

  • --force-realise; -f
    Realise each argument to the query first (see nix-store --realise).

Queries

  • --outputs
    Prints out the output paths of the store derivations paths. These are the paths that will be produced when the derivation is built.

  • --requisites; -R
    Prints out the closure of the store path paths.

    This query has one option:

    • --include-outputs Also include the output path of store derivations, and their closures.

    This query can be used to implement various kinds of deployment. A source deployment is obtained by distributing the closure of a store derivation. A binary deployment is obtained by distributing the closure of an output path. A cache deployment (combined source/binary deployment, including binaries of build-time-only dependencies) is obtained by distributing the closure of a store derivation and specifying the option --include-outputs.

  • --references
    Prints the set of references of the store paths paths, that is, their immediate dependencies. (For all dependencies, use --requisites.)

  • --referrers
    Prints the set of referrers of the store paths paths, that is, the store paths currently existing in the Nix store that refer to one of paths. Note that contrary to the references, the set of referrers is not constant; it can change as store paths are added or removed.

  • --referrers-closure
    Prints the closure of the set of store paths paths under the referrers relation; that is, all store paths that directly or indirectly refer to one of paths. These are all the path currently in the Nix store that are dependent on paths.

  • --deriver; -d
    Prints the deriver of the store paths paths. If the path has no deriver (e.g., if it is a source file), or if the deriver is not known (e.g., in the case of a binary-only deployment), the string unknown-deriver is printed.

  • --graph
    Prints the references graph of the store paths paths in the format of the dot tool of AT&T's Graphviz package. This can be used to visualise dependency graphs. To obtain a build-time dependency graph, apply this to a store derivation. To obtain a runtime dependency graph, apply it to an output path.

  • --tree
    Prints the references graph of the store paths paths as a nested ASCII tree. References are ordered by descending closure size; this tends to flatten the tree, making it more readable. The query only recurses into a store path when it is first encountered; this prevents a blowup of the tree representation of the graph.

  • --graphml
    Prints the references graph of the store paths paths in the GraphML file format. This can be used to visualise dependency graphs. To obtain a build-time dependency graph, apply this to a store derivation. To obtain a runtime dependency graph, apply it to an output path.

  • --binding name; -b name
    Prints the value of the attribute name (i.e., environment variable) of the store derivations paths. It is an error for a derivation to not have the specified attribute.

  • --hash
    Prints the SHA-256 hash of the contents of the store paths paths (that is, the hash of the output of nix-store --dump on the given paths). Since the hash is stored in the Nix database, this is a fast operation.

  • --size
    Prints the size in bytes of the contents of the store paths paths — to be precise, the size of the output of nix-store --dump on the given paths. Note that the actual disk space required by the store paths may be higher, especially on filesystems with large cluster sizes.

  • --roots
    Prints the garbage collector roots that point, directly or indirectly, at the store paths paths.

Examples

Print the closure (runtime dependencies) of the svn program in the current user environment:

$ nix-store -qR $(which svn)
/nix/store/5mbglq5ldqld8sj57273aljwkfvj22mc-subversion-1.1.4
/nix/store/9lz9yc6zgmc0vlqmn2ipcpkjlmbi51vv-glibc-2.3.4
...

Print the build-time dependencies of svn:

$ nix-store -qR $(nix-store -qd $(which svn))
/nix/store/02iizgn86m42q905rddvg4ja975bk2i4-grep-2.5.1.tar.bz2.drv
/nix/store/07a2bzxmzwz5hp58nf03pahrv2ygwgs3-gcc-wrapper.sh
/nix/store/0ma7c9wsbaxahwwl04gbw3fcd806ski4-glibc-2.3.4.drv
... lots of other paths ...

The difference with the previous example is that we ask the closure of the derivation (-qd), not the closure of the output path that contains svn.

Show the build-time dependencies as a tree:

$ nix-store -q --tree $(nix-store -qd $(which svn))
/nix/store/7i5082kfb6yjbqdbiwdhhza0am2xvh6c-subversion-1.1.4.drv
+---/nix/store/d8afh10z72n8l1cr5w42366abiblgn54-builder.sh
+---/nix/store/fmzxmpjx2lh849ph0l36snfj9zdibw67-bash-3.0.drv
|   +---/nix/store/570hmhmx3v57605cqg9yfvvyh0nnb8k8-bash
|   +---/nix/store/p3srsbd8dx44v2pg6nbnszab5mcwx03v-builder.sh
...

Show all paths that depend on the same OpenSSL library as svn:

$ nix-store -q --referrers $(nix-store -q --binding openssl $(nix-store -qd $(which svn)))
/nix/store/23ny9l9wixx21632y2wi4p585qhva1q8-sylpheed-1.0.0
/nix/store/5mbglq5ldqld8sj57273aljwkfvj22mc-subversion-1.1.4
/nix/store/dpmvp969yhdqs7lm2r1a3gng7pyq6vy4-subversion-1.1.3
/nix/store/l51240xqsgg8a7yrbqdx1rfzyv6l26fx-lynx-2.8.5

Show all paths that directly or indirectly depend on the Glibc (C library) used by svn:

$ nix-store -q --referrers-closure $(ldd $(which svn) | grep /libc.so | awk '{print $3}')
/nix/store/034a6h4vpz9kds5r6kzb9lhh81mscw43-libgnomeprintui-2.8.2
/nix/store/15l3yi0d45prm7a82pcrknxdh6nzmxza-gawk-3.1.4
...

Note that ldd is a command that prints out the dynamic libraries used by an ELF executable.

Make a picture of the runtime dependency graph of the current user environment:

$ nix-store -q --graph ~/.nix-profile | dot -Tps > graph.ps
$ gv graph.ps

Show every garbage collector root that points to a store path that depends on svn:

$ nix-store -q --roots $(which svn)
/nix/var/nix/profiles/default-81-link
/nix/var/nix/profiles/default-82-link
/nix/var/nix/profiles/per-user/eelco/profile-97-link

Operation --add

Synopsis

nix-store --add paths…

Description

The operation --add adds the specified paths to the Nix store. It prints the resulting paths in the Nix store on standard output.

Example

$ nix-store --add ./foo.c
/nix/store/m7lrha58ph6rcnv109yzx1nk1cj7k7zf-foo.c

Operation --add-fixed

Synopsis

nix-store --add-fixed [--recursive] algorithm paths…

Description

The operation --add-fixed adds the specified paths to the Nix store. Unlike --add paths are registered using the specified hashing algorithm, resulting in the same output path as a fixed-output derivation. This can be used for sources that are not available from a public url or broke since the download expression was written.

This operation has the following options:

  • --recursive
    Use recursive instead of flat hashing mode, used when adding directories to the store.

Example

$ nix-store --add-fixed sha256 ./hello-2.10.tar.gz
/nix/store/3x7dwzq014bblazs7kq20p9hyzz0qh8g-hello-2.10.tar.gz

Operation --verify

Synopsis

nix-store --verify [--check-contents] [--repair]

Description

The operation --verify verifies the internal consistency of the Nix database, and the consistency between the Nix database and the Nix store. Any inconsistencies encountered are automatically repaired. Inconsistencies are generally the result of the Nix store or database being modified by non-Nix tools, or of bugs in Nix itself.

This operation has the following options:

  • --check-contents
    Checks that the contents of every valid store path has not been altered by computing a SHA-256 hash of the contents and comparing it with the hash stored in the Nix database at build time. Paths that have been modified are printed out. For large stores, --check-contents is obviously quite slow.

  • --repair
    If any valid path is missing from the store, or (if --check-contents is given) the contents of a valid path has been modified, then try to repair the path by redownloading it. See nix-store --repair-path for details.

Operation --verify-path

Synopsis

nix-store --verify-path paths…

Description

The operation --verify-path compares the contents of the given store paths to their cryptographic hashes stored in Nix’s database. For every changed path, it prints a warning message. The exit status is 0 if no path has changed, and 1 otherwise.

Example

To verify the integrity of the svn command and all its dependencies:

$ nix-store --verify-path $(nix-store -qR $(which svn))

Operation --repair-path

Synopsis

nix-store --repair-path paths…

Description

The operation --repair-path attempts to “repair” the specified paths by redownloading them using the available substituters. If no substitutes are available, then repair is not possible.

Warning

During repair, there is a very small time window during which the old path (if it exists) is moved out of the way and replaced with the new path. If repair is interrupted in between, then the system may be left in a broken state (e.g., if the path contains a critical system component like the GNU C Library).

Example

$ nix-store --verify-path /nix/store/dj7a81wsm1ijwwpkks3725661h3263p5-glibc-2.13
path `/nix/store/dj7a81wsm1ijwwpkks3725661h3263p5-glibc-2.13' was modified!
  expected hash `2db57715ae90b7e31ff1f2ecb8c12ec1cc43da920efcbe3b22763f36a1861588',
  got `481c5aa5483ebc97c20457bb8bca24deea56550d3985cda0027f67fe54b808e4'

$ nix-store --repair-path /nix/store/dj7a81wsm1ijwwpkks3725661h3263p5-glibc-2.13
fetching path `/nix/store/d7a81wsm1ijwwpkks3725661h3263p5-glibc-2.13'...
…

Operation --dump

Synopsis

nix-store --dump path

Description

The operation --dump produces a NAR (Nix ARchive) file containing the contents of the file system tree rooted at path. The archive is written to standard output.

A NAR archive is like a TAR or Zip archive, but it contains only the information that Nix considers important. For instance, timestamps are elided because all files in the Nix store have their timestamp set to 0 anyway. Likewise, all permissions are left out except for the execute bit, because all files in the Nix store have 444 or 555 permission.

Also, a NAR archive is canonical, meaning that “equal” paths always produce the same NAR archive. For instance, directory entries are always sorted so that the actual on-disk order doesn’t influence the result. This means that the cryptographic hash of a NAR dump of a path is usable as a fingerprint of the contents of the path. Indeed, the hashes of store paths stored in Nix’s database (see nix-store -q --hash) are SHA-256 hashes of the NAR dump of each store path.

NAR archives support filenames of unlimited length and 64-bit file sizes. They can contain regular files, directories, and symbolic links, but not other types of files (such as device nodes).

A Nix archive can be unpacked using nix-store --restore.

Operation --restore

Synopsis

nix-store --restore path

Description

The operation --restore unpacks a NAR archive to path, which must not already exist. The archive is read from standard input.

Operation --export

Synopsis

nix-store --export paths…

Description

The operation --export writes a serialisation of the specified store paths to standard output in a format that can be imported into another Nix store with nix-store --import. This is like nix-store --dump, except that the NAR archive produced by that command doesn’t contain the necessary meta-information to allow it to be imported into another Nix store (namely, the set of references of the path).

This command does not produce a closure of the specified paths, so if a store path references other store paths that are missing in the target Nix store, the import will fail. To copy a whole closure, do something like:

$ nix-store --export $(nix-store -qR paths) > out

To import the whole closure again, run:

$ nix-store --import < out

Operation --import

Synopsis

nix-store --import

Description

The operation --import reads a serialisation of a set of store paths produced by nix-store --export from standard input and adds those store paths to the Nix store. Paths that already exist in the Nix store are ignored. If a path refers to another path that doesn’t exist in the Nix store, the import fails.

Operation --optimise

Synopsis

nix-store --optimise

Description

The operation --optimise reduces Nix store disk space usage by finding identical files in the store and hard-linking them to each other. It typically reduces the size of the store by something like 25-35%. Only regular files and symlinks are hard-linked in this manner. Files are considered identical when they have the same NAR archive serialisation: that is, regular files must have the same contents and permission (executable or non-executable), and symlinks must have the same contents.

After completion, or when the command is interrupted, a report on the achieved savings is printed on standard error.

Use -vv or -vvv to get some progress indication.

Example

$ nix-store --optimise
hashing files in `/nix/store/qhqx7l2f1kmwihc9bnxs7rc159hsxnf3-gcc-4.1.1'
...
541838819 bytes (516.74 MiB) freed by hard-linking 54143 files;
there are 114486 files with equal contents out of 215894 files in total

Operation --read-log

Synopsis

nix-store {--read-log | -l} paths…

Description

The operation --read-log prints the build log of the specified store paths on standard output. The build log is whatever the builder of a derivation wrote to standard output and standard error. If a store path is not a derivation, the deriver of the store path is used.

Build logs are kept in /nix/var/log/nix/drvs. However, there is no guarantee that a build log is available for any particular store path. For instance, if the path was downloaded as a pre-built binary through a substitute, then the log is unavailable.

Example

$ nix-store -l $(which ktorrent)
building /nix/store/dhc73pvzpnzxhdgpimsd9sw39di66ph1-ktorrent-2.2.1
unpacking sources
unpacking source archive /nix/store/p8n1jpqs27mgkjw07pb5269717nzf5f8-ktorrent-2.2.1.tar.gz
ktorrent-2.2.1/
ktorrent-2.2.1/NEWS
...

Operation --dump-db

Synopsis

nix-store --dump-db [paths…]

Description

The operation --dump-db writes a dump of the Nix database to standard output. It can be loaded into an empty Nix store using --load-db. This is useful for making backups and when migrating to different database schemas.

By default, --dump-db will dump the entire Nix database. When one or more store paths is passed, only the subset of the Nix database for those store paths is dumped. As with --export, the user is responsible for passing all the store paths for a closure. See --export for an example.

Operation --load-db

Synopsis

nix-store --load-db

Description

The operation --load-db reads a dump of the Nix database created by --dump-db from standard input and loads it into the Nix database.

Operation --print-env

Synopsis

nix-store --print-env drvpath

Description

The operation --print-env prints out the environment of a derivation in a format that can be evaluated by a shell. The command line arguments of the builder are placed in the variable _args.

Example

$ nix-store --print-env $(nix-instantiate '<nixpkgs>' -A firefox)
…
export src; src='/nix/store/plpj7qrwcz94z2psh6fchsi7s8yihc7k-firefox-12.0.source.tar.bz2'
export stdenv; stdenv='/nix/store/7c8asx3yfrg5dg1gzhzyq2236zfgibnn-stdenv'
export system; system='x86_64-linux'
export _args; _args='-e /nix/store/9krlzvny65gdc8s7kpb6lkx8cd02c25c-default-builder.sh'

Operation --generate-binary-cache-key

Synopsis

nix-store --generate-binary-cache-key key-name secret-key-file public-key-file

Description

This command generates an Ed25519 key pair that can be used to create a signed binary cache. It takes three mandatory parameters:

  1. A key name, such as cache.example.org-1, that is used to look up keys on the client when it verifies signatures. It can be anything, but it’s suggested to use the host name of your cache (e.g. cache.example.org) with a suffix denoting the number of the key (to be incremented every time you need to revoke a key).

  2. The file name where the secret key is to be stored.

  3. The file name where the public key is to be stored.

Utilities

This section lists utilities that you can use when you work with Nix.

Name

nix-channel - manage Nix channels

Synopsis

nix-channel {--add url [name] | --remove name | --list | --update [names…] | --rollback [generation] }

Description

A Nix channel is a mechanism that allows you to automatically stay up-to-date with a set of pre-built Nix expressions. A Nix channel is just a URL that points to a place containing a set of Nix expressions.

To see the list of official NixOS channels, visit https://nixos.org/channels.

This command has the following operations:

  • --add url [name]
    Adds a channel named name with URL url to the list of subscribed channels. If name is omitted, it defaults to the last component of url, with the suffixes -stable or -unstable removed.

  • --remove name
    Removes the channel named name from the list of subscribed channels.

  • --list
    Prints the names and URLs of all subscribed channels on standard output.

  • --update [names…]
    Downloads the Nix expressions of all subscribed channels (or only those included in names if specified) and makes them the default for nix-env operations (by symlinking them from the directory ~/.nix-defexpr).

  • --rollback [generation]
    Reverts the previous call to nix-channel --update. Optionally, you can specify a specific channel generation number to restore.

Note that --add does not automatically perform an update.

The list of subscribed channels is stored in ~/.nix-channels.

Examples

To subscribe to the Nixpkgs channel and install the GNU Hello package:

$ nix-channel --add https://nixos.org/channels/nixpkgs-unstable
$ nix-channel --update
$ nix-env -iA nixpkgs.hello

You can revert channel updates using --rollback:

$ nix-instantiate --eval -E '(import <nixpkgs> {}).lib.version'
"14.04.527.0e935f1"

$ nix-channel --rollback
switching from generation 483 to 482

$ nix-instantiate --eval -E '(import <nixpkgs> {}).lib.version'
"14.04.526.dbadfad"

Files

  • /nix/var/nix/profiles/per-user/username/channels
    nix-channel uses a nix-env profile to keep track of previous versions of the subscribed channels. Every time you run nix-channel --update, a new channel generation (that is, a symlink to the channel Nix expressions in the Nix store) is created. This enables nix-channel --rollback to revert to previous versions.

  • ~/.nix-defexpr/channels
    This is a symlink to /nix/var/nix/profiles/per-user/username/channels. It ensures that nix-env can find your channels. In a multi-user installation, you may also have ~/.nix-defexpr/channels_root, which links to the channels of the root user.

Channel format

A channel URL should point to a directory containing the following files:

  • nixexprs.tar.xz
    A tarball containing Nix expressions and files referenced by them (such as build scripts and patches). At the top level, the tarball should contain a single directory. That directory must contain a file default.nix that serves as the channel’s “entry point”.

Name

nix-collect-garbage - delete unreachable store paths

Synopsis

nix-collect-garbage [--delete-old] [-d] [--delete-older-than period] [--max-freed bytes] [--dry-run]

Description

The command nix-collect-garbage is mostly an alias of nix-store --gc, that is, it deletes all unreachable paths in the Nix store to clean up your system. However, it provides two additional options: -d (--delete-old), which deletes all old generations of all profiles in /nix/var/nix/profiles by invoking nix-env --delete-generations old on all profiles (of course, this makes rollbacks to previous configurations impossible); and --delete-older-than period, where period is a value such as 30d, which deletes all generations older than the specified number of days in all profiles in /nix/var/nix/profiles (except for the generations that were active at that point in time).

Example

To delete from the Nix store everything that is not used by the current generations of each profile, do

$ nix-collect-garbage -d

Name

nix-copy-closure - copy a closure to or from a remote machine via SSH

Synopsis

nix-copy-closure [--to | --from] [--gzip] [--include-outputs] [--use-substitutes | -s] [-v] user@machine paths

Description

nix-copy-closure gives you an easy and efficient way to exchange software between machines. Given one or more Nix store paths on the local machine, nix-copy-closure computes the closure of those paths (i.e. all their dependencies in the Nix store), and copies all paths in the closure to the remote machine via the ssh (Secure Shell) command. With the --from option, the direction is reversed: the closure of paths on a remote machine is copied to the Nix store on the local machine.

This command is efficient because it only sends the store paths that are missing on the target machine.

Since nix-copy-closure calls ssh, you may be asked to type in the appropriate password or passphrase. In fact, you may be asked twice because nix-copy-closure currently connects twice to the remote machine, first to get the set of paths missing on the target machine, and second to send the dump of those paths. If this bothers you, use ssh-agent.

Options

  • --to
    Copy the closure of paths from the local Nix store to the Nix store on machine. This is the default.

  • --from
    Copy the closure of paths from the Nix store on machine to the local Nix store.

  • --gzip
    Enable compression of the SSH connection.

  • --include-outputs
    Also copy the outputs of store derivations included in the closure.

  • --use-substitutes / -s
    Attempt to download missing paths on the target machine using Nix’s substitute mechanism. Any paths that cannot be substituted on the target are still copied normally from the source. This is useful, for instance, if the connection between the source and target machine is slow, but the connection between the target machine and nixos.org (the default binary cache server) is fast.

  • -v
    Show verbose output.

Environment variables

  • NIX_SSHOPTS
    Additional options to be passed to ssh on the command line.

Examples

Copy Firefox with all its dependencies to a remote machine:

$ nix-copy-closure --to alice@itchy.labs $(type -tP firefox)

Copy Subversion from a remote machine and then install it into a user environment:

$ nix-copy-closure --from alice@itchy.labs \
    /nix/store/0dj0503hjxy5mbwlafv1rsbdiyx1gkdy-subversion-1.4.4
$ nix-env -i /nix/store/0dj0503hjxy5mbwlafv1rsbdiyx1gkdy-subversion-1.4.4

Name

nix-daemon - Nix multi-user support daemon

Synopsis

nix-daemon

Description

The Nix daemon is necessary in multi-user Nix installations. It performs build actions and other operations on the Nix store on behalf of unprivileged users.

Name

nix-hash - compute the cryptographic hash of a path

Synopsis

nix-hash [--flat] [--base32] [--truncate] [--type hashAlgo] path…

nix-hash --to-base16 hash…

nix-hash --to-base32 hash…

Description

The command nix-hash computes the cryptographic hash of the contents of each path and prints it on standard output. By default, it computes an MD5 hash, but other hash algorithms are available as well. The hash is printed in hexadecimal. To generate the same hash as nix-prefetch-url you have to specify multiple arguments, see below for an example.

The hash is computed over a serialisation of each path: a dump of the file system tree rooted at the path. This allows directories and symlinks to be hashed as well as regular files. The dump is in the NAR format produced by nix-store --dump. Thus, nix-hash path yields the same cryptographic hash as nix-store --dump path | md5sum.

Options

  • --flat
    Print the cryptographic hash of the contents of each regular file path. That is, do not compute the hash over the dump of path. The result is identical to that produced by the GNU commands md5sum and sha1sum.

  • --base32
    Print the hash in a base-32 representation rather than hexadecimal. This base-32 representation is more compact and can be used in Nix expressions (such as in calls to fetchurl).

  • --truncate
    Truncate hashes longer than 160 bits (such as SHA-256) to 160 bits.

  • --type hashAlgo
    Use the specified cryptographic hash algorithm, which can be one of md5, sha1, sha256, and sha512.

  • --to-base16
    Don’t hash anything, but convert the base-32 hash representation hash to hexadecimal.

  • --to-base32
    Don’t hash anything, but convert the hexadecimal hash representation hash to base-32.

Examples

Computing the same hash as nix-prefetch-url:

$ nix-prefetch-url file://<(echo test)
1lkgqb6fclns49861dwk9rzb6xnfkxbpws74mxnx01z9qyv1pjpj
$ nix-hash --type sha256 --flat --base32 <(echo test)
1lkgqb6fclns49861dwk9rzb6xnfkxbpws74mxnx01z9qyv1pjpj

Computing hashes:

$ mkdir test
$ echo "hello" > test/world

$ nix-hash test/ (MD5 hash; default)
8179d3caeff1869b5ba1744e5a245c04

$ nix-store --dump test/ | md5sum (for comparison)
8179d3caeff1869b5ba1744e5a245c04  -

$ nix-hash --type sha1 test/
e4fd8ba5f7bbeaea5ace89fe10255536cd60dab6

$ nix-hash --type sha1 --base32 test/
nvd61k9nalji1zl9rrdfmsmvyyjqpzg4

$ nix-hash --type sha256 --flat test/
error: reading file `test/': Is a directory

$ nix-hash --type sha256 --flat test/world
5891b5b522d5df086d0ff0b110fbd9d21bb4fc7163af34d08286a2e846f6be03

Converting between hexadecimal and base-32:

$ nix-hash --type sha1 --to-base32 e4fd8ba5f7bbeaea5ace89fe10255536cd60dab6
nvd61k9nalji1zl9rrdfmsmvyyjqpzg4

$ nix-hash --type sha1 --to-base16 nvd61k9nalji1zl9rrdfmsmvyyjqpzg4
e4fd8ba5f7bbeaea5ace89fe10255536cd60dab6

Name

nix-instantiate - instantiate store derivations from Nix expressions

Synopsis

nix-instantiate [--parse | --eval [--strict] [--json] [--xml] ] [--read-write-mode] [--arg name value] [{--attr| -A} attrPath] [--add-root path] [--expr | -E] files…

nix-instantiate --find-file files…

Description

The command nix-instantiate generates store derivations from (high-level) Nix expressions. It evaluates the Nix expressions in each of files (which defaults to ./default.nix). Each top-level expression should evaluate to a derivation, a list of derivations, or a set of derivations. The paths of the resulting store derivations are printed on standard output.

If files is the character -, then a Nix expression will be read from standard input.

Options

  • --add-root path
    See the corresponding option in nix-store.

  • --parse
    Just parse the input files, and print their abstract syntax trees on standard output in ATerm format.

  • --eval
    Just parse and evaluate the input files, and print the resulting values on standard output. No instantiation of store derivations takes place.

  • --find-file
    Look up the given files in Nix’s search path (as specified by the NIX_PATH environment variable). If found, print the corresponding absolute paths on standard output. For instance, if NIX_PATH is nixpkgs=/home/alice/nixpkgs, then nix-instantiate --find-file nixpkgs/default.nix will print /home/alice/nixpkgs/default.nix.

  • --strict
    When used with --eval, recursively evaluate list elements and attributes. Normally, such sub-expressions are left unevaluated (since the Nix expression language is lazy).

    Warning

    This option can cause non-termination, because lazy data structures can be infinitely large.

  • --json
    When used with --eval, print the resulting value as an JSON representation of the abstract syntax tree rather than as an ATerm.

  • --xml
    When used with --eval, print the resulting value as an XML representation of the abstract syntax tree rather than as an ATerm. The schema is the same as that used by the toXML built-in.

  • --read-write-mode
    When used with --eval, perform evaluation in read/write mode so nix language features that require it will still work (at the cost of needing to do instantiation of every evaluated derivation). If this option is not enabled, there may be uninstantiated store paths in the final output.

Examples

Instantiating store derivations from a Nix expression, and building them using nix-store:

$ nix-instantiate test.nix (instantiate)
/nix/store/cigxbmvy6dzix98dxxh9b6shg7ar5bvs-perl-BerkeleyDB-0.26.drv

$ nix-store -r $(nix-instantiate test.nix) (build)
...
/nix/store/qhqk4n8ci095g3sdp93x7rgwyh9rdvgk-perl-BerkeleyDB-0.26 (output path)

$ ls -l /nix/store/qhqk4n8ci095g3sdp93x7rgwyh9rdvgk-perl-BerkeleyDB-0.26
dr-xr-xr-x    2 eelco    users        4096 1970-01-01 01:00 lib
...

You can also give a Nix expression on the command line:

$ nix-instantiate -E 'with import <nixpkgs> { }; hello'
/nix/store/j8s4zyv75a724q38cb0r87rlczaiag4y-hello-2.8.drv

This is equivalent to:

$ nix-instantiate '<nixpkgs>' -A hello

Parsing and evaluating Nix expressions:

$ nix-instantiate --parse -E '1 + 2'
1 + 2
$ nix-instantiate --eval -E '1 + 2'
3
$ nix-instantiate --eval --xml -E '1 + 2'
<?xml version='1.0' encoding='utf-8'?>
<expr>
  <int value="3" />
</expr>

The difference between non-strict and strict evaluation:

$ nix-instantiate --eval --xml -E 'rec { x = "foo"; y = x; }'
...
  <attr name="x">
    <string value="foo" />
  </attr>
  <attr name="y">
    <unevaluated />
  </attr>
...

Note that y is left unevaluated (the XML representation doesn’t attempt to show non-normal forms).

$ nix-instantiate --eval --xml --strict -E 'rec { x = "foo"; y = x; }'
...
  <attr name="x">
    <string value="foo" />
  </attr>
  <attr name="y">
    <string value="foo" />
  </attr>
...

Name

nix-prefetch-url - copy a file from a URL into the store and print its hash

Synopsis

nix-prefetch-url url [hash] [--type hashAlgo] [--print-path] [--unpack] [--name name]

Description

The command nix-prefetch-url downloads the file referenced by the URL url, prints its cryptographic hash, and copies it into the Nix store. The file name in the store is hash-baseName, where baseName is everything following the final slash in url.

This command is just a convenience for Nix expression writers. Often a Nix expression fetches some source distribution from the network using the fetchurl expression contained in Nixpkgs. However, fetchurl requires a cryptographic hash. If you don't know the hash, you would have to download the file first, and then fetchurl would download it again when you build your Nix expression. Since fetchurl uses the same name for the downloaded file as nix-prefetch-url, the redundant download can be avoided.

If hash is specified, then a download is not performed if the Nix store already contains a file with the same hash and base name. Otherwise, the file is downloaded, and an error is signaled if the actual hash of the file does not match the specified hash.

This command prints the hash on standard output. Additionally, if the option --print-path is used, the path of the downloaded file in the Nix store is also printed.

Options

  • --type hashAlgo
    Use the specified cryptographic hash algorithm, which can be one of md5, sha1, sha256, and sha512.

  • --print-path
    Print the store path of the downloaded file on standard output.

  • --unpack
    Unpack the archive (which must be a tarball or zip file) and add the result to the Nix store. The resulting hash can be used with functions such as Nixpkgs’s fetchzip or fetchFromGitHub.

  • --executable
    Set the executable bit on the downloaded file.

  • --name name
    Override the name of the file in the Nix store. By default, this is hash-basename, where basename is the last component of url. Overriding the name is necessary when basename contains characters that are not allowed in Nix store paths.

Examples

$ nix-prefetch-url ftp://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/hello/hello-2.10.tar.gz
0ssi1wpaf7plaswqqjwigppsg5fyh99vdlb9kzl7c9lng89ndq1i
$ nix-prefetch-url --print-path mirror://gnu/hello/hello-2.10.tar.gz
0ssi1wpaf7plaswqqjwigppsg5fyh99vdlb9kzl7c9lng89ndq1i
/nix/store/3x7dwzq014bblazs7kq20p9hyzz0qh8g-hello-2.10.tar.gz
$ nix-prefetch-url --unpack --print-path https://github.com/NixOS/patchelf/archive/0.8.tar.gz
079agjlv0hrv7fxnx9ngipx14gyncbkllxrp9cccnh3a50fxcmy7
/nix/store/19zrmhm3m40xxaw81c8cqm6aljgrnwj2-0.8.tar.gz

Experimental Commands

This section lists experimental commands.

Warning

These commands may be removed in the future, or their syntax may change in incompatible ways.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix - a tool for reproducible and declarative configuration management

Synopsis

nix [option...] subcommand

where subcommand is one of the following:

Main commands:

  • nix build - build a derivation or fetch a store path
  • nix develop - run a bash shell that provides the build environment of a derivation
  • nix flake - manage Nix flakes
  • nix help - show help about nix or a particular subcommand
  • nix profile - manage Nix profiles
  • nix repl - start an interactive environment for evaluating Nix expressions
  • nix run - run a Nix application
  • nix search - search for packages
  • nix shell - run a shell in which the specified packages are available

Infrequently used commands:

  • nix bundle - bundle an application so that it works outside of the Nix store
  • nix copy - copy paths between Nix stores
  • nix edit - open the Nix expression of a Nix package in $EDITOR
  • nix eval - evaluate a Nix expression
  • nix log - show the build log of the specified packages or paths, if available
  • nix path-info - query information about store paths
  • nix registry - manage the flake registry
  • nix why-depends - show why a package has another package in its closure

Utility/scripting commands:

Commands for upgrading or troubleshooting your Nix installation:

  • nix doctor - check your system for potential problems and print a PASS or FAIL for each check
  • nix upgrade-nix - upgrade Nix to the latest stable version

Examples

  • Create a new flake:

    # nix flake new hello
    # cd hello
    
  • Build the flake in the current directory:

    # nix build
    # ./result/bin/hello
    Hello, world!
    
  • Run the flake in the current directory:

    # nix run
    Hello, world!
    
  • Start a development shell for hacking on this flake:

    # nix develop
    # unpackPhase
    # cd hello-*
    # configurePhase
    # buildPhase
    # ./hello
    Hello, world!
    # installPhase
    # ../outputs/out/bin/hello
    Hello, world!
    

Description

Nix is a tool for building software, configurations and other artifacts in a reproducible and declarative way. For more information, see the Nix homepage or the Nix manual.

Installables

Many nix subcommands operate on one or more installables. These are command line arguments that represent something that can be built in the Nix store. Here are the recognised types of installables:

  • Flake output attributes: nixpkgs#hello

    These have the form flakeref[#attrpath], where flakeref is a flake reference and attrpath is an optional attribute path. For more information on flakes, see the nix flake manual page. Flake references are most commonly a flake identifier in the flake registry (e.g. nixpkgs) or a path (e.g. /path/to/my-flake or .).

    If attrpath is omitted, Nix tries some default values; for most subcommands, the default is defaultPackage.system (e.g. defaultPackage.x86_64-linux), but some subcommands have other defaults. If attrpath is specified, attrpath is interpreted as relative to one or more prefixes; for most subcommands, these are packages.system, legacyPackages.*system* and the empty prefix. Thus, on x86_64-linux nix build nixpkgs#hello will try to build the attributes packages.x86_64-linux.hello, legacyPackages.x86_64-linux.hello and hello.

  • Store paths: /nix/store/v5sv61sszx301i0x6xysaqzla09nksnd-hello-2.10

    These are paths inside the Nix store, or symlinks that resolve to a path in the Nix store.

  • Store derivations: /nix/store/p7gp6lxdg32h4ka1q398wd9r2zkbbz2v-hello-2.10.drv

    Store derivations are store paths with extension .drv and are a low-level representation of a build-time dependency graph used internally by Nix. By default, if you pass a store derivation to a nix subcommand, it will operate on the output paths of the derivation. For example, nix path-info prints information about the output paths:

    # nix path-info --json /nix/store/p7gp6lxdg32h4ka1q398wd9r2zkbbz2v-hello-2.10.drv
    [{"path":"/nix/store/v5sv61sszx301i0x6xysaqzla09nksnd-hello-2.10",…}]
    

    If you want to operate on the store derivation itself, pass the --derivation flag.

  • Nix attributes: --file /path/to/nixpkgs hello

    When the -f / --file path option is given, installables are interpreted as attribute paths referencing a value returned by evaluating the Nix file path.

  • Nix expressions: --expr '(import <nixpkgs> {}).hello.overrideDerivation (prev: { name = "my-hello"; })'.

    When the --expr option is given, all installables are interpreted as Nix expressions. You may need to specify --impure if the expression references impure inputs (such as <nixpkgs>).

For most commands, if no installable is specified, the default is ., i.e. Nix will operate on the default flake output attribute of the flake in the current directory.

Nix stores

Most nix subcommands operate on a Nix store.

TODO: list store types, options

Options

  • --help
    Show usage information.

  • --offline
    Disable substituters and consider all previously downloaded files up-to-date.

  • --option name value
    Set the Nix configuration setting name to value (overriding nix.conf).

  • --refresh
    Consider all previously downloaded files out-of-date.

  • --version
    Show version information.

Logging-related options:

  • --debug
    Set the logging verbosity level to 'debug'.

  • --log-format format
    Set the format of log output; one of raw, internal-json, bar or bar-with-logs.

  • --print-build-logs / -L
    Print full build logs on standard error.

  • --quiet
    Decrease the logging verbosity level.

  • --verbose / -v
    Increase the logging verbosity level.

Options to override configuration settings:

  • --access-tokens value
    Set the access-tokens setting.

  • --allow-dirty
    Enable the allow-dirty setting.

  • --allow-import-from-derivation
    Enable the allow-import-from-derivation setting.

  • --allow-new-privileges
    Enable the allow-new-privileges setting.

  • --allow-symlinked-store
    Enable the allow-symlinked-store setting.

  • --allow-unsafe-native-code-during-evaluation
    Enable the allow-unsafe-native-code-during-evaluation setting.

  • --allowed-impure-host-deps value
    Set the allowed-impure-host-deps setting.

  • --allowed-uris value
    Set the allowed-uris setting.

  • --allowed-users value
    Set the allowed-users setting.

  • --auto-optimise-store
    Enable the auto-optimise-store setting.

  • --bash-prompt value
    Set the bash-prompt setting.

  • --bash-prompt-suffix value
    Set the bash-prompt-suffix setting.

  • --build-hook value
    Set the build-hook setting.

  • --build-poll-interval value
    Set the build-poll-interval setting.

  • --build-users-group value
    Set the build-users-group setting.

  • --builders value
    Set the builders setting.

  • --builders-use-substitutes
    Enable the builders-use-substitutes setting.

  • --compress-build-log
    Enable the compress-build-log setting.

  • --connect-timeout value
    Set the connect-timeout setting.

  • --cores value
    Set the cores setting.

  • --diff-hook value
    Set the diff-hook setting.

  • --download-attempts value
    Set the download-attempts setting.

  • --enforce-determinism
    Enable the enforce-determinism setting.

  • --eval-cache
    Enable the eval-cache setting.

  • --experimental-features value
    Set the experimental-features setting.

  • --extra-access-tokens value
    Append to the access-tokens setting.

  • --extra-allowed-impure-host-deps value
    Append to the allowed-impure-host-deps setting.

  • --extra-allowed-uris value
    Append to the allowed-uris setting.

  • --extra-allowed-users value
    Append to the allowed-users setting.

  • --extra-experimental-features value
    Append to the experimental-features setting.

  • --extra-extra-platforms value
    Append to the extra-platforms setting.

  • --extra-hashed-mirrors value
    Append to the hashed-mirrors setting.

  • --extra-nix-path value
    Append to the nix-path setting.

  • --extra-platforms value
    Set the extra-platforms setting.

  • --extra-plugin-files value
    Append to the plugin-files setting.

  • --extra-sandbox-paths value
    Append to the sandbox-paths setting.

  • --extra-secret-key-files value
    Append to the secret-key-files setting.

  • --extra-substituters value
    Append to the substituters setting.

  • --extra-system-features value
    Append to the system-features setting.

  • --extra-trusted-public-keys value
    Append to the trusted-public-keys setting.

  • --extra-trusted-substituters value
    Append to the trusted-substituters setting.

  • --extra-trusted-users value
    Append to the trusted-users setting.

  • --fallback
    Enable the fallback setting.

  • --filter-syscalls
    Enable the filter-syscalls setting.

  • --flake-registry value
    Set the flake-registry setting.

  • --fsync-metadata
    Enable the fsync-metadata setting.

  • --gc-reserved-space value
    Set the gc-reserved-space setting.

  • --hashed-mirrors value
    Set the hashed-mirrors setting.

  • --http-connections value
    Set the http-connections setting.

  • --http2
    Enable the http2 setting.

  • --impersonate-linux-26
    Enable the impersonate-linux-26 setting.

  • --keep-build-log
    Enable the keep-build-log setting.

  • --keep-derivations
    Enable the keep-derivations setting.

  • --keep-env-derivations
    Enable the keep-env-derivations setting.

  • --keep-failed
    Enable the keep-failed setting.

  • --keep-going
    Enable the keep-going setting.

  • --keep-outputs
    Enable the keep-outputs setting.

  • --log-lines value
    Set the log-lines setting.

  • --max-build-log-size value
    Set the max-build-log-size setting.

  • --max-free value
    Set the max-free setting.

  • --max-jobs value
    Set the max-jobs setting.

  • --max-silent-time value
    Set the max-silent-time setting.

  • --min-free value
    Set the min-free setting.

  • --min-free-check-interval value
    Set the min-free-check-interval setting.

  • --nar-buffer-size value
    Set the nar-buffer-size setting.

  • --narinfo-cache-negative-ttl value
    Set the narinfo-cache-negative-ttl setting.

  • --narinfo-cache-positive-ttl value
    Set the narinfo-cache-positive-ttl setting.

  • --netrc-file value
    Set the netrc-file setting.

  • --nix-path value
    Set the nix-path setting.

  • --no-allow-dirty
    Disable the allow-dirty setting.

  • --no-allow-import-from-derivation
    Disable the allow-import-from-derivation setting.

  • --no-allow-new-privileges
    Disable the allow-new-privileges setting.

  • --no-allow-symlinked-store
    Disable the allow-symlinked-store setting.

  • --no-allow-unsafe-native-code-during-evaluation
    Disable the allow-unsafe-native-code-during-evaluation setting.

  • --no-auto-optimise-store
    Disable the auto-optimise-store setting.

  • --no-builders-use-substitutes
    Disable the builders-use-substitutes setting.

  • --no-compress-build-log
    Disable the compress-build-log setting.

  • --no-enforce-determinism
    Disable the enforce-determinism setting.

  • --no-eval-cache
    Disable the eval-cache setting.

  • --no-fallback
    Disable the fallback setting.

  • --no-filter-syscalls
    Disable the filter-syscalls setting.

  • --no-fsync-metadata
    Disable the fsync-metadata setting.

  • --no-http2
    Disable the http2 setting.

  • --no-impersonate-linux-26
    Disable the impersonate-linux-26 setting.

  • --no-keep-build-log
    Disable the keep-build-log setting.

  • --no-keep-derivations
    Disable the keep-derivations setting.

  • --no-keep-env-derivations
    Disable the keep-env-derivations setting.

  • --no-keep-failed
    Disable the keep-failed setting.

  • --no-keep-going
    Disable the keep-going setting.

  • --no-keep-outputs
    Disable the keep-outputs setting.

  • --no-preallocate-contents
    Disable the preallocate-contents setting.

  • --no-print-missing
    Disable the print-missing setting.

  • --no-pure-eval
    Disable the pure-eval setting.

  • --no-require-sigs
    Disable the require-sigs setting.

  • --no-restrict-eval
    Disable the restrict-eval setting.

  • --no-run-diff-hook
    Disable the run-diff-hook setting.

  • --no-sandbox
    Disable sandboxing.

  • --no-sandbox-fallback
    Disable the sandbox-fallback setting.

  • --no-show-trace
    Disable the show-trace setting.

  • --no-substitute
    Disable the substitute setting.

  • --no-sync-before-registering
    Disable the sync-before-registering setting.

  • --no-trace-function-calls
    Disable the trace-function-calls setting.

  • --no-use-case-hack
    Disable the use-case-hack setting.

  • --no-use-registries
    Disable the use-registries setting.

  • --no-use-sqlite-wal
    Disable the use-sqlite-wal setting.

  • --no-warn-dirty
    Disable the warn-dirty setting.

  • --plugin-files value
    Set the plugin-files setting.

  • --post-build-hook value
    Set the post-build-hook setting.

  • --pre-build-hook value
    Set the pre-build-hook setting.

  • --preallocate-contents
    Enable the preallocate-contents setting.

  • --print-missing
    Enable the print-missing setting.

  • --pure-eval
    Enable the pure-eval setting.

  • --relaxed-sandbox
    Enable sandboxing, but allow builds to disable it.

  • --repeat value
    Set the repeat setting.

  • --require-sigs
    Enable the require-sigs setting.

  • --restrict-eval
    Enable the restrict-eval setting.

  • --run-diff-hook
    Enable the run-diff-hook setting.

  • --sandbox
    Enable sandboxing.

  • --sandbox-build-dir value
    Set the sandbox-build-dir setting.

  • --sandbox-dev-shm-size value
    Set the sandbox-dev-shm-size setting.

  • --sandbox-fallback
    Enable the sandbox-fallback setting.

  • --sandbox-paths value
    Set the sandbox-paths setting.

  • --secret-key-files value
    Set the secret-key-files setting.

  • --show-trace
    Enable the show-trace setting.

  • --stalled-download-timeout value
    Set the stalled-download-timeout setting.

  • --store value
    Set the store setting.

  • --substitute
    Enable the substitute setting.

  • --substituters value
    Set the substituters setting.

  • --sync-before-registering
    Enable the sync-before-registering setting.

  • --system value
    Set the system setting.

  • --system-features value
    Set the system-features setting.

  • --tarball-ttl value
    Set the tarball-ttl setting.

  • --timeout value
    Set the timeout setting.

  • --trace-function-calls
    Enable the trace-function-calls setting.

  • --trusted-public-keys value
    Set the trusted-public-keys setting.

  • --trusted-substituters value
    Set the trusted-substituters setting.

  • --trusted-users value
    Set the trusted-users setting.

  • --use-case-hack
    Enable the use-case-hack setting.

  • --use-registries
    Enable the use-registries setting.

  • --use-sqlite-wal
    Enable the use-sqlite-wal setting.

  • --user-agent-suffix value
    Set the user-agent-suffix setting.

  • --warn-dirty
    Enable the warn-dirty setting.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix build - build a derivation or fetch a store path

Synopsis

nix build [option...] installables...

Examples

  • Build the default package from the flake in the current directory:

    # nix build
    
  • Build and run GNU Hello from the nixpkgs flake:

    # nix build nixpkgs#hello
    # ./result/bin/hello
    Hello, world!
    
  • Build GNU Hello and Cowsay, leaving two result symlinks:

    # nix build nixpkgs#hello nixpkgs#cowsay
    # ls -l result*
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 … result -> /nix/store/v5sv61sszx301i0x6xysaqzla09nksnd-hello-2.10
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 … result-1 -> /nix/store/rkfrm0z6x6jmi7d3gsmma4j53h15mg33-cowsay-3.03+dfsg2
    
  • Build a specific output:

    # nix build nixpkgs#glibc.dev
    # ls -ld ./result-dev
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 … ./result-dev -> /nix/store/dkm3gwl0xrx0wrw6zi5x3px3lpgjhlw4-glibc-2.32-dev
    
  • Build attribute build.x86_64-linux from (non-flake) Nix expression release.nix:

    # nix build -f release.nix build.x86_64-linux
    
  • Build a NixOS system configuration from a flake, and make a profile point to the result:

    # nix build --profile /nix/var/nix/profiles/system \
        ~/my-configurations#nixosConfigurations.machine.config.system.build.toplevel
    

    (This is essentially what nixos-rebuild does.)

  • Build an expression specified on the command line:

    # nix build --impure --expr \
        'with import <nixpkgs> {};
         runCommand "foo" {
           buildInputs = [ hello ];
         }
         "hello > $out"'
    # cat ./result
    Hello, world!
    

    Note that --impure is needed because we're using <nixpkgs>, which relies on the $NIX_PATH environment variable.

  • Fetch a store path from the configured substituters, if it doesn't already exist:

    # nix build /nix/store/rkfrm0z6x6jmi7d3gsmma4j53h15mg33-cowsay-3.03+dfsg2
    

Description

nix build builds the specified installables. Installables that resolve to derivations are built (or substituted if possible). Store path installables are substituted.

Unless --no-link is specified, after a successful build, it creates symlinks to the store paths of the installables. These symlinks have the prefix ./result by default; this can be overridden using the --out-link option. Each symlink has a suffix -<N>-<outname>, where N is the index of the installable (with the left-most installable having index 0), and outname is the symbolic derivation output name (e.g. bin, dev or lib). -<N> is omitted if N = 0, and -<outname> is omitted if outname = out (denoting the default output).

Options

  • --dry-run
    Show what this command would do without doing it.

  • --json
    Produce output in JSON format, suitable for consumption by another program.

  • --no-link
    Do not create symlinks to the build results.

  • --out-link / -o path
    Use path as prefix for the symlinks to the build results. It defaults to result.

  • --profile path
    The profile to update.

  • --rebuild
    Rebuild an already built package and compare the result to the existing store paths.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix bundle - bundle an application so that it works outside of the Nix store

Synopsis

nix bundle [option...] installable

Examples

  • Bundle Hello:

    # nix bundle nixpkgs#hello
    # ./hello
    Hello, world!
    
  • Bundle a specific version of Nix:

    # nix bundle github:NixOS/nix/e3ddffb27e5fc37a209cfd843c6f7f6a9460a8ec
    # ./nix --version
    nix (Nix) 2.4pre20201215_e3ddffb
    

Description

nix bundle packs the closure of the Nix app installable into a single self-extracting executable. See the nix-bundle homepage for more details.

Note

This command only works on Linux.

Bundler definitions

TODO

Options

  • --bundler flake-url
    Use a custom bundler instead of the default (github:matthewbauer/nix-bundle).

  • --out-link / -o path
    Override the name of the symlink to the build result. It defaults to the base name of the app.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix copy - copy paths between Nix stores

Synopsis

nix copy [option...] installables...

Examples

  • Copy Firefox from the local store to a binary cache in /tmp/cache:

    # nix copy --to file:///tmp/cache $(type -p firefox)
    

    Note the file:// - without this, the destination is a chroot store, not a binary cache.

  • Copy the entire current NixOS system closure to another machine via SSH:

    # nix copy -s --to ssh://server /run/current-system
    

    The -s flag causes the remote machine to try to substitute missing store paths, which may be faster if the link between the local and remote machines is slower than the link between the remote machine and its substituters (e.g. https://cache.nixos.org).

  • Copy a closure from another machine via SSH:

    # nix copy --from ssh://server /nix/store/a6cnl93nk1wxnq84brbbwr6hxw9gp2w9-blender-2.79-rc2
    
  • Copy Hello to a binary cache in an Amazon S3 bucket:

    # nix copy --to s3://my-bucket?region=eu-west-1 nixpkgs#hello
    

    or to an S3-compatible storage system:

    # nix copy --to s3://my-bucket?region=eu-west-1&endpoint=example.com nixpkgs#hello
    

    Note that this only works if Nix is built with AWS support.

  • Copy a closure from /nix/store to the chroot store /tmp/nix/nix/store:

    # nix copy --to /tmp/nix nixpkgs#hello --no-check-sigs
    

Description

nix copy copies store path closures between two Nix stores. The source store is specified using --from and the destination using --to. If one of these is omitted, it defaults to the local store.

Options

  • --from store-uri
    URL of the source Nix store.

  • --no-check-sigs
    Do not require that paths are signed by trusted keys.

  • --substitute-on-destination / -s
    Whether to try substitutes on the destination store (only supported by SSH stores).

  • --to store-uri
    URL of the destination Nix store.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --all
    Apply the operation to every store path.

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

  • --no-recursive
    Apply operation to specified paths only.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix daemon - daemon to perform store operations on behalf of non-root clients

Synopsis

nix daemon [option...]

Example

  • Run the daemon in the foreground:

    # nix daemon
    

Description

This command runs the Nix daemon, which is a required component in multi-user Nix installations. It performs build actions and other operations on the Nix store on behalf of non-root users. Usually you don't run the daemon directly; instead it's managed by a service management framework such as systemd.

Note that this daemon does not fork into the background.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix describe-stores - show registered store types and their available options

Synopsis

nix describe-stores [option...]

Options

  • --json
    Produce output in JSON format, suitable for consumption by another program.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix develop - run a bash shell that provides the build environment of a derivation

Synopsis

nix develop [option...] installable

Examples

  • Start a shell with the build environment of the default package of the flake in the current directory:

    # nix develop
    

    Typical commands to run inside this shell are:

    # configurePhase
    # buildPhase
    # installPhase
    

    Alternatively, you can run whatever build tools your project uses directly, e.g. for a typical Unix project:

    # ./configure --prefix=$out
    # make
    # make install
    
  • Run a particular build phase directly:

    # nix develop --configure
    # nix develop --build
    # nix develop --check
    # nix develop --install
    # nix develop --installcheck
    
  • Start a shell with the build environment of GNU Hello:

    # nix develop nixpkgs#hello
    
  • Record a build environment in a profile:

    # nix develop --profile /tmp/my-build-env nixpkgs#hello
    
  • Use a build environment previously recorded in a profile:

    # nix develop /tmp/my-build-env
    
  • Replace all occurences of the store path corresponding to glibc.dev with a writable directory:

    # nix develop --redirect nixpkgs#glibc.dev ~/my-glibc/outputs/dev
    

    Note that this is useful if you're running a nix develop shell for nixpkgs#glibc in ~/my-glibc and want to compile another package against it.

Description

nix develop starts a bash shell that provides an interactive build environment nearly identical to what Nix would use to build installable. Inside this shell, environment variables and shell functions are set up so that you can interactively and incrementally build your package.

Nix determines the build environment by building a modified version of the derivation installable that just records the environment initialised by stdenv and exits. This build environment can be recorded into a profile using --profile.

The prompt used by the bash shell can be customised by setting the bash-prompt and bash-prompt-suffix settings in nix.conf or in the flake's nixConfig attribute.

Flake output attributes

If no flake output attribute is given, nix develop tries the following flake output attributes:

  • devShell.<system>

  • defaultPackage.<system>

If a flake output name is given, nix develop tries the following flake output attributes:

  • devShells.<system>.<name>

  • packages.<system>.<name>

  • legacyPackages.<system>.<name>

Options

  • --build
    Run the build phase.

  • --check
    Run the check phase.

  • --command / -c command args
    Instead of starting an interactive shell, start the specified command and arguments.

  • --configure
    Run the configure phase.

  • --ignore-environment / -i
    Clear the entire environment (except those specified with --keep).

  • --install
    Run the install phase.

  • --installcheck
    Run the installcheck phase.

  • --keep / -k name
    Keep the environment variable name.

  • --phase phase-name
    The stdenv phase to run (e.g. build or configure).

  • --profile path
    The profile to update.

  • --redirect installable outputs-dir
    Redirect a store path to a mutable location.

  • --unset / -u name
    Unset the environment variable name.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix doctor - check your system for potential problems and print a PASS or FAIL for each check

Synopsis

nix doctor [option...]

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix edit - open the Nix expression of a Nix package in $EDITOR

Synopsis

nix edit [option...] installable

Examples

  • Open the Nix expression of the GNU Hello package:

    # nix edit nixpkgs#hello
    
  • Get the filename and line number used by nix edit:

    # nix eval --raw nixpkgs#hello.meta.position
    /nix/store/fvafw0gvwayzdan642wrv84pzm5bgpmy-source/pkgs/applications/misc/hello/default.nix:15
    

Description

This command opens the Nix expression of a derivation in an editor. The filename and line number of the derivation are taken from its meta.position attribute. Nixpkgs' stdenv.mkDerivation sets this attribute to the location of the definition of the meta.description, version or name derivation attributes.

The editor to invoke is specified by the EDITOR environment variable. It defaults to cat. If the editor is emacs, nano or vim, it is passed the line number of the derivation using the argument +<lineno>.

Options

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix eval - evaluate a Nix expression

Synopsis

nix eval [option...] installable

Examples

  • Evaluate a Nix expression given on the command line:

    # nix eval --expr '1 + 2'
    
  • Evaluate a Nix expression to JSON:

    # nix eval --json --expr '{ x = 1; }'
    {"x":1}
    
  • Evaluate a Nix expression from a file:

    # nix eval -f ./my-nixpkgs hello.name
    
  • Get the current version of the nixpkgs flake:

    # nix eval --raw nixpkgs#lib.version
    
  • Print the store path of the Hello package:

    # nix eval --raw nixpkgs#hello
    
  • Get a list of checks in the nix flake:

    # nix eval nix#checks.x86_64-linux --apply builtins.attrNames
    
  • Generate a directory with the specified contents:

    # nix eval --write-to ./out --expr '{ foo = "bar"; subdir.bla = "123"; }'
    # cat ./out/foo
    bar
    # cat ./out/subdir/bla
    123
    
    

Description

This command evaluates the Nix expression installable and prints the result on standard output.

Output format

nix eval can produce output in several formats:

  • By default, the evaluation result is printed as a Nix expression.

  • With --json, the evaluation result is printed in JSON format. Note that this fails if the result contains values that are not representable as JSON, such as functions.

  • With --raw, the evaluation result must be a string, which is printed verbatim, without any quoting.

  • With --write-to path, the evaluation result must be a string or a nested attribute set whose leaf values are strings. These strings are written to files named path/attrpath. path must not already exist.

Options

  • --apply expr
    Apply the function expr to each argument.

  • --json
    Produce output in JSON format, suitable for consumption by another program.

  • --raw
    Print strings without quotes or escaping.

  • --write-to path
    Write a string or attrset of strings to path.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix flake - manage Nix flakes

Synopsis

nix flake [option...] subcommand

where subcommand is one of the following:

Description

nix flake provides subcommands for creating, modifying and querying Nix flakes. Flakes are the unit for packaging Nix code in a reproducible and discoverable way. They can have dependencies on other flakes, making it possible to have multi-repository Nix projects.

A flake is a filesystem tree (typically fetched from a Git repository or a tarball) that contains a file named flake.nix in the root directory. flake.nix specifies some metadata about the flake such as dependencies (called inputs), as well as its outputs (the Nix values such as packages or NixOS modules provided by the flake).

Flake references

Flake references (flakerefs) are a way to specify the location of a flake. These have two different forms:

  • An attribute set representation, e.g.

    {
      type = "github";
      owner = "NixOS";
      repo = "nixpkgs";
    }
    

    The only required attribute is type. The supported types are listed below.

  • A URL-like syntax, e.g.

    github:NixOS/nixpkgs
    

    These are used on the command line as a more convenient alternative to the attribute set representation. For instance, in the command

    # nix build github:NixOS/nixpkgs#hello
    

    github:NixOS/nixpkgs is a flake reference (while hello is an output attribute). They are also allowed in the inputs attribute of a flake, e.g.

    inputs.nixpkgs.url = github:NixOS/nixpkgs;
    

    is equivalent to

    inputs.nixpkgs = {
      type = "github";
      owner = "NixOS";
      repo = "nixpkgs";
    };
    

Examples

Here are some examples of flake references in their URL-like representation:

  • .: The flake in the current directory.
  • /home/alice/src/patchelf: A flake in some other directory.
  • nixpkgs: The nixpkgs entry in the flake registry.
  • nixpkgs/a3a3dda3bacf61e8a39258a0ed9c924eeca8e293: The nixpkgs entry in the flake registry, with its Git revision overridden to a specific value.
  • github:NixOS/nixpkgs: The master branch of the NixOS/nixpkgs repository on GitHub.
  • github:NixOS/nixpkgs/nixos-20.09: The nixos-20.09 branch of the nixpkgs repository.
  • github:NixOS/nixpkgs/a3a3dda3bacf61e8a39258a0ed9c924eeca8e293: A specific revision of the nixpkgs repository.
  • github:edolstra/nix-warez?dir=blender: A flake in a subdirectory of a GitHub repository.
  • git+https://github.com/NixOS/patchelf: A Git repository.
  • git+https://github.com/NixOS/patchelf?ref=master: A specific branch of a Git repository.
  • git+https://github.com/NixOS/patchelf?ref=master&rev=f34751b88bd07d7f44f5cd3200fb4122bf916c7e: A specific branch and revision of a Git repository.
  • https://github.com/NixOS/patchelf/archive/master.tar.gz: A tarball flake.

Flake reference attributes

The following generic flake reference attributes are supported:

  • dir: The subdirectory of the flake in which flake.nix is located. This parameter enables having multiple flakes in a repository or tarball. The default is the root directory of the flake.

  • narHash: The hash of the NAR serialisation (in SRI format) of the contents of the flake. This is useful for flake types such as tarballs that lack a unique content identifier such as a Git commit hash.

In addition, the following attributes are common to several flake reference types:

  • rev: A Git or Mercurial commit hash.

  • ref: A Git or Mercurial branch or tag name.

Finally, some attribute are typically not specified by the user, but can occur in locked flake references and are available to Nix code:

  • revCount: The number of ancestors of the commit rev.

  • lastModified: The timestamp (in seconds since the Unix epoch) of the last modification of this version of the flake. For Git/Mercurial flakes, this is the commit time of commit rev, while for tarball flakes, it's the most recent timestamp of any file inside the tarball.

Types

Currently the type attribute can be one of the following:

  • path: arbitrary local directories, or local Git trees. The required attribute path specifies the path of the flake. The URL form is

    [path:]<path>(\?<params)?
    

    where path is an absolute path.

    path must be a directory in the file system containing a file named flake.nix.

    If the directory or any of its parents is a Git repository, then this is essentially equivalent to git+file://<path> (see below), except that the dir parameter is derived automatically. For example, if /foo/bar is a Git repository, then the flake reference /foo/bar/flake is equivalent to /foo/bar?dir=flake.

    If the directory is not inside a Git repository, then the flake contents is the entire contents of path.

    path generally must be an absolute path. However, on the command line, it can be a relative path (e.g. . or ./foo) which is interpreted as relative to the current directory. In this case, it must start with . to avoid ambiguity with registry lookups (e.g. nixpkgs is a registry lookup; ./nixpkgs is a relative path).

  • git: Git repositories. The location of the repository is specified by the attribute url.

    They have the URL form

    git(+http|+https|+ssh|+git|+file|):(//<server>)?<path>(\?<params>)?
    

    The ref attribute defaults to master.

    The rev attribute must denote a commit that exists in the branch or tag specified by the ref attribute, since Nix doesn't do a full clone of the remote repository by default (and the Git protocol doesn't allow fetching a rev without a known ref). The default is the commit currently pointed to by ref.

    For example, the following are valid Git flake references:

    • git+https://example.org/my/repo
    • git+https://example.org/my/repo?dir=flake1
    • git+ssh://git@github.com/NixOS/nix?ref=v1.2.3
    • git://github.com/edolstra/dwarffs?ref=unstable&rev=e486d8d40e626a20e06d792db8cc5ac5aba9a5b4
    • git+file:///home/my-user/some-repo/some-repo
  • mercurial: Mercurial repositories. The URL form is similar to the git type, except that the URL schema must be one of hg+http, hg+https, hg+ssh or hg+file.

  • tarball: Tarballs. The location of the tarball is specified by the attribute url.

    In URL form, the schema must be http://, https:// or file:// URLs and the extension must be .zip, .tar, .tar.gz, .tar.xz, .tar.bz2 or .tar.zst.

  • github: A more efficient way to fetch repositories from GitHub. The following attributes are required:

    • owner: The owner of the repository.

    • repo: The name of the repository.

    These are downloaded as tarball archives, rather than through Git. This is often much faster and uses less disk space since it doesn't require fetching the entire history of the repository. On the other hand, it doesn't allow incremental fetching (but full downloads are often faster than incremental fetches!).

    The URL syntax for github flakes is:

    github:<owner>/<repo>(/<rev-or-ref>)?(\?<params>)?
    

    <rev-or-ref> specifies the name of a branch or tag (ref), or a commit hash (rev). Note that unlike Git, GitHub allows fetching by commit hash without specifying a branch or tag.

    Some examples:

    • github:edolstra/dwarffs
    • github:edolstra/dwarffs/unstable
    • github:edolstra/dwarffs/d3f2baba8f425779026c6ec04021b2e927f61e31
  • indirect: Indirections through the flake registry. These have the form

    [flake:]<flake-id>(/<rev-or-ref>(/rev)?)?
    

    These perform a lookup of <flake-id> in the flake registry. or example, nixpkgs and nixpkgs/release-20.09 are indirect flake references. The specified rev and/or ref are merged with the entry in the registry; see nix registry for details.

Flake format

As an example, here is a simple flake.nix that depends on the Nixpkgs flake and provides a single package (i.e. an installable derivation):

{
  description = "A flake for building Hello World";

  inputs.nixpkgs.url = github:NixOS/nixpkgs/nixos-20.03;

  outputs = { self, nixpkgs }: {

    defaultPackage.x86_64-linux =
      # Notice the reference to nixpkgs here.
      with import nixpkgs { system = "x86_64-linux"; };
      stdenv.mkDerivation {
        name = "hello";
        src = self;
        buildPhase = "gcc -o hello ./hello.c";
        installPhase = "mkdir -p $out/bin; install -t $out/bin hello";
      };

  };
}

The following attributes are supported in flake.nix:

  • description: A short, one-line description of the flake.

  • inputs: An attrset specifying the dependencies of the flake (described below).

  • outputs: A function that, given an attribute set containing the outputs of each of the input flakes keyed by their identifier, yields the Nix values provided by this flake. Thus, in the example above, inputs.nixpkgs contains the result of the call to the outputs function of the nixpkgs flake.

    In addition to the outputs of each input, each input in inputs also contains some metadata about the inputs. These are:

    • outPath: The path in the Nix store of the flake's source tree.

    • rev: The commit hash of the flake's repository, if applicable.

    • revCount: The number of ancestors of the revision rev. This is not available for github repositories, since they're fetched as tarballs rather than as Git repositories.

    • lastModifiedDate: The commit time of the revision rev, in the format %Y%m%d%H%M%S (e.g. 20181231100934). Unlike revCount, this is available for both Git and GitHub repositories, so it's useful for generating (hopefully) monotonically increasing version strings.

    • lastModified: The commit time of the revision rev as an integer denoting the number of seconds since 1970.

    • narHash: The SHA-256 (in SRI format) of the NAR serialization of the flake's source tree.

    The value returned by the outputs function must be an attribute set. The attributes can have arbitrary values; however, various nix subcommands require specific attributes to have a specific value (e.g. packages.x86_64-linux must be an attribute set of derivations built for the x86_64-linux platform).

Flake inputs

The attribute inputs specifies the dependencies of a flake, as an attrset mapping input names to flake references. For example, the following specifies a dependency on the nixpkgs and import-cargo repositories:

# A GitHub repository.
inputs.import-cargo = {
  type = "github";
  owner = "edolstra";
  repo = "import-cargo";
};

# An indirection through the flake registry.
inputs.nixpkgs = {
  type = "indirect";
  id = "nixpkgs";
};

Alternatively, you can use the URL-like syntax:

inputs.import-cargo.url = github:edolstra/import-cargo;
inputs.nixpkgs.url = "nixpkgs";

Each input is fetched, evaluated and passed to the outputs function as a set of attributes with the same name as the corresponding input. The special input named self refers to the outputs and source tree of this flake. Thus, a typical outputs function looks like this:

outputs = { self, nixpkgs, import-cargo }: {
  ... outputs ...
};

It is also possible to omit an input entirely and only list it as expected function argument to outputs. Thus,

outputs = { self, nixpkgs }: ...;

without an inputs.nixpkgs attribute is equivalent to

inputs.nixpkgs = {
  type = "indirect";
  id = "nixpkgs";
};

Repositories that don't contain a flake.nix can also be used as inputs, by setting the input's flake attribute to false:

inputs.grcov = {
  type = "github";
  owner = "mozilla";
  repo = "grcov";
  flake = false;
};

outputs = { self, nixpkgs, grcov }: {
  packages.x86_64-linux.grcov = stdenv.mkDerivation {
    src = grcov;
    ...
  };
};

Transitive inputs can be overridden from a flake.nix file. For example, the following overrides the nixpkgs input of the nixops input:

inputs.nixops.inputs.nixpkgs = {
  type = "github";
  owner = "my-org";
  repo = "nixpkgs";
};

It is also possible to "inherit" an input from another input. This is useful to minimize flake dependencies. For example, the following sets the nixpkgs input of the top-level flake to be equal to the nixpkgs input of the dwarffs input of the top-level flake:

inputs.nixpkgs.follows = "dwarffs/nixpkgs";

The value of the follows attribute is a /-separated sequence of input names denoting the path of inputs to be followed from the root flake.

Overrides and follows can be combined, e.g.

inputs.nixops.inputs.nixpkgs.follows = "dwarffs/nixpkgs";

sets the nixpkgs input of nixops to be the same as the nixpkgs input of dwarffs. It is worth noting, however, that it is generally not useful to eliminate transitive nixpkgs flake inputs in this way. Most flakes provide their functionality through Nixpkgs overlays or NixOS modules, which are composed into the top-level flake's nixpkgs input; so their own nixpkgs input is usually irrelevant.

Lock files

Inputs specified in flake.nix are typically "unlocked" in the sense that they don't specify an exact revision. To ensure reproducibility, Nix will automatically generate and use a lock file called flake.lock in the flake's directory. The lock file contains a graph structure isomorphic to the graph of dependencies of the root flake. Each node in the graph (except the root node) maps the (usually) unlocked input specifications in flake.nix to locked input specifications. Each node also contains some metadata, such as the dependencies (outgoing edges) of the node.

For example, if flake.nix has the inputs in the example above, then the resulting lock file might be:

{
  "version": 7,
  "root": "n1",
  "nodes": {
    "n1": {
      "inputs": {
        "nixpkgs": "n2",
        "import-cargo": "n3",
        "grcov": "n4"
      }
    },
    "n2": {
      "inputs": {},
      "locked": {
        "owner": "edolstra",
        "repo": "nixpkgs",
        "rev": "7f8d4b088e2df7fdb6b513bc2d6941f1d422a013",
        "type": "github",
        "lastModified": 1580555482,
        "narHash": "sha256-OnpEWzNxF/AU4KlqBXM2s5PWvfI5/BS6xQrPvkF5tO8="
      },
      "original": {
        "id": "nixpkgs",
        "type": "indirect"
      }
    },
    "n3": {
      "inputs": {},
      "locked": {
        "owner": "edolstra",
        "repo": "import-cargo",
        "rev": "8abf7b3a8cbe1c8a885391f826357a74d382a422",
        "type": "github",
        "lastModified": 1567183309,
        "narHash": "sha256-wIXWOpX9rRjK5NDsL6WzuuBJl2R0kUCnlpZUrASykSc="
      },
      "original": {
        "owner": "edolstra",
        "repo": "import-cargo",
        "type": "github"
      }
    },
    "n4": {
      "inputs": {},
      "locked": {
        "owner": "mozilla",
        "repo": "grcov",
        "rev": "989a84bb29e95e392589c4e73c29189fd69a1d4e",
        "type": "github",
        "lastModified": 1580729070,
        "narHash": "sha256-235uMxYlHxJ5y92EXZWAYEsEb6mm+b069GAd+BOIOxI="
      },
      "original": {
        "owner": "mozilla",
        "repo": "grcov",
        "type": "github"
      },
      "flake": false
    }
  }
}

This graph has 4 nodes: the root flake, and its 3 dependencies. The nodes have arbitrary labels (e.g. n1). The label of the root node of the graph is specified by the root attribute. Nodes contain the following fields:

  • inputs: The dependencies of this node, as a mapping from input names (e.g. nixpkgs) to node labels (e.g. n2).

  • original: The original input specification from flake.lock, as a set of builtins.fetchTree arguments.

  • locked: The locked input specification, as a set of builtins.fetchTree arguments. Thus, in the example above, when we build this flake, the input nixpkgs is mapped to revision 7f8d4b088e2df7fdb6b513bc2d6941f1d422a013 of the edolstra/nixpkgs repository on GitHub.

    It also includes the attribute narHash, specifying the expected contents of the tree in the Nix store (as computed by nix hash-path), and may include input-type-specific attributes such as the lastModified or revCount. The main reason for these attributes is to allow flake inputs to be substituted from a binary cache: narHash allows the store path to be computed, while the other attributes are necessary because they provide information not stored in the store path.

  • flake: A Boolean denoting whether this is a flake or non-flake dependency. Corresponds to the flake attribute in the inputs attribute in flake.nix.

The original and locked attributes are omitted for the root node. This is because we cannot record the commit hash or content hash of the root flake, since modifying flake.lock will invalidate these.

The graph representation of lock files allows circular dependencies between flakes. For example, here are two flakes that reference each other:

{
  inputs.b = ... location of flake B ...;
  # Tell the 'b' flake not to fetch 'a' again, to ensure its 'a' is
  # *this* 'a'.
  inputs.b.inputs.a.follows = "";
  outputs = { self, b }: {
    foo = 123 + b.bar;
    xyzzy = 1000;
  };
}

and

{
  inputs.a = ... location of flake A ...;
  inputs.a.inputs.b.follows = "";
  outputs = { self, a }: {
    bar = 456 + a.xyzzy;
  };
}

Lock files transitively lock direct as well as indirect dependencies. That is, if a lock file exists and is up to date, Nix will not look at the lock files of dependencies. However, lock file generation itself does use the lock files of dependencies by default.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix flake archive - copy a flake and all its inputs to a store

Synopsis

nix flake archive [option...] flake-url

Examples

  • Copy the dwarffs flake and its dependencies to a binary cache:

    # nix flake archive --to file:///tmp/my-cache dwarffs
    
  • Fetch the dwarffs flake and its dependencies to the local Nix store:

    # nix flake archive dwarffs
    
  • Print the store paths of the flake sources of NixOps without fetching them:

    # nix flake archive --json --dry-run nixops
    

Description

FIXME

Options

  • --dry-run
    Show what this command would do without doing it.

  • --json
    Produce output in JSON format, suitable for consumption by another program.

  • --to store-uri
    URI of the destination Nix store

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix flake check - check whether the flake evaluates and run its tests

Synopsis

nix flake check [option...] flake-url

Examples

  • Evaluate the flake in the current directory, and build its checks:

    # nix flake check
    
  • Verify that the patchelf flake evaluates, but don't build its checks:

    # nix flake check --no-build github:NixOS/patchelf
    

Description

This command verifies that the flake specified by flake reference flake-url can be evaluated successfully (as detailed below), and that the derivations specified by the flake's checks output can be built successfully.

If the keep-going option is set to true, Nix will keep evaluating as much as it can and report the errors as it encounters them. Otherwise it will stop at the first error.

Evaluation checks

The following flake output attributes must be derivations:

  • checks.system.name
  • defaultPackage.system`
  • devShell.system`
  • devShells.system.name`
  • nixosConfigurations.name`.config.system.build.toplevel
  • packages.system.name

The following flake output attributes must be app definitions:

  • apps.system.name
  • defaultApp.system`

The following flake output attributes must be template definitions:

  • defaultTemplate
  • templates.`name

The following flake output attributes must be Nixpkgs overlays:

  • overlay
  • overlays.`name

The following flake output attributes must be NixOS modules:

  • nixosModule
  • nixosModules.`name

The following flake output attributes must be bundlers:

  • bundlers.`name
  • defaultBundler

In addition, the hydraJobs output is evaluated in the same way as Hydra's hydra-eval-jobs (i.e. as a arbitrarily deeply nested attribute set of derivations). Similarly, the legacyPackages.system output is evaluated like nix-env -qa.

Options

  • --no-build
    Do not build checks.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix flake clone - clone flake repository

Synopsis

nix flake clone [option...] flake-url

Examples

  • Check out the source code of the dwarffs flake and build it:

    # nix flake clone dwarffs --dest dwarffs
    # cd dwarffs
    # nix build
    

Description

This command performs a Git or Mercurial clone of the repository containing the source code of the flake flake-url.

Options

  • --dest / -f path
    Clone the flake to path dest.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix flake info - show flake metadata

Synopsis

nix flake info [option...] flake-url

Examples

  • Show what nixpkgs resolves to:

    # nix flake metadata nixpkgs
    Resolved URL:  github:edolstra/dwarffs
    Locked URL:    github:edolstra/dwarffs/f691e2c991e75edb22836f1dbe632c40324215c5
    Description:   A filesystem that fetches DWARF debug info from the Internet on demand
    Path:          /nix/store/769s05vjydmc2lcf6b02az28wsa9ixh1-source
    Revision:      f691e2c991e75edb22836f1dbe632c40324215c5
    Last modified: 2021-01-21 15:41:26
    Inputs:
    ├───nix: github:NixOS/nix/6254b1f5d298ff73127d7b0f0da48f142bdc753c
    │   ├───lowdown-src: github:kristapsdz/lowdown/1705b4a26fbf065d9574dce47a94e8c7c79e052f
    │   └───nixpkgs: github:NixOS/nixpkgs/ad0d20345219790533ebe06571f82ed6b034db31
    └───nixpkgs follows input 'nix/nixpkgs'
    
  • Show information about dwarffs in JSON format:

    # nix flake metadata dwarffs --json | jq .
    {
      "description": "A filesystem that fetches DWARF debug info from the Internet on demand",
      "lastModified": 1597153508,
      "locked": {
        "lastModified": 1597153508,
        "narHash": "sha256-VHg3MYVgQ12LeRSU2PSoDeKlSPD8PYYEFxxwkVVDRd0=",
        "owner": "edolstra",
        "repo": "dwarffs",
        "rev": "d181d714fd36eb06f4992a1997cd5601e26db8f5",
        "type": "github"
      },
      "locks": { ... },
      "original": {
        "id": "dwarffs",
        "type": "indirect"
      },
      "originalUrl": "flake:dwarffs",
      "path": "/nix/store/hang3792qwdmm2n0d9nsrs5n6bsws6kv-source",
      "resolved": {
        "owner": "edolstra",
        "repo": "dwarffs",
        "type": "github"
      },
      "resolvedUrl": "github:edolstra/dwarffs",
      "revision": "d181d714fd36eb06f4992a1997cd5601e26db8f5",
      "url": "github:edolstra/dwarffs/d181d714fd36eb06f4992a1997cd5601e26db8f5"
    }
    

Description

This command shows information about the flake specified by the flake reference flake-url. It resolves the flake reference using the flake registry, fetches it, and prints some meta data. This includes:

  • Resolved URL: If flake-url is a flake identifier, then this is the flake reference that specifies its actual location, looked up in the flake registry.

  • Locked URL: A flake reference that contains a commit or content hash and thus uniquely identifies a specific flake version.

  • Description: A one-line description of the flake, taken from the description field in flake.nix.

  • Path: The store path containing the source code of the flake.

  • Revision: The Git or Mercurial commit hash of the locked flake.

  • Revisions: The number of ancestors of the Git or Mercurial commit of the locked flake. Note that this is not available for github flakes.

  • Last modified: For Git or Mercurial flakes, this is the commit time of the commit of the locked flake; for tarball flakes, it's the most recent timestamp of any file inside the tarball.

  • Inputs: The flake inputs with their corresponding lock file entries.

With --json, the output is a JSON object with the following fields:

  • original and originalUrl: The flake reference specified by the user (flake-url) in attribute set and URL representation.

  • resolved and resolvedUrl: The resolved flake reference (see above) in attribute set and URL representation.

  • locked and lockedUrl: The locked flake reference (see above) in attribute set and URL representation.

  • description: See Description above.

  • path: See Path above.

  • revision: See Revision above.

  • revCount: See Revisions above.

  • lastModified: See Last modified above.

  • locks: The contents of flake.lock.

Options

  • --json
    Produce output in JSON format, suitable for consumption by another program.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix flake init - create a flake in the current directory from a template

Synopsis

nix flake init [option...]

Examples

  • Create a flake using the default template:

    # nix flake init
    
  • List available templates:

    # nix flake show templates
    
  • Create a flake from a specific template:

    # nix flake init -t templates#simpleContainer
    

Description

This command creates a flake in the current directory by copying the files of a template. It will not overwrite existing files. The default template is templates#defaultTemplate, but this can be overridden using -t.

Template definitions

A flake can declare templates through its templates and defaultTemplate output attributes. A template has two attributes:

  • description: A one-line description of the template, in CommonMark syntax.

  • path: The path of the directory to be copied.

Here is an example:

outputs = { self }: {

  templates.rust = {
    path = ./rust;
    description = "A simple Rust/Cargo project";
  };

  templates.defaultTemplate = self.templates.rust;
}

Options

  • --template / -t template
    The template to use.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix flake lock - create missing lock file entries

Synopsis

nix flake lock [option...] flake-url

Examples

  • Update the nixpkgs and nix inputs of the flake in the current directory:

    # nix flake lock --update-input nixpkgs --update-input nix
    * Updated 'nix': 'github:NixOS/nix/9fab14adbc3810d5cc1f88672fde1eee4358405c' -> 'github:NixOS/nix/8927cba62f5afb33b01016d5c4f7f8b7d0adde3c'
    * Updated 'nixpkgs': 'github:NixOS/nixpkgs/3d2d8f281a27d466fa54b469b5993f7dde198375' -> 'github:NixOS/nixpkgs/a3a3dda3bacf61e8a39258a0ed9c924eeca8e293'
    

Description

This command updates the lock file of a flake (flake.lock) so that it contains a lock for every flake input specified in flake.nix. Existing lock file entries are not updated unless required by a flag such as --update-input.

Note that every command that operates on a flake will also update the lock file if needed, and supports the same flags. Therefore,

# nix flake lock --update-input nixpkgs
# nix build

is equivalent to:

# nix build --update-input nixpkgs

Thus, this command is only useful if you want to update the lock file separately from any other action such as building.

Options

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix flake metadata - show flake metadata

Synopsis

nix flake metadata [option...] flake-url

Examples

  • Show what nixpkgs resolves to:

    # nix flake metadata nixpkgs
    Resolved URL:  github:edolstra/dwarffs
    Locked URL:    github:edolstra/dwarffs/f691e2c991e75edb22836f1dbe632c40324215c5
    Description:   A filesystem that fetches DWARF debug info from the Internet on demand
    Path:          /nix/store/769s05vjydmc2lcf6b02az28wsa9ixh1-source
    Revision:      f691e2c991e75edb22836f1dbe632c40324215c5
    Last modified: 2021-01-21 15:41:26
    Inputs:
    ├───nix: github:NixOS/nix/6254b1f5d298ff73127d7b0f0da48f142bdc753c
    │   ├───lowdown-src: github:kristapsdz/lowdown/1705b4a26fbf065d9574dce47a94e8c7c79e052f
    │   └───nixpkgs: github:NixOS/nixpkgs/ad0d20345219790533ebe06571f82ed6b034db31
    └───nixpkgs follows input 'nix/nixpkgs'
    
  • Show information about dwarffs in JSON format:

    # nix flake metadata dwarffs --json | jq .
    {
      "description": "A filesystem that fetches DWARF debug info from the Internet on demand",
      "lastModified": 1597153508,
      "locked": {
        "lastModified": 1597153508,
        "narHash": "sha256-VHg3MYVgQ12LeRSU2PSoDeKlSPD8PYYEFxxwkVVDRd0=",
        "owner": "edolstra",
        "repo": "dwarffs",
        "rev": "d181d714fd36eb06f4992a1997cd5601e26db8f5",
        "type": "github"
      },
      "locks": { ... },
      "original": {
        "id": "dwarffs",
        "type": "indirect"
      },
      "originalUrl": "flake:dwarffs",
      "path": "/nix/store/hang3792qwdmm2n0d9nsrs5n6bsws6kv-source",
      "resolved": {
        "owner": "edolstra",
        "repo": "dwarffs",
        "type": "github"
      },
      "resolvedUrl": "github:edolstra/dwarffs",
      "revision": "d181d714fd36eb06f4992a1997cd5601e26db8f5",
      "url": "github:edolstra/dwarffs/d181d714fd36eb06f4992a1997cd5601e26db8f5"
    }
    

Description

This command shows information about the flake specified by the flake reference flake-url. It resolves the flake reference using the flake registry, fetches it, and prints some meta data. This includes:

  • Resolved URL: If flake-url is a flake identifier, then this is the flake reference that specifies its actual location, looked up in the flake registry.

  • Locked URL: A flake reference that contains a commit or content hash and thus uniquely identifies a specific flake version.

  • Description: A one-line description of the flake, taken from the description field in flake.nix.

  • Path: The store path containing the source code of the flake.

  • Revision: The Git or Mercurial commit hash of the locked flake.

  • Revisions: The number of ancestors of the Git or Mercurial commit of the locked flake. Note that this is not available for github flakes.

  • Last modified: For Git or Mercurial flakes, this is the commit time of the commit of the locked flake; for tarball flakes, it's the most recent timestamp of any file inside the tarball.

  • Inputs: The flake inputs with their corresponding lock file entries.

With --json, the output is a JSON object with the following fields:

  • original and originalUrl: The flake reference specified by the user (flake-url) in attribute set and URL representation.

  • resolved and resolvedUrl: The resolved flake reference (see above) in attribute set and URL representation.

  • locked and lockedUrl: The locked flake reference (see above) in attribute set and URL representation.

  • description: See Description above.

  • path: See Path above.

  • revision: See Revision above.

  • revCount: See Revisions above.

  • lastModified: See Last modified above.

  • locks: The contents of flake.lock.

Options

  • --json
    Produce output in JSON format, suitable for consumption by another program.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix flake new - create a flake in the specified directory from a template

Synopsis

nix flake new [option...] dest-dir

Examples

  • Create a flake using the default template in the directory hello:

    # nix flake new hello
    
  • List available templates:

    # nix flake show templates
    
  • Create a flake from a specific template in the directory hello:

    # nix flake new hello -t templates#trivial
    

Description

This command creates a flake in the directory dest-dir, which must not already exist. It's equivalent to:

# mkdir dest-dir
# cd dest-dir
# nix flake init

Options

  • --template / -t template
    The template to use.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix flake prefetch - download the source tree denoted by a flake reference into the Nix store

Synopsis

nix flake prefetch [option...] flake-url

Examples

  • Download a tarball and unpack it:

    # nix flake prefetch https://cdn.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v5.x/linux-5.10.5.tar.xz
    Downloaded 'https://cdn.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v5.x/linux-5.10.5.tar.xz?narHash=sha256-3XYHZANT6AFBV0BqegkAZHbba6oeDkIUCDwbATLMhAY='
    to '/nix/store/sl5vvk8mb4ma1sjyy03kwpvkz50hd22d-source' (hash
    'sha256-3XYHZANT6AFBV0BqegkAZHbba6oeDkIUCDwbATLMhAY=').
    
  • Download the dwarffs flake (looked up in the flake registry):

    # nix flake prefetch dwarffs --json
    {"hash":"sha256-VHg3MYVgQ12LeRSU2PSoDeKlSPD8PYYEFxxwkVVDRd0="
    ,"storePath":"/nix/store/hang3792qwdmm2n0d9nsrs5n6bsws6kv-source"}
    

Description

This command downloads the source tree denoted by flake reference flake-url. Note that this does not need to be a flake (i.e. it does not have to contain a flake.nix file).

Options

  • --json
    Produce output in JSON format, suitable for consumption by another program.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix flake show - show the outputs provided by a flake

Synopsis

nix flake show [option...] flake-url

Examples

  • Show the output attributes provided by the patchelf flake:

    github:NixOS/patchelf/f34751b88bd07d7f44f5cd3200fb4122bf916c7e
    ├───checks
    │   ├───aarch64-linux
    │   │   └───build: derivation 'patchelf-0.12.20201207.f34751b'
    │   ├───i686-linux
    │   │   └───build: derivation 'patchelf-0.12.20201207.f34751b'
    │   └───x86_64-linux
    │       └───build: derivation 'patchelf-0.12.20201207.f34751b'
    ├───defaultPackage
    │   ├───aarch64-linux: package 'patchelf-0.12.20201207.f34751b'
    │   ├───i686-linux: package 'patchelf-0.12.20201207.f34751b'
    │   └───x86_64-linux: package 'patchelf-0.12.20201207.f34751b'
    ├───hydraJobs
    │   ├───build
    │   │   ├───aarch64-linux: derivation 'patchelf-0.12.20201207.f34751b'
    │   │   ├───i686-linux: derivation 'patchelf-0.12.20201207.f34751b'
    │   │   └───x86_64-linux: derivation 'patchelf-0.12.20201207.f34751b'
    │   ├───coverage: derivation 'patchelf-coverage-0.12.20201207.f34751b'
    │   ├───release: derivation 'patchelf-0.12.20201207.f34751b'
    │   └───tarball: derivation 'patchelf-tarball-0.12.20201207.f34751b'
    └───overlay: Nixpkgs overlay
    

Description

This command shows the output attributes provided by the flake specified by flake reference flake-url. These are the top-level attributes in the outputs of the flake, as well as lower-level attributes for some standard outputs (e.g. packages or checks).

With --json, the output is in a JSON representation suitable for automatic processing by other tools.

Options

  • --json
    Produce output in JSON format, suitable for consumption by another program.

  • --legacy
    Show the contents of the legacyPackages output.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix flake update - update flake lock file

Synopsis

nix flake update [option...] flake-url

Examples

  • Recreate the lock file (i.e. update all inputs) and commit the new lock file:

    # nix flake update
    * Updated 'nix': 'github:NixOS/nix/9fab14adbc3810d5cc1f88672fde1eee4358405c' -> 'github:NixOS/nix/8927cba62f5afb33b01016d5c4f7f8b7d0adde3c'
    * Updated 'nixpkgs': 'github:NixOS/nixpkgs/3d2d8f281a27d466fa54b469b5993f7dde198375' -> 'github:NixOS/nixpkgs/a3a3dda3bacf61e8a39258a0ed9c924eeca8e293'
    …
    warning: committed new revision '158bcbd9d6cc08ab859c0810186c1beebc982aad'
    

Description

This command recreates the lock file of a flake (flake.lock), thus updating the lock for every mutable input (like nixpkgs) to its current version. This is equivalent to passing --recreate-lock-file to any command that operates on a flake. That is,

# nix flake update
# nix build

is equivalent to:

# nix build --recreate-lock-file

Options

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix hash - compute and convert cryptographic hashes

Synopsis

nix hash [option...] subcommand

where subcommand is one of the following:

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix hash file - print cryptographic hash of a regular file

Synopsis

nix hash file [option...] paths...

Options

  • --base16
    Print the hash in base-16 format.

  • --base32
    Print the hash in base-32 (Nix-specific) format.

  • --base64
    Print the hash in base-64 format.

  • --sri
    Print the hash in SRI format.

  • --type hash-algo
    hash algorithm ('md5', 'sha1', 'sha256', or 'sha512')

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix hash path - print cryptographic hash of the NAR serialisation of a path

Synopsis

nix hash path [option...] paths...

Options

  • --base16
    Print the hash in base-16 format.

  • --base32
    Print the hash in base-32 (Nix-specific) format.

  • --base64
    Print the hash in base-64 format.

  • --sri
    Print the hash in SRI format.

  • --type hash-algo
    hash algorithm ('md5', 'sha1', 'sha256', or 'sha512')

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix hash to-base16 - convert a hash to base-16 representation

Synopsis

nix hash to-base16 [option...] strings...

Options

  • --type hash-algo
    hash algorithm ('md5', 'sha1', 'sha256', or 'sha512'). Optional as can also be gotten from SRI hash itself.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix hash to-base32 - convert a hash to base-32 representation

Synopsis

nix hash to-base32 [option...] strings...

Options

  • --type hash-algo
    hash algorithm ('md5', 'sha1', 'sha256', or 'sha512'). Optional as can also be gotten from SRI hash itself.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix hash to-base64 - convert a hash to base-64 representation

Synopsis

nix hash to-base64 [option...] strings...

Options

  • --type hash-algo
    hash algorithm ('md5', 'sha1', 'sha256', or 'sha512'). Optional as can also be gotten from SRI hash itself.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix hash to-sri - convert a hash to SRI representation

Synopsis

nix hash to-sri [option...] strings...

Options

  • --type hash-algo
    hash algorithm ('md5', 'sha1', 'sha256', or 'sha512'). Optional as can also be gotten from SRI hash itself.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix help - show help about nix or a particular subcommand

Synopsis

nix help [option...] subcommand...

Examples

  • Show help about nix in general:

    # nix help
    
  • Show help about a particular subcommand:

        # nix help flake info
    

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix key - generate and convert Nix signing keys

Synopsis

nix key [option...] subcommand

where subcommand is one of the following:

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix key convert-secret-to-public - generate a public key for verifying store paths from a secret key read from standard input

Synopsis

nix key convert-secret-to-public [option...]

Examples

  • Convert a secret key to a public key:

    # echo cache.example.org-0:E7lAO+MsPwTFfPXsdPtW8GKui/5ho4KQHVcAGnX+Tti1V4dUxoVoqLyWJ4YESuZJwQ67GVIksDt47og+tPVUZw== \
      | nix key convert-secret-to-public
    cache.example.org-0:tVeHVMaFaKi8lieGBErmScEOuxlSJLA7eO6IPrT1VGc=
    

Description

This command reads a Ed25519 secret key from standard input, and writes the corresponding public key to standard output. For more details, see nix key generate-secret.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix key generate-secret - generate a secret key for signing store paths

Synopsis

nix key generate-secret [option...]

Examples

  • Generate a new secret key:

    # nix key generate-secret --key-name cache.example.org-1 > ./secret-key
    

    We can then use this key to sign the closure of the Hello package:

    # nix build nixpkgs#hello
    # nix store sign --key-file ./secret-key --recursive ./result
    

    Finally, we can verify the store paths using the corresponding public key:

    # nix store verify --trusted-public-keys $(nix key convert-secret-to-public < ./secret-key) ./result
    

Description

This command generates a new Ed25519 secret key for signing store paths and prints it on standard output. Use nix key convert-secret-to-public to get the corresponding public key for verifying signed store paths.

The mandatory argument --key-name specifies a key name (such as cache.example.org-1). It is used to look up keys on the client when it verifies signatures. It can be anything, but it’s suggested to use the host name of your cache (e.g. cache.example.org`) with a suffix denoting the number of the key (to be incremented every time you need to revoke a key).

Format

Both secret and public keys are represented as the key name followed by a base-64 encoding of the Ed25519 key data, e.g.

cache.example.org-0:E7lAO+MsPwTFfPXsdPtW8GKui/5ho4KQHVcAGnX+Tti1V4dUxoVoqLyWJ4YESuZJwQ67GVIksDt47og+tPVUZw==

Options

  • --key-name name
    Identifier of the key (e.g. cache.example.org-1).

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix log - show the build log of the specified packages or paths, if available

Synopsis

nix log [option...] installable

Examples

  • Get the build log of GNU Hello:

    # nix log nixpkgs#hello
    
  • Get the build log of a specific store path:

    # nix log /nix/store/lmngj4wcm9rkv3w4dfhzhcyij3195hiq-thunderbird-52.2.1
    
  • Get a build log from a specific binary cache:

    # nix log --store https://cache.nixos.org nixpkgs#hello
    

Description

This command prints the log of a previous build of the derivation installable on standard output.

Nix looks for build logs in two places:

  • In the directory /nix/var/log/nix/drvs, which contains logs for locally built derivations.

  • In the binary caches listed in the substituters setting. Logs should be named <cache>/log/<base-name-of-store-path>, where store-path is a derivation, e.g. https://cache.nixos.org/log/dvmig8jgrdapvbyxb1rprckdmdqx08kv-hello-2.10.drv. For non-derivation store paths, Nix will first try to determine the deriver by fetching the .narinfo file for this store path.

Options

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix nar - create or inspect NAR files

Synopsis

nix nar [option...] subcommand

where subcommand is one of the following:

  • nix nar cat - print the contents of a file inside a NAR file on stdout
  • nix nar dump-path - serialise a path to stdout in NAR format
  • nix nar ls - show information about a path inside a NAR file

Description

nix nar provides several subcommands for creating and inspecting Nix Archives (NARs).

File format

For the definition of the NAR file format, see Figure 5.2 in https://edolstra.github.io/pubs/phd-thesis.pdf.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix nar cat - print the contents of a file inside a NAR file on stdout

Synopsis

nix nar cat [option...] nar path

Examples

  • List a file in a NAR and pipe it through gunzip:

    # nix nar cat ./hello.nar /share/man/man1/hello.1.gz | gunzip
    .\" DO NOT MODIFY THIS FILE!  It was generated by help2man 1.46.4.
    .TH HELLO "1" "November 2014" "hello 2.10" "User Commands"
    …
    

Description

This command prints on standard output the contents of the regular file path inside the NAR file nar.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix nar dump-path - serialise a path to stdout in NAR format

Synopsis

nix nar dump-path [option...] path

Examples

  • To serialise directory foo as a NAR:

    # nix nar dump-path ./foo > foo.nar
    

Description

This command generates a NAR file containing the serialisation of path, which must contain only regular files, directories and symbolic links. The NAR is written to standard output.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix nar ls - show information about a path inside a NAR file

Synopsis

nix nar ls [option...] nar path

Examples

  • To list a specific file in a NAR:

    # nix nar ls -l ./hello.nar /bin/hello
    -r-xr-xr-x                38184 hello
    
  • To recursively list the contents of a directory inside a NAR, in JSON format:

    # nix nar ls --json -R ./hello.nar /bin
    {"type":"directory","entries":{"hello":{"type":"regular","size":38184,"executable":true,"narOffset":400}}}
    

Description

This command shows information about a path inside NAR file nar.

Options

  • --directory / -d
    Show directories rather than their contents.

  • --json
    Produce output in JSON format, suitable for consumption by another program.

  • --long / -l
    Show detailed file information.

  • --recursive / -R
    List subdirectories recursively.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix path-info - query information about store paths

Synopsis

nix path-info [option...] installables...

Examples

  • Print the store path produced by nixpkgs#hello:

    # nix path-info nixpkgs#hello
    /nix/store/v5sv61sszx301i0x6xysaqzla09nksnd-hello-2.10
    
  • Show the closure sizes of every path in the current NixOS system closure, sorted by size:

    # nix path-info -rS /run/current-system | sort -nk2
    /nix/store/hl5xwp9kdrd1zkm0idm3kkby9q66z404-empty                                                96
    /nix/store/27324qvqhnxj3rncazmxc4mwy79kz8ha-nameservers                                         112
    …
    /nix/store/539jkw9a8dyry7clcv60gk6na816j7y8-etc                                          5783255504
    /nix/store/zqamz3cz4dbzfihki2mk7a63mbkxz9xq-nixos-system-machine-20.09.20201112.3090c65  5887562256
    
  • Show a package's closure size and all its dependencies with human readable sizes:

    # nix path-info -rsSh nixpkgs#rustc
    /nix/store/01rrgsg5zk3cds0xgdsq40zpk6g51dz9-ncurses-6.2-dev      386.7K   69.1M
    /nix/store/0q783wnvixpqz6dxjp16nw296avgczam-libpfm-4.11.0          5.9M   37.4M
    …
    
  • Check the existence of a path in a binary cache:

    # nix path-info -r /nix/store/blzxgyvrk32ki6xga10phr4sby2xf25q-geeqie-1.5.1 --store https://cache.nixos.org/
    path '/nix/store/blzxgyvrk32ki6xga10phr4sby2xf25q-geeqie-1.5.1' is not valid
    
    
  • Print the 10 most recently added paths (using --json and the jq(1) command):

    # nix path-info --json --all | jq -r 'sort_by(.registrationTime)[-11:-1][].path'
    
  • Show the size of the entire Nix store:

    # nix path-info --json --all | jq 'map(.narSize) | add'
    49812020936
    
  • Show every path whose closure is bigger than 1 GB, sorted by closure size:

    # nix path-info --json --all -S \
      | jq 'map(select(.closureSize > 1e9)) | sort_by(.closureSize) | map([.path, .closureSize])'
    [
      …,
      [
        "/nix/store/zqamz3cz4dbzfihki2mk7a63mbkxz9xq-nixos-system-machine-20.09.20201112.3090c65",
        5887562256
      ]
    ]
    
  • Print the path of the store derivation produced by nixpkgs#hello:

    # nix path-info --derivation nixpkgs#hello
    /nix/store/s6rn4jz1sin56rf4qj5b5v8jxjm32hlk-hello-2.10.drv
    

Description

This command shows information about the store paths produced by installables, or about all paths in the store if you pass --all.

By default, this command only prints the store paths. You can get additional information by passing flags such as --closure-size, --size, --sigs or --json.

Warning

Note that nix path-info does not build or substitute the installables you specify. Thus, if the corresponding store paths don't already exist, this command will fail. You can use nix build to ensure that they exist.

Options

  • --closure-size / -S
    Print the sum of the sizes of the NAR serialisations of the closure of each path.

  • --human-readable / -h
    With -s and -S, print sizes in a human-friendly format such as 5.67G.

  • --json
    Produce output in JSON format, suitable for consumption by another program.

  • --sigs
    Show signatures.

  • --size / -s
    Print the size of the NAR serialisation of each path.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --all
    Apply the operation to every store path.

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

  • --recursive / -r
    Apply operation to closure of the specified paths.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix print-dev-env - print shell code that can be sourced by bash to reproduce the build environment of a derivation

Synopsis

nix print-dev-env [option...] installable

Examples

  • Apply the build environment of GNU hello to the current shell:

    # . <(nix print-dev-env nixpkgs#hello)
    
  • Get the build environment in JSON format:

    # nix print-dev-env nixpkgs#hello --json
    

    The output will look like this:

    {
      "bashFunctions": {
        "buildPhase": " \n    runHook preBuild;\n...",
        ...
      },
      "variables": {
        "src": {
          "type": "exported",
          "value": "/nix/store/3x7dwzq014bblazs7kq20p9hyzz0qh8g-hello-2.10.tar.gz"
        },
        "postUnpackHooks": {
          "type": "array",
          "value": ["_updateSourceDateEpochFromSourceRoot"]
        },
        ...
      }
    }
    

Description

This command prints a shell script that can be sourced by bash and that sets the variables and shell functions defined by the build process of installable. This allows you to get a similar build environment in your current shell rather than in a subshell (as with nix develop).

With --json, the output is a JSON serialisation of the variables and functions defined by the build process.

Options

  • --json
    Produce output in JSON format, suitable for consumption by another program.

  • --profile path
    The profile to update.

  • --redirect installable outputs-dir
    Redirect a store path to a mutable location.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix profile - manage Nix profiles

Synopsis

nix profile [option...] subcommand

where subcommand is one of the following:

Description

nix profile allows you to create and manage Nix profiles. A Nix profile is a set of packages that can be installed and upgraded independently from each other. Nix profiles are versioned, allowing them to be rolled back easily.

Default profile

The default profile used by nix profile is $HOME/.nix-profile, which, if it does not exist, is created as a symlink to /nix/var/nix/profiles/per-user/default if Nix is invoked by the root user, or /nix/var/nix/profiles/per-user/username otherwise.

You can specify another profile location using --profile path.

Filesystem layout

Profiles are versioned as follows. When using profile path, path is a symlink to path-N, where N is the current version of the profile. In turn, path-N is a symlink to a path in the Nix store. For example:

$ ls -l /nix/var/nix/profiles/per-user/alice/profile*
lrwxrwxrwx 1 alice users 14 Nov 25 14:35 /nix/var/nix/profiles/per-user/alice/profile -> profile-7-link
lrwxrwxrwx 1 alice users 51 Oct 28 16:18 /nix/var/nix/profiles/per-user/alice/profile-5-link -> /nix/store/q69xad13ghpf7ir87h0b2gd28lafjj1j-profile
lrwxrwxrwx 1 alice users 51 Oct 29 13:20 /nix/var/nix/profiles/per-user/alice/profile-6-link -> /nix/store/6bvhpysd7vwz7k3b0pndn7ifi5xr32dg-profile
lrwxrwxrwx 1 alice users 51 Nov 25 14:35 /nix/var/nix/profiles/per-user/alice/profile-7-link -> /nix/store/mp0x6xnsg0b8qhswy6riqvimai4gm677-profile

Each of these symlinks is a root for the Nix garbage collector.

The contents of the store path corresponding to each version of the profile is a tree of symlinks to the files of the installed packages, e.g.

$ ll -R /nix/var/nix/profiles/per-user/eelco/profile-7-link/
/nix/var/nix/profiles/per-user/eelco/profile-7-link/:
total 20
dr-xr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Jan  1  1970 bin
-r--r--r-- 2 root root 1402 Jan  1  1970 manifest.json
dr-xr-xr-x 4 root root 4096 Jan  1  1970 share

/nix/var/nix/profiles/per-user/eelco/profile-7-link/bin:
total 20
lrwxrwxrwx 5 root root 79 Jan  1  1970 chromium -> /nix/store/ijm5k0zqisvkdwjkc77mb9qzb35xfi4m-chromium-86.0.4240.111/bin/chromium
lrwxrwxrwx 7 root root 87 Jan  1  1970 spotify -> /nix/store/w9182874m1bl56smps3m5zjj36jhp3rn-spotify-1.1.26.501.gbe11e53b-15/bin/spotify
lrwxrwxrwx 3 root root 79 Jan  1  1970 zoom-us -> /nix/store/wbhg2ga8f3h87s9h5k0slxk0m81m4cxl-zoom-us-5.3.469451.0927/bin/zoom-us

/nix/var/nix/profiles/per-user/eelco/profile-7-link/share/applications:
total 12
lrwxrwxrwx 4 root root 120 Jan  1  1970 chromium-browser.desktop -> /nix/store/4cf803y4vzfm3gyk3vzhzb2327v0kl8a-chromium-unwrapped-86.0.4240.111/share/applications/chromium-browser.desktop
lrwxrwxrwx 7 root root 110 Jan  1  1970 spotify.desktop -> /nix/store/w9182874m1bl56smps3m5zjj36jhp3rn-spotify-1.1.26.501.gbe11e53b-15/share/applications/spotify.desktop
lrwxrwxrwx 3 root root 107 Jan  1  1970 us.zoom.Zoom.desktop -> /nix/store/wbhg2ga8f3h87s9h5k0slxk0m81m4cxl-zoom-us-5.3.469451.0927/share/applications/us.zoom.Zoom.desktop

…

The file manifest.json records the provenance of the packages that are installed in this version of the profile. It looks like this:

{
  "version": 1,
  "elements": [
    {
      "active": true,
      "attrPath": "legacyPackages.x86_64-linux.zoom-us",
      "originalUri": "flake:nixpkgs",
      "storePaths": [
        "/nix/store/wbhg2ga8f3h87s9h5k0slxk0m81m4cxl-zoom-us-5.3.469451.0927"
      ],
      "uri": "github:NixOS/nixpkgs/13d0c311e3ae923a00f734b43fd1d35b47d8943a"
    },
    …
  ]
}

Each object in the array elements denotes an installed package and has the following fields:

  • originalUri: The flake reference specified by the user at the time of installation (e.g. nixpkgs). This is also the flake reference that will be used by nix profile upgrade.

  • uri: The immutable flake reference to which originalUri resolved.

  • attrPath: The flake output attribute that provided this package. Note that this is not necessarily the attribute that the user specified, but the one resulting from applying the default attribute paths and prefixes; for instance, hello might resolve to packages.x86_64-linux.hello and the empty string to defaultPackage.x86_64-linux.

  • storePath: The paths in the Nix store containing the package.

  • active: Whether the profile contains symlinks to the files of this package. If set to false, the package is kept in the Nix store, but is not "visible" in the profile's symlink tree.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix profile diff-closures - show the closure difference between each version of a profile

Synopsis

nix profile diff-closures [option...]

Examples

  • Show what changed between each version of the NixOS system profile:

    # nix profile diff-closures --profile /nix/var/nix/profiles/system
    Version 13 -> 14:
      acpi-call: 2020-04-07-5.8.13 → 2020-04-07-5.8.14
      aws-sdk-cpp: -6723.1 KiB
      …
    
    Version 14 -> 15:
      acpi-call: 2020-04-07-5.8.14 → 2020-04-07-5.8.16
      attica: -996.2 KiB
      breeze-icons: -78713.5 KiB
      brotli: 1.0.7 → 1.0.9, +44.2 KiB
    

Description

This command shows the difference between the closures of subsequent versions of a profile. See nix store diff-closures for details.

Options

  • --profile path
    The profile to update.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix profile history - show all versions of a profile

Synopsis

nix profile history [option...]

Examples

  • Show the changes between each version of your default profile:

    # nix profile history
    Version 508 (2020-04-10):
      flake:nixpkgs#legacyPackages.x86_64-linux.awscli: ∅ -> 1.17.13
    
    Version 509 (2020-05-16) <- 508:
      flake:nixpkgs#legacyPackages.x86_64-linux.awscli: 1.17.13 -> 1.18.211
    

Description

This command shows what packages were added, removed or upgraded between subsequent versions of a profile. It only shows top-level packages, not dependencies; for that, use nix profile diff-closures.

The addition of a package to a profile is denoted by the string ∅ -> version, whereas the removal is denoted by version -> ∅.

Options

  • --profile path
    The profile to update.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix profile install - install a package into a profile

Synopsis

nix profile install [option...] installables...

Examples

  • Install a package from Nixpkgs:

    # nix profile install nixpkgs#hello
    
  • Install a package from a specific branch of Nixpkgs:

    # nix profile install nixpkgs/release-20.09#hello
    
  • Install a package from a specific revision of Nixpkgs:

    # nix profile install nixpkgs/d73407e8e6002646acfdef0e39ace088bacc83da#hello
    

Description

This command adds installables to a Nix profile.

Options

  • --profile path
    The profile to update.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix profile list - list installed packages

Synopsis

nix profile list [option...]

Examples

  • Show what packages are installed in the default profile:

    # nix profile list
    0 flake:nixpkgs#legacyPackages.x86_64-linux.spotify github:NixOS/nixpkgs/c23db78bbd474c4d0c5c3c551877523b4a50db06#legacyPackages.x86_64-linux.spotify /nix/store/akpdsid105phbbvknjsdh7hl4v3fhjkr-spotify-1.1.46.916.g416cacf1
    1 flake:nixpkgs#legacyPackages.x86_64-linux.zoom-us github:NixOS/nixpkgs/c23db78bbd474c4d0c5c3c551877523b4a50db06#legacyPackages.x86_64-linux.zoom-us /nix/store/89pmjmbih5qpi7accgacd17ybpgp4xfm-zoom-us-5.4.53350.1027
    2 flake:blender-bin#defaultPackage.x86_64-linux github:edolstra/nix-warez/d09d7eea893dcb162e89bc67f6dc1ced14abfc27?dir=blender#defaultPackage.x86_64-linux /nix/store/zfgralhqjnam662kqsgq6isjw8lhrflz-blender-bin-2.91.0
    

Description

This command shows what packages are currently installed in a profile. The output consists of one line per package, with the following fields:

  • An integer that can be used to unambiguously identify the package in invocations of nix profile remove and nix profile upgrade.

  • The original ("mutable") flake reference and output attribute path used at installation time.

  • The immutable flake reference to which the mutable flake reference was resolved.

  • The store path(s) of the package.

Options

  • --profile path
    The profile to update.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix profile remove - remove packages from a profile

Synopsis

nix profile remove [option...] elements...

Examples

  • Remove a package by position:

    # nix profile remove 3
    
  • Remove a package by attribute path:

    # nix profile remove packages.x86_64-linux.hello
    
  • Remove all packages:

    # nix profile remove '.*'
    
  • Remove a package by store path:

    # nix profile remove /nix/store/rr3y0c6zyk7kjjl8y19s4lsrhn4aiq1z-hello-2.10
    

Description

This command removes a package from a profile.

Options

  • --profile path
    The profile to update.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix profile rollback - roll back to the previous version or a specified version of a profile

Synopsis

nix profile rollback [option...]

Examples

  • Roll back your default profile to the previous version:

    # nix profile rollback
    switching profile from version 519 to 518
    
  • Switch your default profile to version 510:

    # nix profile rollback --to 510
    switching profile from version 518 to 510
    

Description

This command switches a profile to the most recent version older than the currently active version, or if --to N is given, to version N of the profile. To see the available versions of a profile, use nix profile history.

Options

  • --dry-run
    Show what this command would do without doing it.

  • --profile path
    The profile to update.

  • --to version
    The profile version to roll back to.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix profile upgrade - upgrade packages using their most recent flake

Synopsis

nix profile upgrade [option...] elements...

Examples

  • Upgrade all packages that were installed using a mutable flake reference:

    # nix profile upgrade '.*'
    
  • Upgrade a specific package:

    # nix profile upgrade packages.x86_64-linux.hello
    
  • Upgrade a specific profile element by number:

    # nix profile list
    0 flake:nixpkgs#legacyPackages.x86_64-linux.spotify …
    
    # nix profile upgrade 0
    

Description

This command upgrades a previously installed package in a Nix profile, by fetching and evaluating the latest version of the flake from which the package was installed.

Warning

This only works if you used a mutable flake reference at installation time, e.g. nixpkgs#hello. It does not work if you used an immutable flake reference (e.g. github:NixOS/nixpkgs/13d0c311e3ae923a00f734b43fd1d35b47d8943a#hello), since in that case the "latest version" is always the same.

Options

  • --profile path
    The profile to update.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix profile wipe-history - delete non-current versions of a profile

Synopsis

nix profile wipe-history [option...]

Examples

  • Delete all versions of the default profile older than 100 days:

    # nix profile wipe-history --profile /tmp/profile --older-than 100d
    removing profile version 515
    removing profile version 514
    

Description

This command deletes non-current versions of a profile, making it impossible to roll back to these versions. By default, all non-current versions are deleted. With --older-than Nd, all non-current versions older than N days are deleted.

Options

  • --dry-run
    Show what this command would do without doing it.

  • --older-than age
    Delete versions older than the specified age. age must be in the format Nd, where N denotes a number of days.

  • --profile path
    The profile to update.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix realisation - manipulate a Nix realisation

Synopsis

nix realisation [option...] subcommand

where subcommand is one of the following:

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix realisation info - query information about one or several realisations

Synopsis

nix realisation info [option...] installables...

Description

Display some informations about the given realisation

Examples

Show some information about the realisation of the hello package:

$ nix realisation info nixpkgs#hello --json
[{"id":"sha256:3d382378a00588e064ee30be96dd0fa7e7df7cf3fbcace85a0e7b7dada1eef25!out","outPath":"fd3m7xawvrqcg98kgz5hc2vk3x9q0lh7-hello"}]

Options

  • --json
    Produce output in JSON format, suitable for consumption by another program.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --all
    Apply the operation to every store path.

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

  • --recursive / -r
    Apply operation to closure of the specified paths.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix registry - manage the flake registry

Synopsis

nix registry [option...] subcommand

where subcommand is one of the following:

Description

nix flake provides subcommands for managing flake registries. Flake registries are a convenience feature that allows you to refer to flakes using symbolic identifiers such as nixpkgs, rather than full URLs such as git://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs. You can use these identifiers on the command line (e.g. when you do nix run nixpkgs#hello) or in flake input specifications in flake.nix files. The latter are automatically resolved to full URLs and recorded in the flake's flake.lock file.

In addition, the flake registry allows you to redirect arbitrary flake references (e.g. github:NixOS/patchelf) to another location, such as a local fork.

There are multiple registries. These are, in order from lowest to highest precedence:

  • The global registry, which is a file downloaded from the URL specified by the setting flake-registry. It is cached locally and updated automatically when it's older than tarball-ttl seconds. The default global registry is kept in a GitHub repository.

  • The system registry, which is shared by all users. The default location is /etc/nix/registry.json. On NixOS, the system registry can be specified using the NixOS option nix.registry.

  • The user registry ~/.config/nix/registry.json. This registry can be modified by commands such as nix flake pin.

  • Overrides specified on the command line using the option --override-flake.

Registry format

A registry is a JSON file with the following format:

{
  "version": 2,
  "flakes": [
    {
      "from": {
        "type": "indirect",
        "id": "nixpkgs"
      },
      "to": {
        "type": "github",
        "owner": "NixOS",
        "repo": "nixpkgs"
      }
    },
    ...
  ]
}

That is, it contains a list of objects with attributes from and to, both of which contain a flake reference in attribute representation. (For example, {"type": "indirect", "id": "nixpkgs"} is the attribute representation of nixpkgs, while {"type": "github", "owner": "NixOS", "repo": "nixpkgs"} is the attribute representation of github:NixOS/nixpkgs.)

Given some flake reference R, a registry entry is used if its from flake reference matches R. R is then replaced by the unification of the to flake reference with R.

Matching

The from flake reference in a registry entry matches some flake reference R if the attributes in from are the same as the attributes in R. For example:

  • nixpkgs matches with nixpkgs.

  • nixpkgs matches with nixpkgs/nixos-20.09.

  • nixpkgs/nixos-20.09 does not match with nixpkgs.

  • nixpkgs does not match with git://github.com/NixOS/patchelf.

Unification

The to flake reference in a registry entry is unified with some flake reference R by taking to and applying the rev and ref attributes from R, if specified. For example:

  • github:NixOS/nixpkgs unified with nixpkgs produces github:NixOS/nixpkgs.

  • github:NixOS/nixpkgs unified with nixpkgs/nixos-20.09 produces github:NixOS/nixpkgs/nixos-20.09.

  • github:NixOS/nixpkgs/master unified with nixpkgs/nixos-20.09 produces github:NixOS/nixpkgs/nixos-20.09.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix registry add - add/replace flake in user flake registry

Synopsis

nix registry add [option...] from-url to-url

Examples

  • Set the nixpkgs flake identifier to a specific branch of Nixpkgs:

    # nix registry add nixpkgs github:NixOS/nixpkgs/nixos-20.03
    
  • Pin nixpkgs to a specific revision:

    # nix registry add nixpkgs github:NixOS/nixpkgs/925b70cd964ceaedee26fde9b19cc4c4f081196a
    
  • Add an entry that redirects a specific branch of nixpkgs to another fork:

    # nix registry add nixpkgs/nixos-20.03 ~/Dev/nixpkgs
    
  • Add nixpkgs pointing to github:nixos/nixpkgs to your custom flake registry:

    nix registry add --registry ./custom-flake-registry.json nixpkgs github:nixos/nixpkgs
    

Description

This command adds an entry to the user registry that maps flake reference from-url to flake reference to-url. If an entry for from-url already exists, it is overwritten.

Entries can be removed using nix registry remove.

Options

  • --registry registry
    The registry to operate on.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix registry list - list available Nix flakes

Synopsis

nix registry list [option...]

Examples

  • Show the contents of all registries:

    # nix registry list
    user   flake:dwarffs github:edolstra/dwarffs/d181d714fd36eb06f4992a1997cd5601e26db8f5
    system flake:nixpkgs path:/nix/store/fxl9mrm5xvzam0lxi9ygdmksskx4qq8s-source?lastModified=1605220118&narHash=sha256-Und10ixH1WuW0XHYMxxuHRohKYb45R%2fT8CwZuLd2D2Q=&rev=3090c65041104931adda7625d37fa874b2b5c124
    global flake:blender-bin github:edolstra/nix-warez?dir=blender
    global flake:dwarffs github:edolstra/dwarffs
    …
    

Description

This command displays the contents of all registries on standard output. Each line represents one registry entry in the format type from to, where type denotes the registry containing the entry:

  • flags: entries specified on the command line using --override-flake.
  • user: the user registry.
  • system: the system registry.
  • global: the global registry.

See the nix registry manual page for more details.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix registry pin - pin a flake to its current version or to the current version of a flake URL

Synopsis

nix registry pin [option...] url locked

Examples

  • Pin nixpkgs to its most recent Git revision:

    # nix registry pin nixpkgs
    

    Afterwards the user registry will have an entry like this:

    nix registry list | grep '^user '
    user   flake:nixpkgs github:NixOS/nixpkgs/925b70cd964ceaedee26fde9b19cc4c4f081196a
    

    and nix flake info will say:

    # nix flake info nixpkgs
    Resolved URL:  github:NixOS/nixpkgs/925b70cd964ceaedee26fde9b19cc4c4f081196a
    Locked URL:    github:NixOS/nixpkgs/925b70cd964ceaedee26fde9b19cc4c4f081196a
    …
    
  • Pin nixpkgs in a custom registry to its most recent Git revision:

    # nix registry pin --registry ./custom-flake-registry.json nixpkgs
    

Description

This command adds an entry to the user registry that maps flake reference url to the corresponding locked flake reference, that is, a flake reference that specifies an exact revision or content hash. This ensures that until this registry entry is removed, all uses of url will resolve to exactly the same flake.

Entries can be removed using nix registry remove.

Options

  • --registry registry
    The registry to operate on.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix registry remove - remove flake from user flake registry

Synopsis

nix registry remove [option...] url

Examples

  • Remove the entry nixpkgs from the user registry:

    # nix registry remove nixpkgs
    
  • Remove the entry nixpkgs from a custom registry:

    # nix registry remove --registry ./custom-flake-registry.json nixpkgs
    

Description

This command removes from the user registry any entry for flake reference url.

Options

  • --registry registry
    The registry to operate on.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix repl - start an interactive environment for evaluating Nix expressions

Synopsis

nix repl [option...] files...

Examples

  • Display all special commands within the REPL:

    # nix repl
    nix-repl> :?
    
  • Evaluate some simple Nix expressions:

    # nix repl
    
    nix-repl> 1 + 2
    3
    
    nix-repl> map (x: x * 2) [1 2 3]
    [ 2 4 6 ]
    
  • Interact with Nixpkgs in the REPL:

    # nix repl '<nixpkgs>'
    
    Loading '<nixpkgs>'...
    Added 12428 variables.
    
    nix-repl> emacs.name
    "emacs-27.1"
    
    nix-repl> emacs.drvPath
    "/nix/store/lp0sjrhgg03y2n0l10n70rg0k7hhyz0l-emacs-27.1.drv"
    
    nix-repl> drv = runCommand "hello" { buildInputs = [ hello ]; } "hello > $out"
    
    nix-repl> :b x
    this derivation produced the following outputs:
      out -> /nix/store/0njwbgwmkwls0w5dv9mpc1pq5fj39q0l-hello
    
    nix-repl> builtins.readFile drv
    "Hello, world!\n"
    

Description

This command provides an interactive environment for evaluating Nix expressions. (REPL stands for 'read–eval–print loop'.)

On startup, it loads the Nix expressions named files and adds them into the lexical scope. You can load addition files using the :l <filename> command, or reload all files using :r.

Options

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix run - run a Nix application

Synopsis

nix run [option...] installable args...

Examples

  • Run the default app from the blender-bin flake:

    # nix run blender-bin
    
  • Run a non-default app from the blender-bin flake:

    # nix run blender-bin#blender_2_83
    

    Tip: you can find apps provided by this flake by running nix flake show blender-bin.

  • Run vim from the nixpkgs flake:

    # nix run nixpkgs#vim
    

    Note that vim (as of the time of writing of this page) is not an app but a package. Thus, Nix runs the eponymous file from the vim package.

  • Run vim with arguments:

    # nix run nixpkgs#vim -- --help
    

Description

nix run builds and runs installable, which must evaluate to an app or a regular Nix derivation.

If installable evaluates to an app (see below), it executes the program specified by the app definition.

If installable evaluates to a derivation, it will try to execute the program <out>/bin/<name>, where out is the primary output store path of the derivation and name is the meta.mainProgram attribute of the derivation if it exists, and otherwise the name part of the value of the name attribute of the derivation (e.g. if name is set to hello-1.10, it will run $out/bin/hello).

Flake output attributes

If no flake output attribute is given, nix run tries the following flake output attributes:

  • defaultApp.<system>

  • defaultPackage.<system>

If an attribute name is given, nix run tries the following flake output attributes:

  • apps.<system>.<name>

  • packages.<system>.<name>

  • legacyPackages.<system>.<name>

Apps

An app is specified by a flake output attribute named apps.<system>.<name> or defaultApp.<system>. It looks like this:

apps.x86_64-linux.blender_2_79 = {
  type = "app";
  program = "${self.packages.x86_64-linux.blender_2_79}/bin/blender";
};

The only supported attributes are:

  • type (required): Must be set to app.

  • program (required): The full path of the executable to run. It must reside in the Nix store.

Options

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix search - search for packages

Synopsis

nix search [option...] installable regex...

Examples

  • Show all packages in the nixpkgs flake:

    # nix search nixpkgs
    * legacyPackages.x86_64-linux.AMB-plugins (0.8.1)
      A set of ambisonics ladspa plugins
    
    * legacyPackages.x86_64-linux.ArchiSteamFarm (4.3.1.0)
      Application with primary purpose of idling Steam cards from multiple accounts simultaneously
    …
    
  • Show packages in the nixpkgs flake containing blender in its name or description:

    # nix search nixpkgs blender
    * legacyPackages.x86_64-linux.blender (2.91.0)
      3D Creation/Animation/Publishing System
    
  • Search for packages underneath the attribute gnome3 in Nixpkgs:

    # nix search nixpkgs#gnome3 vala
    * legacyPackages.x86_64-linux.gnome3.vala (0.48.9)
      Compiler for GObject type system
    
  • Show all packages in the flake in the current directory:

    # nix search
    
  • Search for Firefox or Chromium:

    # nix search nixpkgs 'firefox|chromium'
    
  • Search for packages containing git'and either frontend or gui:

    # nix search nixpkgs git 'frontend|gui'
    

Description

nix search searches installable (which must be evaluatable, e.g. a flake) for packages whose name or description matches all of the regular expressions regex. For each matching package, It prints the full attribute name (from the root of the installable), the version and the meta.description field, highlighting the substrings that were matched by the regular expressions. If no regular expressions are specified, all packages are shown.

Flake output attributes

If no flake output attribute is given, nix search searches for packages:

  • Directly underneath packages.<system>.

  • Underneath legacyPackages.<system>, recursing into attribute sets that contain an attribute recurseForDerivations = true.

Options

  • --json
    Produce output in JSON format, suitable for consumption by another program.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix shell - run a shell in which the specified packages are available

Synopsis

nix shell [option...] installables...

Examples

  • Start a shell providing youtube-dl from the nixpkgs flake:

    # nix shell nixpkgs#youtube-dl
    # youtube-dl --version
    2020.11.01.1
    
  • Start a shell providing GNU Hello from NixOS 20.03:

    # nix shell nixpkgs/nixos-20.03#hello
    
  • Run GNU Hello:

    # nix shell nixpkgs#hello -c hello --greeting 'Hi everybody!'
    Hi everybody!
    
  • Run GNU Hello in a chroot store:

    # nix shell --store ~/my-nix nixpkgs#hello -c hello
    
  • Start a shell providing GNU Hello in a chroot store:

    # nix shell --store ~/my-nix nixpkgs#hello nixpkgs#bashInteractive -c bash
    

    Note that it's necessary to specify bash explicitly because your default shell (e.g. /bin/bash) generally will not exist in the chroot.

Description

nix shell runs a command in an environment in which the $PATH variable provides the specified installables. If not command is specified, it starts the default shell of your user account.

Options

  • --command / -c command args
    Command and arguments to be executed, defaulting to $SHELL

  • --ignore-environment / -i
    Clear the entire environment (except those specified with --keep).

  • --keep / -k name
    Keep the environment variable name.

  • --unset / -u name
    Unset the environment variable name.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix show-config - show the Nix configuration

Synopsis

nix show-config [option...]

Options

  • --json
    Produce output in JSON format, suitable for consumption by another program.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix show-derivation - show the contents of a store derivation

Synopsis

nix show-derivation [option...] installables...

Examples

  • Show the store derivation that results from evaluating the Hello package:

    # nix show-derivation nixpkgs#hello
    {
      "/nix/store/s6rn4jz1sin56rf4qj5b5v8jxjm32hlk-hello-2.10.drv": {
        …
      }
    }
    
  • Show the full derivation graph (if available) that produced your NixOS system:

    # nix show-derivation -r /run/current-system
    
  • Print all files fetched using fetchurl by Firefox's dependency graph:

    # nix show-derivation -r nixpkgs#firefox \
      | jq -r '.[] | select(.outputs.out.hash and .env.urls) | .env.urls' \
      | uniq | sort
    

    Note that .outputs.out.hash selects fixed-output derivations (derivations that produce output with a specified content hash), while .env.urls selects derivations with a urls attribute.

Description

This command prints on standard output a JSON representation of the store derivations to which installables evaluate. Store derivations are used internally by Nix. They are store paths with extension .drv that represent the build-time dependency graph to which a Nix expression evaluates.

By default, this command only shows top-level derivations, but with --recursive, it also shows their dependencies.

The JSON output is a JSON object whose keys are the store paths of the derivations, and whose values are a JSON object with the following fields:

  • outputs: Information about the output paths of the derivation. This is a JSON object with one member per output, where the key is the output name and the value is a JSON object with these fields:

    • path: The output path.
    • hashAlgo: For fixed-output derivations, the hashing algorithm (e.g. sha256), optionally prefixed by r: if hash denotes a NAR hash rather than a flat file hash.
    • hash: For fixed-output derivations, the expected content hash in base-16.

    Example:

    "outputs": {
      "out": {
        "path": "/nix/store/2543j7c6jn75blc3drf4g5vhb1rhdq29-source",
        "hashAlgo": "r:sha256",
        "hash": "6fc80dcc62179dbc12fc0b5881275898f93444833d21b89dfe5f7fbcbb1d0d62"
      }
    }
    
  • inputSrcs: A list of store paths on which this derivation depends.

  • inputDrvs: A JSON object specifying the derivations on which this derivation depends, and what outputs of those derivations. For example,

    "inputDrvs": {
      "/nix/store/6lkh5yi7nlb7l6dr8fljlli5zfd9hq58-curl-7.73.0.drv": ["dev"],
      "/nix/store/fn3kgnfzl5dzym26j8g907gq3kbm8bfh-unzip-6.0.drv": ["out"]
    }
    

    specifies that this derivation depends on the dev output of curl, and the out output of unzip.

  • system: The system type on which this derivation is to be built (e.g. x86_64-linux).

  • builder: The absolute path of the program to be executed to run the build. Typically this is the bash shell (e.g. /nix/store/r3j288vpmczbl500w6zz89gyfa4nr0b1-bash-4.4-p23/bin/bash).

  • args: The command-line arguments passed to the builder.

  • env: The environment passed to the builder.

Options

  • --recursive / -r
    Include the dependencies of the specified derivations.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix store - manipulate a Nix store

Synopsis

nix store [option...] subcommand

where subcommand is one of the following:

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix store add-file - add a regular file to the Nix store

Synopsis

nix store add-file [option...] path

Description

Copy the regular file path to the Nix store, and print the resulting store path on standard output.

Warning

The resulting store path is not registered as a garbage collector root, so it could be deleted before you have a chance to register it.

Examples

Add a regular file to the store:

# echo foo > bar

# nix store add-file ./bar
/nix/store/cbv2s4bsvzjri77s2gb8g8bpcb6dpa8w-bar

# cat /nix/store/cbv2s4bsvzjri77s2gb8g8bpcb6dpa8w-bar
foo

Options

  • --dry-run
    Show what this command would do without doing it.

  • --name / -n name
    Override the name component of the store path. It defaults to the base name of path.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix store add-path - add a path to the Nix store

Synopsis

nix store add-path [option...] path

Description

Copy path to the Nix store, and print the resulting store path on standard output.

Warning

The resulting store path is not registered as a garbage collector root, so it could be deleted before you have a chance to register it.

Examples

Add a directory to the store:

# mkdir dir
# echo foo > dir/bar

# nix store add-path ./dir
/nix/store/6pmjx56pm94n66n4qw1nff0y1crm8nqg-dir

# cat /nix/store/6pmjx56pm94n66n4qw1nff0y1crm8nqg-dir/bar
foo

Options

  • --dry-run
    Show what this command would do without doing it.

  • --name / -n name
    Override the name component of the store path. It defaults to the base name of path.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix store cat - print the contents of a file in the Nix store on stdout

Synopsis

nix store cat [option...] path

Examples

  • Show the contents of a file in a binary cache:

    # nix store cat --store https://cache.nixos.org/ \
        /nix/store/0i2jd68mp5g6h2sa5k9c85rb80sn8hi9-hello-2.10/bin/hello | hexdump -C | head -n1
    00000000  7f 45 4c 46 02 01 01 00  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  |.ELF............|
    

Description

This command prints on standard output the contents of the regular file path in a Nix store. path can be a top-level store path or any file inside a store path.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix store copy-sigs - copy store path signatures from substituters

Synopsis

nix store copy-sigs [option...] installables...

Options

  • --substituter / -s store-uri
    Copy signatures from the specified store.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --all
    Apply the operation to every store path.

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

  • --recursive / -r
    Apply operation to closure of the specified paths.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix store delete - delete paths from the Nix store

Synopsis

nix store delete [option...] installables...

Examples

  • Delete a specific store path:

    # nix store delete /nix/store/yb5q57zxv6hgqql42d5r8b5k5mcq6kay-hello-2.10
    

Description

This command deletes the store paths specified by installables. , but only if it is safe to do so; that is, when the path is not reachable from a root of the garbage collector. This means that you can only delete paths that would also be deleted by nix store gc. Thus, nix store delete is a more targeted version of nix store gc.

With the option --ignore-liveness, reachability from the roots is ignored. However, the path still won't be deleted if there are other paths in the store that refer to it (i.e., depend on it).

Options

  • --ignore-liveness
    Do not check whether the paths are reachable from a root.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --all
    Apply the operation to every store path.

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

  • --recursive / -r
    Apply operation to closure of the specified paths.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix store diff-closures - show what packages and versions were added and removed between two closures

Synopsis

nix store diff-closures [option...] before after

Examples

  • Show what got added and removed between two versions of the NixOS system profile:

    # nix store diff-closures /nix/var/nix/profiles/system-655-link /nix/var/nix/profiles/system-658-link
    acpi-call: 2020-04-07-5.8.16 → 2020-04-07-5.8.18
    baloo-widgets: 20.08.1 → 20.08.2
    bluez-qt: +12.6 KiB
    dolphin: 20.08.1 → 20.08.2, +13.9 KiB
    kdeconnect: 20.08.2 → ∅, -6597.8 KiB
    kdeconnect-kde: ∅ → 20.08.2, +6599.7 KiB
    …
    

Description

This command shows the differences between the two closures before and after with respect to the addition, removal, or version change of packages, as well as changes in store path sizes.

For each package name in the two closures (where a package name is defined as the name component of a store path excluding the version), if there is a change in the set of versions of the package, or a change in the size of the store paths of more than 8 KiB, it prints a line like this:

dolphin: 20.08.1 → 20.08.2, +13.9 KiB

No size change is shown if it's below the threshold. If the package does not exist in either the before or after closures, it is represented using (empty set) on the appropriate side of the arrow. If a package has an empty version string, the version is rendered as ε (epsilon).

There may be multiple versions of a package in each closure. In that case, only the changed versions are shown. Thus,

libfoo: 1.2, 1.3 → 1.4

leaves open the possibility that there are other versions (e.g. 1.1) that exist in both closures.

Options

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix store dump-path - serialise a store path to stdout in NAR format

Synopsis

nix store dump-path [option...] installables...

Examples

  • To get a NAR containing the GNU Hello package:

    # nix store dump-path nixpkgs#hello > hello.nar
    
  • To get a NAR from the binary cache https://cache.nixos.org/:

    # nix store dump-path --store https://cache.nixos.org/ \
        /nix/store/7crrmih8c52r8fbnqb933dxrsp44md93-glibc-2.25 > glibc.nar
    

Description

This command generates a NAR file containing the serialisation of the store path installable. The NAR is written to standard output.

Options

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --all
    Apply the operation to every store path.

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

  • --recursive / -r
    Apply operation to closure of the specified paths.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix store gc - perform garbage collection on a Nix store

Synopsis

nix store gc [option...]

Examples

  • Delete unreachable paths in the Nix store:

    # nix store gc
    
  • Delete up to 1 gigabyte of garbage:

    # nix store gc --max 1G
    

Description

This command deletes unreachable paths in the Nix store.

Options

  • --dry-run
    Show what this command would do without doing it.

  • --max n
    Stop after freeing n bytes of disk space.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix store ls - show information about a path in the Nix store

Synopsis

nix store ls [option...] path

Examples

  • To list the contents of a store path in a binary cache:

    # nix store ls --store https://cache.nixos.org/ -lR /nix/store/0i2jd68mp5g6h2sa5k9c85rb80sn8hi9-hello-2.10
    dr-xr-xr-x                    0 ./bin
    -r-xr-xr-x                38184 ./bin/hello
    dr-xr-xr-x                    0 ./share
    …
    
  • To show information about a specific file in a binary cache:

    # nix store ls --store https://cache.nixos.org/ -l /nix/store/0i2jd68mp5g6h2sa5k9c85rb80sn8hi9-hello-2.10/bin/hello
    -r-xr-xr-x                38184 hello
    

Description

This command shows information about path in a Nix store. path can be a top-level store path or any file inside a store path.

Options

  • --directory / -d
    Show directories rather than their contents.

  • --json
    Produce output in JSON format, suitable for consumption by another program.

  • --long / -l
    Show detailed file information.

  • --recursive / -R
    List subdirectories recursively.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix store make-content-addressable - rewrite a path or closure to content-addressed form

Synopsis

nix store make-content-addressable [option...] installables...

Examples

  • Create a content-addressed representation of the closure of GNU Hello:

    # nix store make-content-addressable -r nixpkgs#hello
    …
    rewrote '/nix/store/v5sv61sszx301i0x6xysaqzla09nksnd-hello-2.10' to '/nix/store/5skmmcb9svys5lj3kbsrjg7vf2irid63-hello-2.10'
    

    Since the resulting paths are content-addressed, they are always trusted and don't need signatures to copied to another store:

    # nix copy --to /tmp/nix --trusted-public-keys '' /nix/store/5skmmcb9svys5lj3kbsrjg7vf2irid63-hello-2.10
    

    By contrast, the original closure is input-addressed, so it does need signatures to be trusted:

    # nix copy --to /tmp/nix --trusted-public-keys '' nixpkgs#hello
    cannot add path '/nix/store/zy9wbxwcygrwnh8n2w9qbbcr6zk87m26-libunistring-0.9.10' because it lacks a valid signature
    
  • Create a content-addressed representation of the current NixOS system closure:

    # nix store make-content-addressable -r /run/current-system
    

Description

This command converts the closure of the store paths specified by installables to content-addressed form. Nix store paths are usually input-addressed, meaning that the hash part of the store path is computed from the contents of the derivation (i.e., the build-time dependency graph). Input-addressed paths need to be signed by a trusted key if you want to import them into a store, because we need to trust that the contents of the path were actually built by the derivation.

By contrast, in a content-addressed path, the hash part is computed from the contents of the path. This allows the contents of the path to be verified without any additional information such as signatures. This means that a command like

# nix store build /nix/store/5skmmcb9svys5lj3kbsrjg7vf2irid63-hello-2.10 \
    --substituters https://my-cache.example.org

will succeed even if the binary cache https://my-cache.example.org doesn't present any signatures.

Options

  • --json
    Produce output in JSON format, suitable for consumption by another program.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --all
    Apply the operation to every store path.

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

  • --recursive / -r
    Apply operation to closure of the specified paths.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix store optimise - replace identical files in the store by hard links

Synopsis

nix store optimise [option...]

Examples

  • Optimise the Nix store:

    nix store optimise
    

Description

This command deduplicates the Nix store: it scans the store for regular files with identical contents, and replaces them with hard links to a single instance.

Note that you can also set auto-optimise-store to true in nix.conf to perform this optimisation incrementally whenever a new path is added to the Nix store. To make this efficient, Nix maintains a content-addressed index of all the files in the Nix store in the directory /nix/store/.links/.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix store ping - test whether a store can be accessed

Synopsis

nix store ping [option...]

Examples

  • Test whether connecting to a remote Nix store via SSH works:

    # nix store ping --store ssh://mac1
    
  • Test whether a URL is a valid binary cache:

    # nix store ping --store https://cache.nixos.org
    
  • Test whether the Nix daemon is up and running:

    # nix store ping --store daemon
    

Description

This command tests whether a particular Nix store (specified by the argument --store url) can be accessed. What this means is dependent on the type of the store. For instance, for an SSH store it means that Nix can connect to the specified machine.

If the command succeeds, Nix returns a exit code of 0 and does not print any output.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix store prefetch-file - download a file into the Nix store

Synopsis

nix store prefetch-file [option...] url

Examples

  • Download a file to the Nix store:

    # nix store prefetch-file https://releases.nixos.org/nix/nix-2.3.10/nix-2.3.10.tar.xz
    Downloaded 'https://releases.nixos.org/nix/nix-2.3.10/nix-2.3.10.tar.xz' to
    '/nix/store/vbdbi42hgnc4h7pyqzp6h2yf77kw93aw-source' (hash
    'sha256-qKheVd5D0BervxMDbt+1hnTKE2aRWC8XCAwc0SeHt6s=').
    
  • Download a file and get the SHA-512 hash:

    # nix store prefetch-file --json --hash-type sha512 \
        https://releases.nixos.org/nix/nix-2.3.10/nix-2.3.10.tar.xz \
      | jq -r .hash
    sha512-6XJxfym0TNH9knxeH4ZOvns6wElFy3uahunl2hJgovACCMEMXSy42s69zWVyGJALXTI+86tpDJGlIcAySEKBbA==
    

Description

This command downloads the file url to the Nix store. It prints out the resulting store path and the cryptographic hash of the contents of the file.

The name component of the store path defaults to the last component of url, but this can be overridden using --name.

Options

  • --executable
    Make the resulting file executable. Note that this causes the resulting hash to be a NAR hash rather than a flat file hash.

  • --expected-hash hash
    The expected hash of the file.

  • --hash-type hash-algo
    hash algorithm ('md5', 'sha1', 'sha256', or 'sha512')

  • --json
    Produce output in JSON format, suitable for consumption by another program.

  • --name name
    Override the name component of the resulting store path. It defaults to the base name of url.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix store repair - repair store paths

Synopsis

nix store repair [option...] installables...

Examples

  • Repair a store path, after determining that it is corrupt:

    # nix store verify /nix/store/yb5q57zxv6hgqql42d5r8b5k5mcq6kay-hello-2.10
    path '/nix/store/yb5q57zxv6hgqql42d5r8b5k5mcq6kay-hello-2.10' was
    modified! expected hash
    'sha256:1hd5vnh6xjk388gdk841vflicy8qv7qzj2hb7xlyh8lpb43j921l', got
    'sha256:1a25lf78x5wi6pfkrxalf0n13kdaca0bqmjqnp7wfjza2qz5ssgl'
    
    # nix store repair /nix/store/yb5q57zxv6hgqql42d5r8b5k5mcq6kay-hello-2.10
    

Description

This command attempts to "repair" the store paths specified by installables by redownloading them using the available substituters. If no substitutes are available, then repair is not possible.

Warning

During repair, there is a very small time window during which the old path (if it exists) is moved out of the way and replaced with the new path. If repair is interrupted in between, then the system may be left in a broken state (e.g., if the path contains a critical system component like the GNU C Library).

Options

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --all
    Apply the operation to every store path.

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

  • --recursive / -r
    Apply operation to closure of the specified paths.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix store sign - sign store paths

Synopsis

nix store sign [option...] installables...

Options

  • --key-file / -k file
    File containing the secret signing key.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --all
    Apply the operation to every store path.

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

  • --recursive / -r
    Apply operation to closure of the specified paths.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix store verify - verify the integrity of store paths

Synopsis

nix store verify [option...] installables...

Examples

  • Verify the entire Nix store:

    # nix store verify --all
    
  • Check whether each path in the closure of Firefox has at least 2 signatures:

    # nix store verify -r -n2 --no-contents $(type -p firefox)
    
  • Verify a store path in the binary cache https://cache.nixos.org/:

    # nix store verify --store https://cache.nixos.org/ \
        /nix/store/v5sv61sszx301i0x6xysaqzla09nksnd-hello-2.10
    

Description

This command verifies the integrity of the store paths installables, or, if --all is given, the entire Nix store. For each path, it checks that

  • its contents match the NAR hash recorded in the Nix database; and

  • it is trusted, that is, it is signed by at least one trusted signing key, is content-addressed, or is built locally ("ultimately trusted").

Exit status

The exit status of this command is the sum of the following values:

  • 1 if any path is corrupted (i.e. its contents don't match the recorded NAR hash).

  • 2 if any path is untrusted.

  • 4 if any path couldn't be verified for any other reason (such as an I/O error).

Options

  • --no-contents
    Do not verify the contents of each store path.

  • --no-trust
    Do not verify whether each store path is trusted.

  • --sigs-needed / -n n
    Require that each path has at least n valid signatures.

  • --substituter / -s store-uri
    Use signatures from the specified store.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --all
    Apply the operation to every store path.

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

  • --recursive / -r
    Apply operation to closure of the specified paths.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix upgrade-nix - upgrade Nix to the latest stable version

Synopsis

nix upgrade-nix [option...]

Examples

  • Upgrade Nix to the latest stable version:

    # nix upgrade-nix
    
  • Upgrade Nix in a specific profile:

    # nix upgrade-nix -p /nix/var/nix/profiles/per-user/alice/profile
    

Description

This command upgrades Nix to the latest version. By default, it locates the directory containing the nix binary in the $PATH environment variable. If that directory is a Nix profile, it will upgrade the nix package in that profile to the latest stable binary release.

You cannot use this command to upgrade Nix in the system profile of a NixOS system (that is, if nix is found in /run/current-system).

Options

  • --dry-run
    Show what this command would do without doing it.

  • --nix-store-paths-url url
    The URL of the file that contains the store paths of the latest Nix release.

  • --profile / -p profile-dir
    The path to the Nix profile to upgrade.

Warning: This program is experimental and its interface is subject to change.

Name

nix why-depends - show why a package has another package in its closure

Synopsis

nix why-depends [option...] package dependency

Examples

  • Show one path through the dependency graph leading from Hello to Glibc:

    # nix why-depends nixpkgs#hello nixpkgs#glibc
    /nix/store/v5sv61sszx301i0x6xysaqzla09nksnd-hello-2.10
    └───bin/hello: …...................../nix/store/9l06v7fc38c1x3r2iydl15ksgz0ysb82-glibc-2.32/lib/ld-linux-x86-64.…
        → /nix/store/9l06v7fc38c1x3r2iydl15ksgz0ysb82-glibc-2.32
    
  • Show all files and paths in the dependency graph leading from Thunderbird to libX11:

    # nix why-depends --all nixpkgs#thunderbird nixpkgs#xorg.libX11
    /nix/store/qfc8729nzpdln1h0hvi1ziclsl3m84sr-thunderbird-78.5.1
    ├───lib/thunderbird/libxul.so: …6wrw-libxcb-1.14/lib:/nix/store/adzfjjh8w25vdr0xdx9x16ah4f5rqrw5-libX11-1.7.0/lib:/nix/store/ssf…
    │   → /nix/store/adzfjjh8w25vdr0xdx9x16ah4f5rqrw5-libX11-1.7.0
    ├───lib/thunderbird/libxul.so: …pxyc-libXt-1.2.0/lib:/nix/store/1qj29ipxl2fyi2b13l39hdircq17gnk0-libXdamage-1.1.5/lib:/nix/store…
    │   → /nix/store/1qj29ipxl2fyi2b13l39hdircq17gnk0-libXdamage-1.1.5
    │   ├───lib/libXdamage.so.1.1.0: …-libXfixes-5.0.3/lib:/nix/store/adzfjjh8w25vdr0xdx9x16ah4f5rqrw5-libX11-1.7.0/lib:/nix/store/9l0…
    │   │   → /nix/store/adzfjjh8w25vdr0xdx9x16ah4f5rqrw5-libX11-1.7.0
    …
    
  • Show why Glibc depends on itself:

    # nix why-depends nixpkgs#glibc nixpkgs#glibc
    /nix/store/9df65igwjmf2wbw0gbrrgair6piqjgmi-glibc-2.31
    └───lib/ld-2.31.so: …che       Do not use /nix/store/9df65igwjmf2wbw0gbrrgair6piqjgmi-glibc-2.31/etc/ld.so.cache.  --…
        → /nix/store/9df65igwjmf2wbw0gbrrgair6piqjgmi-glibc-2.31
    
  • Show why Geeqie has a build-time dependency on systemd:

    # nix why-depends --derivation nixpkgs#geeqie nixpkgs#systemd
    /nix/store/drrpq2fqlrbj98bmazrnww7hm1in3wgj-geeqie-1.4.drv
    └───/: …atch.drv",["out"]),("/nix/store/qzh8dyq3lfbk3i1acbp7x9wh3il2imiv-gtk+3-3.24.21.drv",["dev"]),("/…
        → /nix/store/qzh8dyq3lfbk3i1acbp7x9wh3il2imiv-gtk+3-3.24.21.drv
        └───/: …16.0.drv",["dev"]),("/nix/store/8kp79fyslf3z4m3dpvlh6w46iaadz5c2-cups-2.3.3.drv",["dev"]),("/nix…
            → /nix/store/8kp79fyslf3z4m3dpvlh6w46iaadz5c2-cups-2.3.3.drv
            └───/: ….3.1.drv",["out"]),("/nix/store/yd3ihapyi5wbz1kjacq9dbkaq5v5hqjg-systemd-246.4.drv",["dev"]),("/…
                → /nix/store/yd3ihapyi5wbz1kjacq9dbkaq5v5hqjg-systemd-246.4.drv
    

Description

Nix automatically determines potential runtime dependencies between store paths by scanning for the hash parts of store paths. For instance, if there exists a store path /nix/store/9df65igwjmf2wbw0gbrrgair6piqjgmi-glibc-2.31, and a file inside another store path contains the string 9df65igw…, then the latter store path refers to the former, and thus might need it at runtime. Nix always maintains the existence of the transitive closure of a store path under the references relationship; it is therefore not possible to install a store path without having all of its references present.

Sometimes Nix packages end up with unexpected runtime dependencies; for instance, a reference to a compiler might accidentally end up in a binary, causing the former to be in the latter's closure. This kind of closure size bloat is undesirable.

nix why-depends allows you to diagnose the cause of such issues. It shows why the store path package depends on the store path dependency, by showing a shortest sequence in the references graph from the former to the latter. Also, for each node along this path, it shows a file fragment containing a reference to the next store path in the sequence.

To show why derivation package has a build-time rather than runtime dependency on derivation dependency, use --derivation.

Options

  • --all / -a
    Show all edges in the dependency graph leading from package to dependency, rather than just a shortest path.

Common evaluation options:

  • --arg name expr
    Pass the value expr as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --argstr name string
    Pass the string string as the argument name to Nix functions.

  • --eval-store store-url
    The Nix store to use for evaluations.

  • --impure
    Allow access to mutable paths and repositories.

  • --include / -I path
    Add path to the list of locations used to look up <...> file names.

  • --override-flake original-ref resolved-ref
    Override the flake registries, redirecting original-ref to resolved-ref.

Common flake-related options:

  • --commit-lock-file
    Commit changes to the flake's lock file.

  • --inputs-from flake-url
    Use the inputs of the specified flake as registry entries.

  • --no-registries
    Don't allow lookups in the flake registries. This option is deprecated; use --no-use-registries.

  • --no-update-lock-file
    Do not allow any updates to the flake's lock file.

  • --no-write-lock-file
    Do not write the flake's newly generated lock file.

  • --override-input input-path flake-url
    Override a specific flake input (e.g. dwarffs/nixpkgs). This implies --no-write-lock-file.

  • --recreate-lock-file
    Recreate the flake's lock file from scratch.

  • --update-input input-path
    Update a specific flake input (ignoring its previous entry in the lock file).

Options that change the interpretation of installables:

  • --derivation
    Operate on the store derivation rather than its outputs.

  • --expr expr
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression expr.

  • --file / -f file
    Interpret installables as attribute paths relative to the Nix expression stored in file.

Files

This section lists configuration files that you can use when you work with Nix.

Name

nix.conf - Nix configuration file

Description

By default Nix reads settings from the following places:

  • The system-wide configuration file sysconfdir/nix/nix.conf (i.e. /etc/nix/nix.conf on most systems), or $NIX_CONF_DIR/nix.conf if NIX_CONF_DIR is set. Values loaded in this file are not forwarded to the Nix daemon. The client assumes that the daemon has already loaded them.

  • If NIX_USER_CONF_FILES is set, then each path separated by : will be loaded in reverse order.

    Otherwise it will look for nix/nix.conf files in XDG_CONFIG_DIRS and XDG_CONFIG_HOME. If these are unset, it will look in $HOME/.config/nix.conf.

  • If NIX_CONFIG is set, its contents is treated as the contents of a configuration file.

The configuration files consist of name = value pairs, one per line. Other files can be included with a line like include path, where path is interpreted relative to the current conf file and a missing file is an error unless !include is used instead. Comments start with a # character. Here is an example configuration file:

keep-outputs = true       # Nice for developers
keep-derivations = true   # Idem

You can override settings on the command line using the --option flag, e.g. --option keep-outputs false. Every configuration setting also has a corresponding command line flag, e.g. --max-jobs 16; for Boolean settings, there are two flags to enable or disable the setting (e.g. --keep-failed and --no-keep-failed).

A configuration setting usually overrides any previous value. However, you can prefix the name of the setting by extra- to append to the previous value. For instance,

substituters = a b
extra-substituters = c d

defines the substituters setting to be a b c d. This is also available as a command line flag (e.g. --extra-substituters).

The following settings are currently available:

  • access-tokens

    Access tokens used to access protected GitHub, GitLab, or other locations requiring token-based authentication.

    Access tokens are specified as a string made up of space-separated host=token values. The specific token used is selected by matching the host portion against the "host" specification of the input. The actual use of the token value is determined by the type of resource being accessed:

    • Github: the token value is the OAUTH-TOKEN string obtained as the Personal Access Token from the Github server (see https://docs.github.com/en/developers/apps/authorizing-oath-apps).

    • Gitlab: the token value is either the OAuth2 token or the Personal Access Token (these are different types tokens for gitlab, see https://docs.gitlab.com/12.10/ee/api/README.html#authentication). The token value should be type:tokenstring where type is either OAuth2 or PAT to indicate which type of token is being specified.

    Example ~/.config/nix/nix.conf:

    access-tokens = github.com=23ac...b289 gitlab.mycompany.com=PAT:A123Bp_Cd..EfG gitlab.com=OAuth2:1jklw3jk
    

    Example ~/code/flake.nix:

    input.foo = {
      type = "gitlab";
      host = "gitlab.mycompany.com";
      owner = "mycompany";
      repo = "pro";
    };
    

    This example specifies three tokens, one each for accessing github.com, gitlab.mycompany.com, and sourceforge.net.

    The input.foo uses the "gitlab" fetcher, which might requires specifying the token type along with the token value.

    Default: ""

  • allow-dirty

    Whether to allow dirty Git/Mercurial trees.

    Default: true

  • allow-import-from-derivation

    By default, Nix allows you to import from a derivation, allowing building at evaluation time. With this option set to false, Nix will throw an error when evaluating an expression that uses this feature, allowing users to ensure their evaluation will not require any builds to take place.

    Default: true

  • allow-new-privileges

    (Linux-specific.) By default, builders on Linux cannot acquire new privileges by calling setuid/setgid programs or programs that have file capabilities. For example, programs such as sudo or ping will fail. (Note that in sandbox builds, no such programs are available unless you bind-mount them into the sandbox via the sandbox-paths option.) You can allow the use of such programs by enabling this option. This is impure and usually undesirable, but may be useful in certain scenarios (e.g. to spin up containers or set up userspace network interfaces in tests).

    Default: false

  • allow-symlinked-store

    If set to true, Nix will stop complaining if the store directory (typically /nix/store) contains symlink components.

    This risks making some builds "impure" because builders sometimes "canonicalise" paths by resolving all symlink components. Problems occur if those builds are then deployed to machines where /nix/store resolves to a different location from that of the build machine. You can enable this setting if you are sure you're not going to do that.

    Default: false

  • allow-unsafe-native-code-during-evaluation

    Whether builtin functions that allow executing native code should be enabled.

    Default: false

  • allowed-impure-host-deps

    Which prefixes to allow derivations to ask for access to (primarily for Darwin).

    Default: empty

  • allowed-uris

    A list of URI prefixes to which access is allowed in restricted evaluation mode. For example, when set to https://github.com/NixOS, builtin functions such as fetchGit are allowed to access https://github.com/NixOS/patchelf.git.

    Default: empty

  • allowed-users

    A list of names of users (separated by whitespace) that are allowed to connect to the Nix daemon. As with the trusted-users option, you can specify groups by prefixing them with @. Also, you can allow all users by specifying *. The default is *.

    Note that trusted users are always allowed to connect.

    Default: *

  • auto-optimise-store

    If set to true, Nix automatically detects files in the store that have identical contents, and replaces them with hard links to a single copy. This saves disk space. If set to false (the default), you can still run nix-store --optimise to get rid of duplicate files.

    Default: false

  • bash-prompt

    The bash prompt (PS1) in nix develop shells.

    Default: empty

  • bash-prompt-suffix

    Suffix appended to the PS1 environment variable in nix develop shells.

    Default: empty

  • build-hook

    The path of the helper program that executes builds to remote machines.

    Default: /nix/store/iymm12biya8825rxa2mb20hwigqwv6vf-nix-2.4pre20210924_a0bb5c4/libexec/nix/build-remote

  • build-poll-interval

    How often (in seconds) to poll for locks.

    Default: 5

  • build-users-group

    This options specifies the Unix group containing the Nix build user accounts. In multi-user Nix installations, builds should not be performed by the Nix account since that would allow users to arbitrarily modify the Nix store and database by supplying specially crafted builders; and they cannot be performed by the calling user since that would allow him/her to influence the build result.

    Therefore, if this option is non-empty and specifies a valid group, builds will be performed under the user accounts that are a member of the group specified here (as listed in /etc/group). Those user accounts should not be used for any other purpose!

    Nix will never run two builds under the same user account at the same time. This is to prevent an obvious security hole: a malicious user writing a Nix expression that modifies the build result of a legitimate Nix expression being built by another user. Therefore it is good to have as many Nix build user accounts as you can spare. (Remember: uids are cheap.)

    The build users should have permission to create files in the Nix store, but not delete them. Therefore, /nix/store should be owned by the Nix account, its group should be the group specified here, and its mode should be 1775.

    If the build users group is empty, builds will be performed under the uid of the Nix process (that is, the uid of the caller if NIX_REMOTE is empty, the uid under which the Nix daemon runs if NIX_REMOTE is daemon). Obviously, this should not be used in multi-user settings with untrusted users.

    Default: empty

  • builders

    A semicolon-separated list of build machines. For the exact format and examples, see the manual chapter on remote builds

    Default: @/dummy/machines

  • builders-use-substitutes

    If set to true, Nix will instruct remote build machines to use their own binary substitutes if available. In practical terms, this means that remote hosts will fetch as many build dependencies as possible from their own substitutes (e.g, from cache.nixos.org), instead of waiting for this host to upload them all. This can drastically reduce build times if the network connection between this computer and the remote build host is slow.

    Default: false

  • compress-build-log

    If set to true (the default), build logs written to /nix/var/log/nix/drvs will be compressed on the fly using bzip2. Otherwise, they will not be compressed.

    Default: true

    Deprecated alias: build-compress-log

  • connect-timeout

    The timeout (in seconds) for establishing connections in the binary cache substituter. It corresponds to curl’s --connect-timeout option.

    Default: 1

  • cores

    Sets the value of the NIX_BUILD_CORES environment variable in the invocation of builders. Builders can use this variable at their discretion to control the maximum amount of parallelism. For instance, in Nixpkgs, if the derivation attribute enableParallelBuilding is set to true, the builder passes the -jN flag to GNU Make. It can be overridden using the --cores command line switch and defaults to 1. The value 0 means that the builder should use all available CPU cores in the system.

    Default: 64

    Deprecated alias: build-cores

  • diff-hook

    Absolute path to an executable capable of diffing build results. The hook is executed if run-diff-hook is true, and the output of a build is known to not be the same. This program is not executed to determine if two results are the same.

    The diff hook is executed by the same user and group who ran the build. However, the diff hook does not have write access to the store path just built.

    The diff hook program receives three parameters:

    1. A path to the previous build's results

    2. A path to the current build's results

    3. The path to the build's derivation

    4. The path to the build's scratch directory. This directory will exist only if the build was run with --keep-failed.

    The stderr and stdout output from the diff hook will not be displayed to the user. Instead, it will print to the nix-daemon's log.

    When using the Nix daemon, diff-hook must be set in the nix.conf configuration file, and cannot be passed at the command line.

    Default: empty

  • download-attempts

    How often Nix will attempt to download a file before giving up.

    Default: 0

  • enforce-determinism

    Whether to fail if repeated builds produce different output. See repeat.

    Default: true

  • eval-cache

    Whether to use the flake evaluation cache.

    Default: true

  • experimental-features

    Experimental Nix features to enable.

    Default: nix-command

  • extra-platforms

    Platforms other than the native one which this machine is capable of building for. This can be useful for supporting additional architectures on compatible machines: i686-linux can be built on x86_64-linux machines (and the default for this setting reflects this); armv7 is backwards-compatible with armv6 and armv5tel; some aarch64 machines can also natively run 32-bit ARM code; and qemu-user may be used to support non-native platforms (though this may be slow and buggy). Most values for this are not enabled by default because build systems will often misdetect the target platform and generate incompatible code, so you may wish to cross-check the results of using this option against proper natively-built versions of your derivations.

    Default: i686-linux x86_64-v1-linux x86_64-v2-linux x86_64-v3-linux

  • fallback

    If set to true, Nix will fall back to building from source if a binary substitute fails. This is equivalent to the --fallback flag. The default is false.

    Default: false

    Deprecated alias: build-fallback

  • filter-syscalls

    Whether to prevent certain dangerous system calls, such as creation of setuid/setgid files or adding ACLs or extended attributes. Only disable this if you're aware of the security implications.

    Default: true

  • flake-registry

    Path or URI of the global flake registry.

    Default: https://github.com/NixOS/flake-registry/raw/master/flake-registry.json

  • fsync-metadata

    If set to true, changes to the Nix store metadata (in /nix/var/nix/db) are synchronously flushed to disk. This improves robustness in case of system crashes, but reduces performance. The default is true.

    Default: true

  • gc-reserved-space

    Amount of reserved disk space for the garbage collector.

    Default: 8388608

  • hashed-mirrors

    A list of web servers used by builtins.fetchurl to obtain files by hash. The default is http://tarballs.nixos.org/. Given a hash type ht and a base-16 hash h, Nix will try to download the file from hashed-mirror/ht/h. This allows files to be downloaded even if they have disappeared from their original URI. For example, given the default mirror http://tarballs.nixos.org/, when building the derivation

    builtins.fetchurl {
      url = "https://example.org/foo-1.2.3.tar.xz";
      sha256 = "2c26b46b68ffc68ff99b453c1d30413413422d706483bfa0f98a5e886266e7ae";
    }
    

    Nix will attempt to download this file from http://tarballs.nixos.org/sha256/2c26b46b68ffc68ff99b453c1d30413413422d706483bfa0f98a5e886266e7ae first. If it is not available there, if will try the original URI.

    Default: empty

  • http-connections

    The maximum number of parallel TCP connections used to fetch files from binary caches and by other downloads. It defaults to 25. 0 means no limit.

    Default: 25

    Deprecated alias: binary-caches-parallel-connections

  • http2

    Whether to enable HTTP/2 support.

    Default: true

  • impersonate-linux-26

    Whether to impersonate a Linux 2.6 machine on newer kernels.

    Default: false

    Deprecated alias: build-impersonate-linux-26

  • keep-build-log

    If set to true (the default), Nix will write the build log of a derivation (i.e. the standard output and error of its builder) to the directory /nix/var/log/nix/drvs. The build log can be retrieved using the command nix-store -l path.

    Default: true

    Deprecated alias: build-keep-log

  • keep-derivations

    If true (default), the garbage collector will keep the derivations from which non-garbage store paths were built. If false, they will be deleted unless explicitly registered as a root (or reachable from other roots).

    Keeping derivation around is useful for querying and traceability (e.g., it allows you to ask with what dependencies or options a store path was built), so by default this option is on. Turn it off to save a bit of disk space (or a lot if keep-outputs is also turned on).

    Default: true

    Deprecated alias: gc-keep-derivations

  • keep-env-derivations

    If false (default), derivations are not stored in Nix user environments. That is, the derivations of any build-time-only dependencies may be garbage-collected.

    If true, when you add a Nix derivation to a user environment, the path of the derivation is stored in the user environment. Thus, the derivation will not be garbage-collected until the user environment generation is deleted (nix-env --delete-generations). To prevent build-time-only dependencies from being collected, you should also turn on keep-outputs.

    The difference between this option and keep-derivations is that this one is “sticky”: it applies to any user environment created while this option was enabled, while keep-derivations only applies at the moment the garbage collector is run.

    Default: false

    Deprecated alias: env-keep-derivations

  • keep-failed

    Whether to keep temporary directories of failed builds.

    Default: false

  • keep-going

    Whether to keep building derivations when another build fails.

    Default: false

  • keep-outputs

    If true, the garbage collector will keep the outputs of non-garbage derivations. If false (default), outputs will be deleted unless they are GC roots themselves (or reachable from other roots).

    In general, outputs must be registered as roots separately. However, even if the output of a derivation is registered as a root, the collector will still delete store paths that are used only at build time (e.g., the C compiler, or source tarballs downloaded from the network). To prevent it from doing so, set this option to true.

    Default: false

    Deprecated alias: gc-keep-outputs

  • log-lines

    If verbose-build is false, the number of lines of the tail of the log to show if a build fails.

    Default: 10

  • max-build-log-size

    This option defines the maximum number of bytes that a builder can write to its stdout/stderr. If the builder exceeds this limit, it’s killed. A value of 0 (the default) means that there is no limit.

    Default: 0

    Deprecated alias: build-max-log-size

  • max-free

    When a garbage collection is triggered by the min-free option, it stops as soon as max-free bytes are available. The default is infinity (i.e. delete all garbage).

    Default: -1

  • max-jobs

    This option defines the maximum number of jobs that Nix will try to build in parallel. The default is 1. The special value auto causes Nix to use the number of CPUs in your system. 0 is useful when using remote builders to prevent any local builds (except for preferLocalBuild derivation attribute which executes locally regardless). It can be overridden using the --max-jobs (-j) command line switch.

    Default: 1

    Deprecated alias: build-max-jobs

  • max-silent-time

    This option defines the maximum number of seconds that a builder can go without producing any data on standard output or standard error. This is useful (for instance in an automated build system) to catch builds that are stuck in an infinite loop, or to catch remote builds that are hanging due to network problems. It can be overridden using the --max-silent-time command line switch.

    The value 0 means that there is no timeout. This is also the default.

    Default: 0

    Deprecated alias: build-max-silent-time

  • min-free

    When free disk space in /nix/store drops below min-free during a build, Nix performs a garbage-collection until max-free bytes are available or there is no more garbage. A value of 0 (the default) disables this feature.

    Default: 0

  • min-free-check-interval

    Number of seconds between checking free disk space.

    Default: 5

  • nar-buffer-size

    Maximum size of NARs before spilling them to disk.

    Default: 33554432

  • narinfo-cache-negative-ttl

    The TTL in seconds for negative lookups. If a store path is queried from a substituter but was not found, there will be a negative lookup cached in the local disk cache database for the specified duration.

    Default: 3600

  • narinfo-cache-positive-ttl

    The TTL in seconds for positive lookups. If a store path is queried from a substituter, the result of the query will be cached in the local disk cache database including some of the NAR metadata. The default TTL is a month, setting a shorter TTL for positive lookups can be useful for binary caches that have frequent garbage collection, in which case having a more frequent cache invalidation would prevent trying to pull the path again and failing with a hash mismatch if the build isn't reproducible.

    Default: 2592000

  • netrc-file

    If set to an absolute path to a netrc file, Nix will use the HTTP authentication credentials in this file when trying to download from a remote host through HTTP or HTTPS. Defaults to $NIX_CONF_DIR/netrc.

    The netrc file consists of a list of accounts in the following format:

    machine my-machine
    login my-username
    password my-password
    

    For the exact syntax, see the curl documentation.

    Note

    This must be an absolute path, and ~ is not resolved. For example, ~/.netrc won't resolve to your home directory's .netrc.

    Default: /dummy/netrc

  • nix-path

    List of directories to be searched for <...> file references.

    Default: empty

  • plugin-files

    A list of plugin files to be loaded by Nix. Each of these files will be dlopened by Nix, allowing them to affect execution through static initialization. In particular, these plugins may construct static instances of RegisterPrimOp to add new primops or constants to the expression language, RegisterStoreImplementation to add new store implementations, RegisterCommand to add new subcommands to the nix command, and RegisterSetting to add new nix config settings. See the constructors for those types for more details.

    Warning! These APIs are inherently unstable and may change from release to release.

    Since these files are loaded into the same address space as Nix itself, they must be DSOs compatible with the instance of Nix running at the time (i.e. compiled against the same headers, not linked to any incompatible libraries). They should not be linked to any Nix libs directly, as those will be available already at load time.

    If an entry in the list is a directory, all files in the directory are loaded as plugins (non-recursively).

    Default: empty

  • post-build-hook

    Optional. The path to a program to execute after each build.

    This option is only settable in the global nix.conf, or on the command line by trusted users.

    When using the nix-daemon, the daemon executes the hook as root. If the nix-daemon is not involved, the hook runs as the user executing the nix-build.

    • The hook executes after an evaluation-time build.

    • The hook does not execute on substituted paths.

    • The hook's output always goes to the user's terminal.

    • If the hook fails, the build succeeds but no further builds execute.

    • The hook executes synchronously, and blocks other builds from progressing while it runs.

    The program executes with no arguments. The program's environment contains the following environment variables:

    • DRV_PATH The derivation for the built paths.

      Example: /nix/store/5nihn1a7pa8b25l9zafqaqibznlvvp3f-bash-4.4-p23.drv

    • OUT_PATHS Output paths of the built derivation, separated by a space character.

      Example: /nix/store/zf5lbh336mnzf1nlswdn11g4n2m8zh3g-bash-4.4-p23-dev /nix/store/rjxwxwv1fpn9wa2x5ssk5phzwlcv4mna-bash-4.4-p23-doc /nix/store/6bqvbzjkcp9695dq0dpl5y43nvy37pq1-bash-4.4-p23-info /nix/store/r7fng3kk3vlpdlh2idnrbn37vh4imlj2-bash-4.4-p23-man /nix/store/xfghy8ixrhz3kyy6p724iv3cxji088dx-bash-4.4-p23.

    Default: empty

  • pre-build-hook

    If set, the path to a program that can set extra derivation-specific settings for this system. This is used for settings that can't be captured by the derivation model itself and are too variable between different versions of the same system to be hard-coded into nix.

    The hook is passed the derivation path and, if sandboxes are enabled, the sandbox directory. It can then modify the sandbox and send a series of commands to modify various settings to stdout. The currently recognized commands are:

    • extra-sandbox-paths
      Pass a list of files and directories to be included in the sandbox for this build. One entry per line, terminated by an empty line. Entries have the same format as sandbox-paths.

    Default: empty

  • preallocate-contents

    Whether to preallocate files when writing objects with known size.

    Default: false

  • print-missing

    Whether to print what paths need to be built or downloaded.

    Default: true

  • pure-eval

    Whether to restrict file system and network access to files specified by cryptographic hash.

    Default: true

  • repeat

    How many times to repeat builds to check whether they are deterministic. The default value is 0. If the value is non-zero, every build is repeated the specified number of times. If the contents of any of the runs differs from the previous ones and enforce-determinism is true, the build is rejected and the resulting store paths are not registered as “valid” in Nix’s database.

    Default: 0

    Deprecated alias: build-repeat

  • require-sigs

    If set to true (the default), any non-content-addressed path added or copied to the Nix store (e.g. when substituting from a binary cache) must have a valid signature, that is, be signed using one of the keys listed in trusted-public-keys or secret-key-files. Set to false to disable signature checking.

    Default: true

  • restrict-eval

    If set to true, the Nix evaluator will not allow access to any files outside of the Nix search path (as set via the NIX_PATH environment variable or the -I option), or to URIs outside of allowed-uri. The default is false.

    Default: false

  • run-diff-hook

    If true, enable the execution of the diff-hook program.

    When using the Nix daemon, run-diff-hook must be set in the nix.conf configuration file, and cannot be passed at the command line.

    Default: false

  • sandbox

    If set to true, builds will be performed in a sandboxed environment, i.e., they’re isolated from the normal file system hierarchy and will only see their dependencies in the Nix store, the temporary build directory, private versions of /proc, /dev, /dev/shm and /dev/pts (on Linux), and the paths configured with the sandbox-paths option. This is useful to prevent undeclared dependencies on files in directories such as /usr/bin. In addition, on Linux, builds run in private PID, mount, network, IPC and UTS namespaces to isolate them from other processes in the system (except that fixed-output derivations do not run in private network namespace to ensure they can access the network).

    Currently, sandboxing only work on Linux and macOS. The use of a sandbox requires that Nix is run as root (so you should use the “build users” feature to perform the actual builds under different users than root).

    If this option is set to relaxed, then fixed-output derivations and derivations that have the __noChroot attribute set to true do not run in sandboxes.

    The default is true on Linux and false on all other platforms.

    Default: true

    Deprecated alias: build-use-chroot, build-use-sandbox

  • sandbox-build-dir

    The build directory inside the sandbox.

    Default: /build

  • sandbox-dev-shm-size

    This option determines the maximum size of the tmpfs filesystem mounted on /dev/shm in Linux sandboxes. For the format, see the description of the size option of tmpfs in mount8. The default is 50%.

    Default: 50%

  • sandbox-fallback

    Whether to disable sandboxing when the kernel doesn't allow it.

    Default: true

  • sandbox-paths

    A list of paths bind-mounted into Nix sandbox environments. You can use the syntax target=source to mount a path in a different location in the sandbox; for instance, /bin=/nix-bin will mount the path /nix-bin as /bin inside the sandbox. If source is followed by ?, then it is not an error if source does not exist; for example, /dev/nvidiactl? specifies that /dev/nvidiactl will only be mounted in the sandbox if it exists in the host filesystem.

    Depending on how Nix was built, the default value for this option may be empty or provide /bin/sh as a bind-mount of bash.

    Default: /bin/sh=/nix/store/hssw95b3i9qbjg9fpnq52f22nl96nz1l-busybox-static-x86_64-unknown-linux-musl-1.32.1/bin/busybox

    Deprecated alias: build-chroot-dirs, build-sandbox-paths

  • secret-key-files

    A whitespace-separated list of files containing secret (private) keys. These are used to sign locally-built paths. They can be generated using nix-store --generate-binary-cache-key. The corresponding public key can be distributed to other users, who can add it to trusted-public-keys in their nix.conf.

    Default: empty

  • show-trace

    Where Nix should print out a stack trace in case of Nix expression evaluation errors.

    Default: false

  • stalled-download-timeout

    The timeout (in seconds) for receiving data from servers during download. Nix cancels idle downloads after this timeout's duration.

    Default: 300

  • store

    The default Nix store to use.

    Default: auto

  • substitute

    If set to true (default), Nix will use binary substitutes if available. This option can be disabled to force building from source.

    Default: false

    Deprecated alias: build-use-substitutes

  • substituters

    A list of URLs of substituters, separated by whitespace. Substituters are tried based on their Priority value, which each substituter can set independently. Lower value means higher priority. The default is https://cache.nixos.org, with a Priority of 40.

    Default: https://cache.nixos.org/

    Deprecated alias: binary-caches

  • sync-before-registering

    Whether to call sync() before registering a path as valid.

    Default: false

  • system

    This option specifies the canonical Nix system name of the current installation, such as i686-linux or x86_64-darwin. Nix can only build derivations whose system attribute equals the value specified here. In general, it never makes sense to modify this value from its default, since you can use it to ‘lie’ about the platform you are building on (e.g., perform a Mac OS build on a Linux machine; the result would obviously be wrong). It only makes sense if the Nix binaries can run on multiple platforms, e.g., ‘universal binaries’ that run on x86_64-linux and i686-linux.

    It defaults to the canonical Nix system name detected by configure at build time.

    Default: x86_64-linux

  • system-features

    A set of system “features” supported by this machine, e.g. kvm. Derivations can express a dependency on such features through the derivation attribute requiredSystemFeatures. For example, the attribute

    requiredSystemFeatures = [ "kvm" ];
    

    ensures that the derivation can only be built on a machine with the kvm feature.

    This setting by default includes kvm if /dev/kvm is accessible, and the pseudo-features nixos-test, benchmark and big-parallel that are used in Nixpkgs to route builds to specific machines.

    Default: benchmark big-parallel kvm nixos-test recursive-nix

  • tarball-ttl

    The number of seconds a downloaded tarball is considered fresh. If the cached tarball is stale, Nix will check whether it is still up to date using the ETag header. Nix will download a new version if the ETag header is unsupported, or the cached ETag doesn't match.

    Setting the TTL to 0 forces Nix to always check if the tarball is up to date.

    Nix caches tarballs in $XDG_CACHE_HOME/nix/tarballs.

    Files fetched via NIX_PATH, fetchGit, fetchMercurial, fetchTarball, and fetchurl respect this TTL.

    Default: 4294967295

  • timeout

    This option defines the maximum number of seconds that a builder can run. This is useful (for instance in an automated build system) to catch builds that are stuck in an infinite loop but keep writing to their standard output or standard error. It can be overridden using the --timeout command line switch.

    The value 0 means that there is no timeout. This is also the default.

    Default: 0

    Deprecated alias: build-timeout

  • trace-function-calls

    If set to true, the Nix evaluator will trace every function call. Nix will print a log message at the "vomit" level for every function entrance and function exit.

    function-trace entered undefined position at 1565795816999559622
    function-trace exited undefined position at 1565795816999581277
    function-trace entered /nix/store/.../example.nix:226:41 at 1565795253249935150
    function-trace exited /nix/store/.../example.nix:226:41 at 1565795253249941684
    

    The undefined position means the function call is a builtin.

    Use the contrib/stack-collapse.py script distributed with the Nix source code to convert the trace logs in to a format suitable for flamegraph.pl.

    Default: false

  • trusted-public-keys

    A whitespace-separated list of public keys. When paths are copied from another Nix store (such as a binary cache), they must be signed with one of these keys. For example: cache.nixos.org-1:6NCHdD59X431o0gWypbMrAURkbJ16ZPMQFGspcDShjY= hydra.nixos.org-1:CNHJZBh9K4tP3EKF6FkkgeVYsS3ohTl+oS0Qa8bezVs=.

    Default: cache.nixos.org-1:6NCHdD59X431o0gWypbMrAURkbJ16ZPMQFGspcDShjY=

    Deprecated alias: binary-cache-public-keys

  • trusted-substituters

    A list of URLs of substituters, separated by whitespace. These are not used by default, but can be enabled by users of the Nix daemon by specifying --option substituters urls on the command line. Unprivileged users are only allowed to pass a subset of the URLs listed in substituters and trusted-substituters.

    Default: empty

    Deprecated alias: trusted-binary-caches

  • trusted-users

    A list of names of users (separated by whitespace) that have additional rights when connecting to the Nix daemon, such as the ability to specify additional binary caches, or to import unsigned NARs. You can also specify groups by prefixing them with @; for instance, @wheel means all users in the wheel group. The default is root.

    Warning

    Adding a user to trusted-users is essentially equivalent to giving that user root access to the system. For example, the user can set sandbox-paths and thereby obtain read access to directories that are otherwise inacessible to them.

    Default: root

  • use-case-hack

    Whether to enable a Darwin-specific hack for dealing with file name collisions.

    Default: false

  • use-registries

    Whether to use flake registries to resolve flake references.

    Default: true

  • use-sqlite-wal

    Whether SQLite should use WAL mode.

    Default: true

  • user-agent-suffix

    String appended to the user agent in HTTP requests.

    Default: empty

  • warn-dirty

    Whether to warn about dirty Git/Mercurial trees.

    Default: true

Glossary

  • derivation
    A description of a build action. The result of a derivation is a store object. Derivations are typically specified in Nix expressions using the derivation primitive. These are translated into low-level store derivations (implicitly by nix-env and nix-build, or explicitly by nix-instantiate).

  • store
    The location in the file system where store objects live. Typically /nix/store.

  • store path
    The location in the file system of a store object, i.e., an immediate child of the Nix store directory.

  • store object
    A file that is an immediate child of the Nix store directory. These can be regular files, but also entire directory trees. Store objects can be sources (objects copied from outside of the store), derivation outputs (objects produced by running a build action), or derivations (files describing a build action).

  • substitute
    A substitute is a command invocation stored in the Nix database that describes how to build a store object, bypassing the normal build mechanism (i.e., derivations). Typically, the substitute builds the store object by downloading a pre-built version of the store object from some server.

  • purity
    The assumption that equal Nix derivations when run always produce the same output. This cannot be guaranteed in general (e.g., a builder can rely on external inputs such as the network or the system time) but the Nix model assumes it.

  • Nix expression
    A high-level description of software packages and compositions thereof. Deploying software using Nix entails writing Nix expressions for your packages. Nix expressions are translated to derivations that are stored in the Nix store. These derivations can then be built.

  • reference
    A store path P is said to have a reference to a store path Q if the store object at P contains the path Q somewhere. The references of a store path are the set of store paths to which it has a reference.

    A derivation can reference other derivations and sources (but not output paths), whereas an output path only references other output paths.

  • reachable
    A store path Q is reachable from another store path P if Q is in the closure of the references relation.

  • closure
    The closure of a store path is the set of store paths that are directly or indirectly “reachable” from that store path; that is, it’s the closure of the path under the references relation. For a package, the closure of its derivation is equivalent to the build-time dependencies, while the closure of its output path is equivalent to its runtime dependencies. For correct deployment it is necessary to deploy whole closures, since otherwise at runtime files could be missing. The command nix-store -qR prints out closures of store paths.

    As an example, if the store object at path P contains a reference to path Q, then Q is in the closure of P. Further, if Q references R then R is also in the closure of P.

  • output path
    A store path produced by a derivation.

  • deriver
    The deriver of an output path is the store derivation that built it.

  • validity
    A store path is considered valid if it exists in the file system, is listed in the Nix database as being valid, and if all paths in its closure are also valid.

  • user environment
    An automatically generated store object that consists of a set of symlinks to “active” applications, i.e., other store paths. These are generated automatically by nix-env. See profiles.

  • profile
    A symlink to the current user environment of a user, e.g., /nix/var/nix/profiles/default.

  • NAR
    A Nix ARchive. This is a serialisation of a path in the Nix store. It can contain regular files, directories and symbolic links. NARs are generated and unpacked using nix-store --dump and nix-store --restore.

Contributing

Hacking

This section provides some notes on how to hack on Nix. To get the latest version of Nix from GitHub:

$ git clone https://github.com/NixOS/nix.git
$ cd nix

To build Nix for the current operating system/architecture use

$ nix-build

or if you have a flake-enabled nix:

$ nix build

This will build defaultPackage attribute defined in the flake.nix file. To build for other platforms add one of the following suffixes to it: aarch64-linux, i686-linux, x86_64-darwin, x86_64-linux. i.e.

$ nix-build -A defaultPackage.x86_64-linux

To build all dependencies and start a shell in which all environment variables are set up so that those dependencies can be found:

$ nix-shell

To build Nix itself in this shell:

[nix-shell]$ ./bootstrap.sh
[nix-shell]$ ./configure $configureFlags --prefix=$(pwd)/outputs/out
[nix-shell]$ make -j $NIX_BUILD_CORES

To install it in $(pwd)/outputs and test it:

[nix-shell]$ make install
[nix-shell]$ make installcheck -j $NIX_BUILD_CORES
[nix-shell]$ ./outputs/out/bin/nix --version
nix (Nix) 3.0

To run a functional test:

make tests/test-name-should-auto-complete.sh.test

To run the unit-tests for C++ code:

make check

If you have a flakes-enabled Nix you can replace:

$ nix-shell

by:

$ nix develop

CLI guideline

Goals

Purpose of this document is to provide a clear direction to help design delightful command line experience. This document contain guidelines to follow to ensure a consistent and approachable user experience.

Overview

nix command provides a single entry to a number of sub-commands that help developers and system administrators in the life-cycle of a software project. We particularly need to pay special attention to help and assist new users of Nix.

Naming the COMMANDS

Words matter. Naming is an important part of the usability. Users will be interacting with Nix on a regular basis so we should name things for ease of understanding.

We recommend following the Principle of Least Astonishment. This means that you should never use acronyms or abbreviations unless they are commonly used in other tools (e.g. nix init). And if the command name is too long (> 10-12 characters) then shortening it makes sense (e.g. “prioritization” → “priority”).

Commands should follow a noun-verb dialogue. Although noun-verb formatting seems backwards from a speaking perspective (i.e. nix store copy vs. nix copy store) it allows us to organize commands the same way users think about completing an action (the group first, then the command).

Naming rules

Rules are there to guide you by limiting your options. But not everything can fit the rules all the time. In those cases document the exceptions in Appendix 1: Commands naming exceptions and provide reason. The rules want to force a Nix developer to look, not just at the command at hand, but also the command in a full context alongside other nix commands.

$ nix [<GROUP>] <COMMAND> [<ARGUMENTS>] [<OPTIONS>]
  • GROUP, COMMAND, ARGUMENTS and OPTIONS should be lowercase and in a singular form.
  • GROUP should be a NOUN.
  • COMMAND should be a VERB.
  • ARGUMENTS and OPTIONS are discussed in Input section.

Classification

Some commands are more important, some less. While we want all of our commands to be perfect we can only spend limited amount of time testing and improving them.

This classification tries to separate commands in 3 categories in terms of their importance in regards to the new users. Users who are likely to be impacted the most by bad user experience.

  • Main commands

    Commands used for our main use cases and most likely used by new users. We expect attention to details, such as:

    Examples of such commands: nix init, nix develop, nix build, nix run, ...

  • Infrequently used commands

    From infrequently used commands we expect less attention to details, but still some:

    Examples of such commands: nix doctor, nix edit, nix eval, ...

  • Utility and scripting commands

    Commands that expose certain internal functionality of nix, mostly used by other scripts.

    Examples of such commands: nix store copy, nix hash base16, nix store ping, ...

Help is essential

Help should be built into your command line so that new users can gradually discover new features when they need them.

Looking for help

Since there is no standard way how user will look for help we rely on ways help is provided by commonly used tools. As a guide for this we took git and whenever in doubt look at it as a preferred direction.

The rules are:

  • Help is shown by using --help or help command (eg nix --``help or nix help).
  • For non-COMMANDs (eg. nix --``help and nix store --``help) we show a summary of most common use cases. Summary is presented on the STDOUT without any use of PAGER.
  • For COMMANDs (eg. nix init --``help or nix help init) we display the man page of that command. By default the PAGER is used (as in git).
  • At the end of either summary or man page there should be an URL pointing to an online version of more detailed documentation.
  • The structure of summaries and man pages should be the same as in git.

Anticipate where help is needed

Even better then requiring the user to search for help is to anticipate and predict when user might need it. Either because the lack of discoverability, typo in the input or simply taking the opportunity to teach the user of interesting - but less visible - details.

Shell completion

This type of help is most common and almost expected by users. We need to provide the best shell completion for bash, zsh and fish.

Completion needs to be context aware, this mean when a user types:

$ nix build n<TAB>

we need to display a list of flakes starting with n.

Wrong input

As we all know we humans make mistakes, all the time. When a typo - intentional or unintentional - is made, we should prompt for closest possible options or point to the documentation which would educate user to not make the same errors. Here are few examples:

In first example we prompt the user for typing wrong command name:

$ nix int
------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Error! Command `int` not found.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Did you mean:
    |> nix init
    |> nix input

Sometimes users will make mistake either because of a typo or simply because of lack of discoverability. Our handling of this cases needs to be context sensitive.

$ nix init --template=template#pyton
------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Error! Template `template#pyton` not found.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Initializing Nix project at `/path/to/here`.
      Select a template for you new project:
          |> template#pyton
             template#python-pip
             template#python-poetry

Next steps

It can be invaluable to newcomers to show what a possible next steps and what is the usual development workflow with Nix. For example:

$ nix init --template=template#python
Initializing project `template#python`
          in `/home/USER/dev/new-project`

  Next steps
    |> nix develop   -- to enter development environment
    |> nix build     -- to build your project

Educate the user

We should take any opportunity to educate users, but at the same time we must be very very careful to not annoy users. There is a thin line between being helpful and being annoying.

An example of educating users might be to provide Tips in places where they are waiting.

$ nix build
    Started building my-project 1.2.3
 Downloaded python3.8-poetry 1.2.3 in 5.3 seconds
 Downloaded python3.8-requests 1.2.3 in 5.3 seconds
------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Press `v` to increase logs verbosity
         |> `?` to see other options
------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Learn something new with every build...
         |> See last logs of a build with `nix log --last` command.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Evaluated my-project 1.2.3 in 14.43 seconds
Downloading [12 / 200]
         |> firefox 1.2.3 [#########>       ] 10Mb/s | 2min left
   Building [2 / 20]
         |> glibc 1.2.3 -> buildPhase: <last log line>
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now Learn part of the output is where you educate users. You should only show it when you know that a build will take some time and not annoy users of the builds that take only few seconds.

Every feature like this should go though a intensive review and testing to collect as much a feedback as possible and to fine tune every little detail. If done right this can be an awesome features beginners and advance users will love, but if not done perfectly it will annoy users and leave bad impression.

Input

Input to a command is provided via ARGUMENTS and OPTIONS.

ARGUMENTS represent a required input for a function. When choosing to use ARGUMENT over function please be aware of the downsides that come with it:

  • User will need to remember the order of ARGUMENTS. This is not a problem if there is only one ARGUMENT.
  • With OPTIONS it is possible to provide much better auto completion.
  • With OPTIONS it is possible to provide much better error message.
  • Using OPTIONS it will mean there is a little bit more typing.

We don’t discourage the use of ARGUMENTS, but simply want to make every developer consider the downsides and choose wisely.

Naming the OPTIONS

Then only naming convention - apart from the ones mentioned in Naming the COMMANDS section is how flags are named.

Flags are a type of OPTION that represent an option that can be turned ON of OFF. We can say flags are boolean type of **OPTION**.

Here are few examples of flag OPTIONS:

  • --colors vs. --no-colors (showing colors in the output)
  • --emojis vs. --no-emojis (showing emojis in the output)

Prompt when input not provided

For main commands (as per classification) we want command to improve the discoverability of possible input. A new user will most likely not know which ARGUMENTS and OPTIONS are required or which values are possible for those options.

In cases, the user might not provide the input or they provide wrong input, rather then show the error, prompt a user with an option to find and select correct input (see examples).

Prompting is of course not required when TTY is not attached to STDIN. This would mean that scripts wont need to handle prompt, but rather handle errors.

A place to use prompt and provide user with interactive select

$ nix init
Initializing Nix project at `/path/to/here`.
      Select a template for you new project:
          |> py
             template#python-pip
             template#python-poetry
             [ Showing 2 templates from 1345 templates ]

Another great place to add prompts are confirmation dialogues for dangerous actions. For example when adding new substitutor via OPTIONS or via flake.nix we should prompt - for the first time - and let user review what is going to happen.

$ nix build --option substitutors https://cache.example.org
------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Warning! A security related question need to be answered.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
  The following substitutors will be used to in `my-project`: 
    - https://cache.example.org

  Do you allow `my-project` to use above mentioned substitutors?
    [y/N] |> y

Output

Terminal output can be quite limiting in many ways. Which should forces us to think about the experience even more. As with every design the output is a compromise between being terse and being verbose, between showing help to beginners and annoying advance users. For this it is important that we know what are the priorities.

Nix command line should be first and foremost written with beginners in mind. But users wont stay beginners for long and what was once useful might quickly become annoying. There is no golden rule that we can give in this guideline that would make it easier how to draw a line and find best compromise.

What we would encourage is to build prototypes, do some user testing and collect feedback. Then repeat the cycle few times.

First design the happy path and only after your iron it out, continue to work on edge cases (handling and displaying errors, changes of the output by certain OPTIONS, etc…)

Follow best practices

Needless to say we Nix must be a good citizen and follow best practices in command line.

In short: STDOUT is for output, STDERR is for (human) messaging.

STDOUT and STDERR provide a way for you to output messages to the user while also allowing them to redirect content to a file. For example:

$ nix build > build.txt
------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Error! Atrribute `bin` missing at (1:94) from string.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

  1| with import <nixpkgs> { }; (pkgs.runCommandCC or pkgs.runCommand) "shell" { buildInputs = [ (surge.bin) ]; } ""

Because this warning is on STDERR, it doesn’t end up in the file.

But not everything on STDERR is an error though. For example, you can run nix build and collect logs in a file while still seeing the progress.

$ nix build > build.txt
  Evaluated 1234 files in 1.2 seconds
 Downloaded python3.8-poetry 1.2.3 in 5.3 seconds
 Downloaded python3.8-requests 1.2.3 in 5.3 seconds
------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Press `v` to increase logs verbosity
         |> `?` to see other options
------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Learn something new with every build...
         |> See last logs of a build with `nix log --last` command.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Evaluated my-project 1.2.3 in 14.43 seconds
Downloading [12 / 200]
         |> firefox 1.2.3 [#########>       ] 10Mb/s | 2min left
   Building [2 / 20]
         |> glibc 1.2.3 -> buildPhase: <last log line>
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Errors (WIP)

TODO: Once we have implementation for the happy path then we will think how to present errors.

Not only for humans

Terse, machine-readable output formats can also be useful but shouldn’t get in the way of making beautiful CLI output. When needed, commands should offer a --json flag to allow users to easily parse and script the CLI.

When TTY is not detected on STDOUT we should remove all design elements (no colors, no emojis and using ASCII instead of Unicode symbols). The same should happen when TTY is not detected on STDERR. We should not display progress / status section, but only print warnings and errors.

Dialog with the user

CLIs don't always make it clear when an action has taken place. For every action a user performs, your CLI should provide an equal and appropriate reaction, clearly highlighting the what just happened. For example:

$ nix build
 Downloaded python3.8-poetry 1.2.3 in 5.3 seconds
 Downloaded python3.8-requests 1.2.3 in 5.3 seconds
...
   Success! You have successfully built my-project.
$

Above command clearly states that command successfully completed. And in case of nix build, which is a command that might take some time to complete, it is equally important to also show that a command started.

Text alignment

Text alignment is the number one design element that will present all of the Nix commands as a family and not as separate tools glued together.

The format we should follow is:

$ nix COMMAND
   VERB_1 NOUN and other words
  VERB__1 NOUN and other words
       |> Some details 

Few rules that we can extract from above example:

  • Each line should start at least with one space.
  • First word should be a VERB and must be aligned to the right.
  • Second word should be a NOUN and must be aligned to the left.
  • If you can not find a good VERB / NOUN pair, don’t worry make it as understandable to the user as possible.
  • More details of each line can be provided by |> character which is serving as the first word when aligning the text

Don’t forget you should also test your terminal output with colors and emojis off (--no-colors --no-emojis).

Dim / Bright

After comparing few terminals with different color schemes we would recommend to avoid using dimmed text. The difference from the rest of the text is very little in many terminal and color scheme combinations. Sometimes the difference is not even notable, therefore relying on it wouldn’t make much sense.

The bright text is much better supported across terminals and color schemes. Most of the time the difference is perceived as if the bright text would be bold.

Colors

Humans are already conditioned by society to attach certain meaning to certain colors. While the meaning is not universal, a simple collection of colors is used to represent basic emotions.

Colors that can be used in output

  • Red = error, danger, stop
  • Green = success, good
  • Yellow/Orange = proceed with caution, warning, in progress
  • Blue/Magenta = stability, calm

While colors are nice, when command line is used by machines (in automation scripts) you want to remove the colors. There should be a global --no-colors option that would remove the colors.

Special (Unicode) characters

Most of the terminal have good support for Unicode characters and you should use them in your output by default. But always have a backup solution that is implemented only with ASCII characters and will be used when --ascii option is going to be passed in. Please make sure that you test your output also without Unicode characters

More they showing all the different Unicode characters it is important to establish common set of characters that we use for certain situations.

Emojis

Emojis help channel emotions even better than text, colors and special characters.

We recommend keeping the set of emojis to a minimum. This will enable each emoji to stand out more.

As not everybody is happy about emojis we should provide an --no-emojis option to disable them. Please make sure that you test your output also without emojis.

Tables

All commands that are listing certain data can be implemented in some sort of a table. It’s important that each row of your output is a single ‘entry’ of data. Never output table borders. It’s noisy and a huge pain for parsing using other tools such as grep.

Be mindful of the screen width. Only show a few columns by default with the table header, for more the table can be manipulated by the following options:

  • --no-headers: Show column headers by default but allow to hide them.
  • --columns: Comma-separated list of column names to add.
  • --sort: Allow sorting by column. Allow inverse and multi-column sort as well.

Interactive output

Interactive output was selected to be able to strike the balance between beginners and advance users. While the default output will target beginners it can, with a few key strokes, be changed into and advance introspection tool.

Progress

For longer running commands we should provide and overview of the progress. This is shown best in nix build example:

$ nix build
    Started building my-project 1.2.3
 Downloaded python3.8-poetry 1.2.3 in 5.3 seconds
 Downloaded python3.8-requests 1.2.3 in 5.3 seconds
------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Press `v` to increase logs verbosity
         |> `?` to see other options
------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Learn something new with every build...
         |> See last logs of a build with `nix log --last` command.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Evaluated my-project 1.2.3 in 14.43 seconds
Downloading [12 / 200]
         |> firefox 1.2.3 [#########>       ] 10Mb/s | 2min left
   Building [2 / 20]
         |> glibc 1.2.3 -> buildPhase: <last log line>
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Use a fzf like fuzzy search when there are multiple options to choose from.

$ nix init
Initializing Nix project at `/path/to/here`.
      Select a template for you new project:
          |> py
             template#python-pip
             template#python-poetry
             [ Showing 2 templates from 1345 templates ]

Prompt

In some situations we need to prompt the user and inform the user about what is going to happen.

$ nix build --option substitutors https://cache.example.org
------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Warning! A security related question need to be answered.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
  The following substitutors will be used to in `my-project`: 
    - https://cache.example.org

  Do you allow `my-project` to use above mentioned substitutors?
    [y/N] |> y

Verbosity

There are many ways that you can control verbosity.

Verbosity levels are:

  • ERROR (level 0)
  • WARN (level 1)
  • NOTICE (level 2)
  • INFO (level 3)
  • TALKATIVE (level 4)
  • CHATTY (level 5)
  • DEBUG (level 6)
  • VOMIT (level 7)

The default level that the command starts is ERROR. The simplest way to increase the verbosity by stacking -v option (eg: -vvv == level 3 == INFO). There are also two shortcuts, --debug to run in DEBUG verbosity level and --quiet to run in ERROR verbosity level.


Appendix 1: Commands naming exceptions

nix init and nix repl are well established

Nix Release Notes

Release 2.4 (202X-XX-XX)

  • It is now an error to modify the plugin-files setting via a command-line flag that appears after the first non-flag argument to any command, including a subcommand to nix. For example, nix-instantiate default.nix --plugin-files "" must now become nix-instantiate --plugin-files "" default.nix.
  • Plugins that add new nix subcommands are now actually respected.

Release 2.3 (2019-09-04)

This is primarily a bug fix release. However, it makes some incompatible changes:

  • Nix now uses BSD file locks instead of POSIX file locks. Because of this, you should not use Nix 2.3 and previous releases at the same time on a Nix store.

It also has the following changes:

  • builtins.fetchGit's ref argument now allows specifying an absolute remote ref. Nix will automatically prefix ref with refs/heads only if ref doesn't already begin with refs/.

  • The installer now enables sandboxing by default on Linux when the system has the necessary kernel support.

  • The max-jobs setting now defaults to 1.

  • New builtin functions: builtins.isPath, builtins.hashFile.

  • The nix command has a new --print-build-logs (-L) flag to print build log output to stderr, rather than showing the last log line in the progress bar. To distinguish between concurrent builds, log lines are prefixed by the name of the package.

  • Builds are now executed in a pseudo-terminal, and the TERM environment variable is set to xterm-256color. This allows many programs (e.g. gcc, clang, cmake) to print colorized log output.

  • Add --no-net convenience flag. This flag disables substituters; sets the tarball-ttl setting to infinity (ensuring that any previously downloaded files are considered current); and disables retrying downloads and sets the connection timeout to the minimum. This flag is enabled automatically if there are no configured non-loopback network interfaces.

  • Add a post-build-hook setting to run a program after a build has succeeded.

  • Add a trace-function-calls setting to log the duration of Nix function calls to stderr.

Release 2.2 (2019-01-11)

This is primarily a bug fix release. It also has the following changes:

  • In derivations that use structured attributes (i.e. that specify set the __structuredAttrs attribute to true to cause all attributes to be passed to the builder in JSON format), you can now specify closure checks per output, e.g.:

    outputChecks."out" = {
      # The closure of 'out' must not be larger than 256 MiB.
      maxClosureSize = 256 * 1024 * 1024;
    
      # It must not refer to C compiler or to the 'dev' output.
      disallowedRequisites = [ stdenv.cc "dev" ];
    };
    
    outputChecks."dev" = {
      # The 'dev' output must not be larger than 128 KiB.
      maxSize = 128 * 1024;
    };
    
  • The derivation attribute requiredSystemFeatures is now enforced for local builds, and not just to route builds to remote builders. The supported features of a machine can be specified through the configuration setting system-features.

    By default, system-features includes kvm if /dev/kvm exists. For compatibility, it also includes the pseudo-features nixos-test, benchmark and big-parallel which are used by Nixpkgs to route builds to particular Hydra build machines.

  • Sandbox builds are now enabled by default on Linux.

  • The new command nix doctor shows potential issues with your Nix installation.

  • The fetchGit builtin function now uses a caching scheme that puts different remote repositories in distinct local repositories, rather than a single shared repository. This may require more disk space but is faster.

  • The dirOf builtin function now works on relative paths.

  • Nix now supports SRI hashes, allowing the hash algorithm and hash to be specified in a single string. For example, you can write:

    import <nix/fetchurl.nix> {
      url = https://nixos.org/releases/nix/nix-2.1.3/nix-2.1.3.tar.xz;
      hash = "sha256-XSLa0FjVyADWWhFfkZ2iKTjFDda6mMXjoYMXLRSYQKQ=";
    };
    

    instead of

    import <nix/fetchurl.nix> {
      url = https://nixos.org/releases/nix/nix-2.1.3/nix-2.1.3.tar.xz;
      sha256 = "5d22dad058d5c800d65a115f919da22938c50dd6ba98c5e3a183172d149840a4";
    };
    

    In fixed-output derivations, the outputHashAlgo attribute is no longer mandatory if outputHash specifies the hash.

    nix hash-file and nix hash-path now print hashes in SRI format by default. They also use SHA-256 by default instead of SHA-512 because that's what we use most of the time in Nixpkgs.

  • Integers are now 64 bits on all platforms.

  • The evaluator now prints profiling statistics (enabled via the NIX_SHOW_STATS and NIX_COUNT_CALLS environment variables) in JSON format.

  • The option --xml in nix-store --query has been removed. Instead, there now is an option --graphml to output the dependency graph in GraphML format.

  • All nix-* commands are now symlinks to nix. This saves a bit of disk space.

  • nix repl now uses libeditline or libreadline.

Release 2.1 (2018-09-02)

This is primarily a bug fix release. It also reduces memory consumption in certain situations. In addition, it has the following new features:

  • The Nix installer will no longer default to the Multi-User installation for macOS. You can still instruct the installer to run in multi-user mode.

  • The Nix installer now supports performing a Multi-User installation for Linux computers which are running systemd. You can select a Multi-User installation by passing the --daemon flag to the installer: sh <(curl -L https://nixos.org/nix/install) --daemon.

    The multi-user installer cannot handle systems with SELinux. If your system has SELinux enabled, you can force the installer to run in single-user mode.

  • New builtin functions: builtins.bitAnd, builtins.bitOr, builtins.bitXor, builtins.fromTOML, builtins.concatMap, builtins.mapAttrs.

  • The S3 binary cache store now supports uploading NARs larger than 5 GiB.

  • The S3 binary cache store now supports uploading to S3-compatible services with the endpoint option.

  • The flag --fallback is no longer required to recover from disappeared NARs in binary caches.

  • nix-daemon now respects --store.

  • nix run now respects nix-support/propagated-user-env-packages.

This release has contributions from Adrien Devresse, Aleksandr Pashkov, Alexandre Esteves, Amine Chikhaoui, Andrew Dunham, Asad Saeeduddin, aszlig, Ben Challenor, Ben Gamari, Benjamin Hipple, Bogdan Seniuc, Corey O'Connor, Daiderd Jordan, Daniel Peebles, Daniel Poelzleithner, Danylo Hlynskyi, Dmitry Kalinkin, Domen Kožar, Doug Beardsley, Eelco Dolstra, Erik Arvstedt, Félix Baylac-Jacqué, Gleb Peregud, Graham Christensen, Guillaume Maudoux, Ivan Kozik, John Arnold, Justin Humm, Linus Heckemann, Lorenzo Manacorda, Matthew Justin Bauer, Matthew O'Gorman, Maximilian Bosch, Michael Bishop, Michael Fiano, Michael Mercier, Michael Raskin, Michael Weiss, Nicolas Dudebout, Peter Simons, Ryan Trinkle, Samuel Dionne-Riel, Sean Seefried, Shea Levy, Symphorien Gibol, Tim Engler, Tim Sears, Tuomas Tynkkynen, volth, Will Dietz, Yorick van Pelt and zimbatm.

Release 2.0 (2018-02-22)

The following incompatible changes have been made:

  • The manifest-based substituter mechanism (download-using-manifests) has been removed. It has been superseded by the binary cache substituter mechanism since several years. As a result, the following programs have been removed:

    • nix-pull

    • nix-generate-patches

    • bsdiff

    • bspatch

  • The “copy from other stores” substituter mechanism (copy-from-other-stores and the NIX_OTHER_STORES environment variable) has been removed. It was primarily used by the NixOS installer to copy available paths from the installation medium. The replacement is to use a chroot store as a substituter (e.g. --substituters /mnt), or to build into a chroot store (e.g. --store /mnt --substituters /).

  • The command nix-push has been removed as part of the effort to eliminate Nix's dependency on Perl. You can use nix copy instead, e.g. nix copy --to file:///tmp/my-binary-cache paths…

  • The “nested” log output feature (--log-type pretty) has been removed. As a result, nix-log2xml was also removed.

  • OpenSSL-based signing has been removed. This feature was never well-supported. A better alternative is provided by the secret-key-files and trusted-public-keys options.

  • Failed build caching has been removed. This feature was introduced to support the Hydra continuous build system, but Hydra no longer uses it.

  • nix-mode.el has been removed from Nix. It is now a separate repository and can be installed through the MELPA package repository.

This release has the following new features:

  • It introduces a new command named nix, which is intended to eventually replace all nix-* commands with a more consistent and better designed user interface. It currently provides replacements for some (but not all) of the functionality provided by nix-store, nix-build, nix-shell -p, nix-env -qa, nix-instantiate --eval, nix-push and nix-copy-closure. It has the following major features:

    • Unlike the legacy commands, it has a consistent way to refer to packages and package-like arguments (like store paths). For example, the following commands all copy the GNU Hello package to a remote machine:

      nix copy --to ssh://machine nixpkgs.hello
      
      nix copy --to ssh://machine /nix/store/0i2jd68mp5g6h2sa5k9c85rb80sn8hi9-hello-2.10
      
      nix copy --to ssh://machine '(with import <nixpkgs> {}; hello)'
      

      By contrast, nix-copy-closure only accepted store paths as arguments.

    • It is self-documenting: --help shows all available command-line arguments. If --help is given after a subcommand, it shows examples for that subcommand. nix --help-config shows all configuration options.

    • It is much less verbose. By default, it displays a single-line progress indicator that shows how many packages are left to be built or downloaded, and (if there are running builds) the most recent line of builder output. If a build fails, it shows the last few lines of builder output. The full build log can be retrieved using nix log.

    • It provides all nix.conf configuration options as command line flags. For example, instead of --option http-connections 100 you can write --http-connections 100. Boolean options can be written as --foo or --no-foo (e.g. --no-auto-optimise-store).

    • Many subcommands have a --json flag to write results to stdout in JSON format.

    Warning

    Please note that the nix command is a work in progress and the interface is subject to change.

    It provides the following high-level (“porcelain”) subcommands:

    • nix build is a replacement for nix-build.

    • nix run executes a command in an environment in which the specified packages are available. It is (roughly) a replacement for nix-shell -p. Unlike that command, it does not execute the command in a shell, and has a flag (-c) that specifies the unquoted command line to be executed.

      It is particularly useful in conjunction with chroot stores, allowing Linux users who do not have permission to install Nix in /nix/store to still use binary substitutes that assume /nix/store. For example,

      nix run --store ~/my-nix nixpkgs.hello -c hello --greeting 'Hi everybody!'
      

      downloads (or if not substitutes are available, builds) the GNU Hello package into ~/my-nix/nix/store, then runs hello in a mount namespace where ~/my-nix/nix/store is mounted onto /nix/store.

    • nix search replaces nix-env -qa. It searches the available packages for occurrences of a search string in the attribute name, package name or description. Unlike nix-env -qa, it has a cache to speed up subsequent searches.

    • nix copy copies paths between arbitrary Nix stores, generalising nix-copy-closure and nix-push.

    • nix repl replaces the external program nix-repl. It provides an interactive environment for evaluating and building Nix expressions. Note that it uses linenoise-ng instead of GNU Readline.

    • nix upgrade-nix upgrades Nix to the latest stable version. This requires that Nix is installed in a profile. (Thus it won’t work on NixOS, or if it’s installed outside of the Nix store.)

    • nix verify checks whether store paths are unmodified and/or “trusted” (see below). It replaces nix-store --verify and nix-store --verify-path.

    • nix log shows the build log of a package or path. If the build log is not available locally, it will try to obtain it from the configured substituters (such as cache.nixos.org, which now provides build logs).

    • nix edit opens the source code of a package in your editor.

    • nix eval replaces nix-instantiate --eval.

    • nix why-depends shows why one store path has another in its closure. This is primarily useful to finding the causes of closure bloat. For example,

      nix why-depends nixpkgs.vlc nixpkgs.libdrm.dev
      

      shows a chain of files and fragments of file contents that cause the VLC package to have the “dev” output of libdrm in its closure — an undesirable situation.

    • nix path-info shows information about store paths, replacing nix-store -q. A useful feature is the option --closure-size (-S). For example, the following command show the closure sizes of every path in the current NixOS system closure, sorted by size:

      nix path-info -rS /run/current-system | sort -nk2
      
    • nix optimise-store replaces nix-store --optimise. The main difference is that it has a progress indicator.

    A number of low-level (“plumbing”) commands are also available:

    • nix ls-store and nix ls-nar list the contents of a store path or NAR file. The former is primarily useful in conjunction with remote stores, e.g.

      nix ls-store --store https://cache.nixos.org/ -lR /nix/store/0i2jd68mp5g6h2sa5k9c85rb80sn8hi9-hello-2.10
      

      lists the contents of path in a binary cache.

    • nix cat-store and nix cat-nar allow extracting a file from a store path or NAR file.

    • nix dump-path writes the contents of a store path to stdout in NAR format. This replaces nix-store --dump.

    • nix show-derivation displays a store derivation in JSON format. This is an alternative to pp-aterm.

    • nix add-to-store replaces nix-store --add.

    • nix sign-paths signs store paths.

    • nix copy-sigs copies signatures from one store to another.

    • nix show-config shows all configuration options and their current values.

  • The store abstraction that Nix has had for a long time to support store access via the Nix daemon has been extended significantly. In particular, substituters (which used to be external programs such as download-from-binary-cache) are now subclasses of the abstract Store class. This allows many Nix commands to operate on such store types. For example, nix path-info shows information about paths in your local Nix store, while nix path-info --store https://cache.nixos.org/ shows information about paths in the specified binary cache. Similarly, nix-copy-closure, nix-push and substitution are all instances of the general notion of copying paths between different kinds of Nix stores.

    Stores are specified using an URI-like syntax, e.g. https://cache.nixos.org/ or ssh://machine. The following store types are supported:

    • LocalStore (stori URI local or an absolute path) and the misnamed RemoteStore (daemon) provide access to a local Nix store, the latter via the Nix daemon. You can use auto or the empty string to auto-select a local or daemon store depending on whether you have write permission to the Nix store. It is no longer necessary to set the NIX_REMOTE environment variable to use the Nix daemon.

      As noted above, LocalStore now supports chroot builds, allowing the “physical” location of the Nix store (e.g. /home/alice/nix/store) to differ from its “logical” location (typically /nix/store). This allows non-root users to use Nix while still getting the benefits from prebuilt binaries from cache.nixos.org.

    • BinaryCacheStore is the abstract superclass of all binary cache stores. It supports writing build logs and NAR content listings in JSON format.

    • HttpBinaryCacheStore (http://, https://) supports binary caches via HTTP or HTTPS. If the server supports PUT requests, it supports uploading store paths via commands such as nix copy.

    • LocalBinaryCacheStore (file://) supports binary caches in the local filesystem.

    • S3BinaryCacheStore (s3://) supports binary caches stored in Amazon S3, if enabled at compile time.

    • LegacySSHStore (ssh://) is used to implement remote builds and nix-copy-closure.

    • SSHStore (ssh-ng://) supports arbitrary Nix operations on a remote machine via the same protocol used by nix-daemon.

  • Security has been improved in various ways:

    • Nix now stores signatures for local store paths. When paths are copied between stores (e.g., copied from a binary cache to a local store), signatures are propagated.

      Locally-built paths are signed automatically using the secret keys specified by the secret-key-files store option. Secret/public key pairs can be generated using nix-store --generate-binary-cache-key.

      In addition, locally-built store paths are marked as “ultimately trusted”, but this bit is not propagated when paths are copied between stores.

    • Content-addressable store paths no longer require signatures — they can be imported into a store by unprivileged users even if they lack signatures.

    • The command nix verify checks whether the specified paths are trusted, i.e., have a certain number of trusted signatures, are ultimately trusted, or are content-addressed.

    • Substitutions from binary caches now require signatures by default. This was already the case on NixOS.

    • In Linux sandbox builds, we now use /build instead of /tmp as the temporary build directory. This fixes potential security problems when a build accidentally stores its TMPDIR in some security-sensitive place, such as an RPATH.

  • Pure evaluation mode. With the --pure-eval flag, Nix enables a variant of the existing restricted evaluation mode that forbids access to anything that could cause different evaluations of the same command line arguments to produce a different result. This includes builtin functions such as builtins.getEnv, but more importantly, all filesystem or network access unless a content hash or commit hash is specified. For example, calls to builtins.fetchGit are only allowed if a rev attribute is specified.

    The goal of this feature is to enable true reproducibility and traceability of builds (including NixOS system configurations) at the evaluation level. For example, in the future, nixos-rebuild might build configurations from a Nix expression in a Git repository in pure mode. That expression might fetch other repositories such as Nixpkgs via builtins.fetchGit. The commit hash of the top-level repository then uniquely identifies a running system, and, in conjunction with that repository, allows it to be reproduced or modified.

  • There are several new features to support binary reproducibility (i.e. to help ensure that multiple builds of the same derivation produce exactly the same output). When enforce-determinism is set to false, it’s no longer a fatal error if build rounds produce different output. Also, a hook named diff-hook is provided to allow you to run tools such as diffoscope when build rounds produce different output.

  • Configuring remote builds is a lot easier now. Provided you are not using the Nix daemon, you can now just specify a remote build machine on the command line, e.g. --option builders 'ssh://my-mac x86_64-darwin'. The environment variable NIX_BUILD_HOOK has been removed and is no longer needed. The environment variable NIX_REMOTE_SYSTEMS is still supported for compatibility, but it is also possible to specify builders in nix.conf by setting the option builders = @path.

  • If a fixed-output derivation produces a result with an incorrect hash, the output path is moved to the location corresponding to the actual hash and registered as valid. Thus, a subsequent build of the fixed-output derivation with the correct hash is unnecessary.

  • nix-shell now sets the IN_NIX_SHELL environment variable during evaluation and in the shell itself. This can be used to perform different actions depending on whether you’re in a Nix shell or in a regular build. Nixpkgs provides lib.inNixShell to check this variable during evaluation.

  • NIX_PATH is now lazy, so URIs in the path are only downloaded if they are needed for evaluation.

  • You can now use channel: as a short-hand for https://nixos.org/channels//nixexprs.tar.xz. For example, nix-build channel:nixos-15.09 -A hello will build the GNU Hello package from the nixos-15.09 channel. In the future, this may use Git to fetch updates more efficiently.

  • When --no-build-output is given, the last 10 lines of the build log will be shown if a build fails.

  • Networking has been improved:

    • HTTP/2 is now supported. This makes binary cache lookups much more efficient.

    • We now retry downloads on many HTTP errors, making binary caches substituters more resilient to temporary failures.

    • HTTP credentials can now be configured via the standard netrc mechanism.

    • If S3 support is enabled at compile time, s3:// URIs are supported in all places where Nix allows URIs.

    • Brotli compression is now supported. In particular, cache.nixos.org build logs are now compressed using Brotli.

  • nix-env now ignores packages with bad derivation names (in particular those starting with a digit or containing a dot).

  • Many configuration options have been renamed, either because they were unnecessarily verbose (e.g. build-use-sandbox is now just sandbox) or to reflect generalised behaviour (e.g. binary-caches is now substituters because it allows arbitrary store URIs). The old names are still supported for compatibility.

  • The max-jobs option can now be set to auto to use the number of CPUs in the system.

  • Hashes can now be specified in base-64 format, in addition to base-16 and the non-standard base-32.

  • nix-shell now uses bashInteractive from Nixpkgs, rather than the bash command that happens to be in the caller’s PATH. This is especially important on macOS where the bash provided by the system is seriously outdated and cannot execute stdenv’s setup script.

  • Nix can now automatically trigger a garbage collection if free disk space drops below a certain level during a build. This is configured using the min-free and max-free options.

  • nix-store -q --roots and nix-store --gc --print-roots now show temporary and in-memory roots.

  • Nix can now be extended with plugins. See the documentation of the plugin-files option for more details.

The Nix language has the following new features:

  • It supports floating point numbers. They are based on the C++ float type and are supported by the existing numerical operators. Export and import to and from JSON and XML works, too.

  • Derivation attributes can now reference the outputs of the derivation using the placeholder builtin function. For example, the attribute

    configureFlags = "--prefix=${placeholder "out"} --includedir=${placeholder "dev"}";
    

    will cause the configureFlags environment variable to contain the actual store paths corresponding to the out and dev outputs.

The following builtin functions are new or extended:

  • builtins.fetchGit allows Git repositories to be fetched at evaluation time. Thus it differs from the fetchgit function in Nixpkgs, which fetches at build time and cannot be used to fetch Nix expressions during evaluation. A typical use case is to import external NixOS modules from your configuration, e.g.

    imports = [ (builtins.fetchGit https://github.com/edolstra/dwarffs + "/module.nix") ];
    
  • Similarly, builtins.fetchMercurial allows you to fetch Mercurial repositories.

  • builtins.path generalises builtins.filterSource and path literals (e.g. ./foo). It allows specifying a store path name that differs from the source path name (e.g. builtins.path { path = ./foo; name = "bar"; }) and also supports filtering out unwanted files.

  • builtins.fetchurl and builtins.fetchTarball now support sha256 and name attributes.

  • builtins.split splits a string using a POSIX extended regular expression as the separator.

  • builtins.partition partitions the elements of a list into two lists, depending on a Boolean predicate.

  • <nix/fetchurl.nix> now uses the content-addressable tarball cache at http://tarballs.nixos.org/, just like fetchurl in Nixpkgs. (f2682e6e18a76ecbfb8a12c17e3a0ca15c084197)

  • In restricted and pure evaluation mode, builtin functions that download from the network (such as fetchGit) are permitted to fetch underneath a list of URI prefixes specified in the option allowed-uris.

The Nix build environment has the following changes:

  • Values such as Booleans, integers, (nested) lists and attribute sets can now be passed to builders in a non-lossy way. If the special attribute __structuredAttrs is set to true, the other derivation attributes are serialised in JSON format and made available to the builder via the file .attrs.json in the builder’s temporary directory. This obviates the need for passAsFile since JSON files have no size restrictions, unlike process environments.

    As a convenience to Bash builders, Nix writes a script named .attrs.sh to the builder’s directory that initialises shell variables corresponding to all attributes that are representable in Bash. This includes non-nested (associative) arrays. For example, the attribute hardening.format = true ends up as the Bash associative array element ${hardening[format]}.

  • Builders can now communicate what build phase they are in by writing messages to the file descriptor specified in NIX_LOG_FD. The current phase is shown by the nix progress indicator.

  • In Linux sandbox builds, we now provide a default /bin/sh (namely ash from BusyBox).

  • In structured attribute mode, exportReferencesGraph exports extended information about closures in JSON format. In particular, it includes the sizes and hashes of paths. This is primarily useful for NixOS image builders.

  • Builds are now killed as soon as Nix receives EOF on the builder’s stdout or stderr. This fixes a bug that allowed builds to hang Nix indefinitely, regardless of timeouts.

  • The sandbox-paths configuration option can now specify optional paths by appending a ?, e.g. /dev/nvidiactl? will bind-mount /dev/nvidiactl only if it exists.

  • On Linux, builds are now executed in a user namespace with UID 1000 and GID 100.

A number of significant internal changes were made:

  • Nix no longer depends on Perl and all Perl components have been rewritten in C++ or removed. The Perl bindings that used to be part of Nix have been moved to a separate package, nix-perl.

  • All Store classes are now thread-safe. RemoteStore supports multiple concurrent connections to the daemon. This is primarily useful in multi-threaded programs such as hydra-queue-runner.

This release has contributions from Adrien Devresse, Alexander Ried, Alex Cruice, Alexey Shmalko, AmineChikhaoui, Andy Wingo, Aneesh Agrawal, Anthony Cowley, Armijn Hemel, aszlig, Ben Gamari, Benjamin Hipple, Benjamin Staffin, Benno Fünfstück, Bjørn Forsman, Brian McKenna, Charles Strahan, Chase Adams, Chris Martin, Christian Theune, Chris Warburton, Daiderd Jordan, Dan Connolly, Daniel Peebles, Dan Peebles, davidak, David McFarland, Dmitry Kalinkin, Domen Kožar, Eelco Dolstra, Emery Hemingway, Eric Litak, Eric Wolf, Fabian Schmitthenner, Frederik Rietdijk, Gabriel Gonzalez, Giorgio Gallo, Graham Christensen, Guillaume Maudoux, Harmen, Iavael, James Broadhead, James Earl Douglas, Janus Troelsen, Jeremy Shaw, Joachim Schiele, Joe Hermaszewski, Joel Moberg, Johannes 'fish' Ziemke, Jörg Thalheim, Jude Taylor, kballou, Keshav Kini, Kjetil Orbekk, Langston Barrett, Linus Heckemann, Ludovic Courtès, Manav Rathi, Marc Scholten, Markus Hauck, Matt Audesse, Matthew Bauer, Matthias Beyer, Matthieu Coudron, N1X, Nathan Zadoks, Neil Mayhew, Nicolas B. Pierron, Niklas Hambüchen, Nikolay Amiantov, Ole Jørgen Brønner, Orivej Desh, Peter Simons, Peter Stuart, Pyry Jahkola, regnat, Renzo Carbonara, Rhys, Robert Vollmert, Scott Olson, Scott R. Parish, Sergei Trofimovich, Shea Levy, Sheena Artrip, Spencer Baugh, Stefan Junker, Susan Potter, Thomas Tuegel, Timothy Allen, Tristan Hume, Tuomas Tynkkynen, tv, Tyson Whitehead, Vladimír Čunát, Will Dietz, wmertens, Wout Mertens, zimbatm and Zoran Plesivčak.

Release 1.11.10 (2017-06-12)

This release fixes a security bug in Nix’s “build user” build isolation mechanism. Previously, Nix builders had the ability to create setuid binaries owned by a nixbld user. Such a binary could then be used by an attacker to assume a nixbld identity and interfere with subsequent builds running under the same UID.

To prevent this issue, Nix now disallows builders to create setuid and setgid binaries. On Linux, this is done using a seccomp BPF filter. Note that this imposes a small performance penalty (e.g. 1% when building GNU Hello). Using seccomp, we now also prevent the creation of extended attributes and POSIX ACLs since these cannot be represented in the NAR format and (in the case of POSIX ACLs) allow bypassing regular Nix store permissions. On macOS, the restriction is implemented using the existing sandbox mechanism, which now uses a minimal “allow all except the creation of setuid/setgid binaries” profile when regular sandboxing is disabled. On other platforms, the “build user” mechanism is now disabled.

Thanks go to Linus Heckemann for discovering and reporting this bug.

Release 1.11 (2016-01-19)

This is primarily a bug fix release. It also has a number of new features:

  • nix-prefetch-url can now download URLs specified in a Nix expression. For example,

    $ nix-prefetch-url -A hello.src
    

    will prefetch the file specified by the fetchurl call in the attribute hello.src from the Nix expression in the current directory, and print the cryptographic hash of the resulting file on stdout. This differs from nix-build -A hello.src in that it doesn't verify the hash, and is thus useful when you’re updating a Nix expression.

    You can also prefetch the result of functions that unpack a tarball, such as fetchFromGitHub. For example:

    $ nix-prefetch-url --unpack https://github.com/NixOS/patchelf/archive/0.8.tar.gz
    

    or from a Nix expression:

    $ nix-prefetch-url -A nix-repl.src
    
  • The builtin function <nix/fetchurl.nix> now supports downloading and unpacking NARs. This removes the need to have multiple downloads in the Nixpkgs stdenv bootstrap process (like a separate busybox binary for Linux, or curl/mkdir/sh/bzip2 for Darwin). Now all those files can be combined into a single NAR, optionally compressed using xz.

  • Nix now supports SHA-512 hashes for verifying fixed-output derivations, and in builtins.hashString.

  • The new flag --option build-repeat N will cause every build to be executed N+1 times. If the build output differs between any round, the build is rejected, and the output paths are not registered as valid. This is primarily useful to verify build determinism. (We already had a --check option to repeat a previously succeeded build. However, with --check, non-deterministic builds are registered in the DB. Preventing that is useful for Hydra to ensure that non-deterministic builds don't end up getting published to the binary cache.)

  • The options --check and --option build-repeat N, if they detect a difference between two runs of the same derivation and -K is given, will make the output of the other run available under store-path-check. This makes it easier to investigate the non-determinism using tools like diffoscope, e.g.,

    $ nix-build pkgs/stdenv/linux -A stage1.pkgs.zlib --check -K
    error: derivation ‘/nix/store/l54i8wlw2265…-zlib-1.2.8.drv’ may not
    be deterministic: output ‘/nix/store/11a27shh6n2i…-zlib-1.2.8’
    differs from ‘/nix/store/11a27shh6n2i…-zlib-1.2.8-check’
    
    $ diffoscope /nix/store/11a27shh6n2i…-zlib-1.2.8 /nix/store/11a27shh6n2i…-zlib-1.2.8-check
    …
    ├── lib/libz.a
    │   ├── metadata
    │   │ @@ -1,15 +1,15 @@
    │   │ -rw-r--r-- 30001/30000   3096 Jan 12 15:20 2016 adler32.o
    …
    │   │ +rw-r--r-- 30001/30000   3096 Jan 12 15:28 2016 adler32.o
    …
    
  • Improved FreeBSD support.

  • nix-env -qa --xml --meta now prints license information.

  • The maximum number of parallel TCP connections that the binary cache substituter will use has been decreased from 150 to 25. This should prevent upsetting some broken NAT routers, and also improves performance.

  • All "chroot"-containing strings got renamed to "sandbox". In particular, some Nix options got renamed, but the old names are still accepted as lower-priority aliases.

This release has contributions from Anders Claesson, Anthony Cowley, Bjørn Forsman, Brian McKenna, Danny Wilson, davidak, Eelco Dolstra, Fabian Schmitthenner, FrankHB, Ilya Novoselov, janus, Jim Garrison, John Ericson, Jude Taylor, Ludovic Courtès, Manuel Jacob, Mathnerd314, Pascal Wittmann, Peter Simons, Philip Potter, Preston Bennes, Rommel M. Martinez, Sander van der Burg, Shea Levy, Tim Cuthbertson, Tuomas Tynkkynen, Utku Demir and Vladimír Čunát.

Release 1.10 (2015-09-03)

This is primarily a bug fix release. It also has a number of new features:

  • A number of builtin functions have been added to reduce Nixpkgs/NixOS evaluation time and memory consumption: all, any, concatStringsSep, foldl’, genList, replaceStrings, sort.

  • The garbage collector is more robust when the disk is full.

  • Nix supports a new API for building derivations that doesn’t require a .drv file to be present on disk; it only requires an in-memory representation of the derivation. This is used by the Hydra continuous build system to make remote builds more efficient.

  • The function <nix/fetchurl.nix> now uses a builtin builder (i.e. it doesn’t require starting an external process; the download is performed by Nix itself). This ensures that derivation paths don’t change when Nix is upgraded, and obviates the need for ugly hacks to support chroot execution.

  • --version -v now prints some configuration information, in particular what compile-time optional features are enabled, and the paths of various directories.

  • Build users have their supplementary groups set correctly.

This release has contributions from Eelco Dolstra, Guillaume Maudoux, Iwan Aucamp, Jaka Hudoklin, Kirill Elagin, Ludovic Courtès, Manolis Ragkousis, Nicolas B. Pierron and Shea Levy.

Release 1.9 (2015-06-12)

In addition to the usual bug fixes, this release has the following new features:

  • Signed binary cache support. You can enable signature checking by adding the following to nix.conf:

    signed-binary-caches = *
    binary-cache-public-keys = cache.nixos.org-1:6NCHdD59X431o0gWypbMrAURkbJ16ZPMQFGspcDShjY=
    

    This will prevent Nix from downloading any binary from the cache that is not signed by one of the keys listed in binary-cache-public-keys.

    Signature checking is only supported if you built Nix with the libsodium package.

    Note that while Nix has had experimental support for signed binary caches since version 1.7, this release changes the signature format in a backwards-incompatible way.

  • Automatic downloading of Nix expression tarballs. In various places, you can now specify the URL of a tarball containing Nix expressions (such as Nixpkgs), which will be downloaded and unpacked automatically. For example:

    • In nix-env:

      $ nix-env -f https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs-channels/archive/nixos-14.12.tar.gz -iA firefox
      

      This installs Firefox from the latest tested and built revision of the NixOS 14.12 channel.

    • In nix-build and nix-shell:

      $ nix-build https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/archive/master.tar.gz -A hello
      

      This builds GNU Hello from the latest revision of the Nixpkgs master branch.

    • In the Nix search path (as specified via NIX_PATH or -I). For example, to start a shell containing the Pan package from a specific version of Nixpkgs:

      $ nix-shell -p pan -I nixpkgs=https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs-channels/archive/8a3eea054838b55aca962c3fbde9c83c102b8bf2.tar.gz
      
    • In nixos-rebuild (on NixOS):

      $ nixos-rebuild test -I nixpkgs=https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs-channels/archive/nixos-unstable.tar.gz
      
    • In Nix expressions, via the new builtin function fetchTarball:

      with import (fetchTarball https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs-channels/archive/nixos-14.12.tar.gz) {}; …
      

      (This is not allowed in restricted mode.)

  • nix-shell improvements:

    • nix-shell now has a flag --run to execute a command in the nix-shell environment, e.g. nix-shell --run make. This is like the existing --command flag, except that it uses a non-interactive shell (ensuring that hitting Ctrl-C won’t drop you into the child shell).

    • nix-shell can now be used as a #!-interpreter. This allows you to write scripts that dynamically fetch their own dependencies. For example, here is a Haskell script that, when invoked, first downloads GHC and the Haskell packages on which it depends:

      #! /usr/bin/env nix-shell
      #! nix-shell -i runghc -p haskellPackages.ghc haskellPackages.HTTP
      
      import Network.HTTP
      
      main = do
        resp <- Network.HTTP.simpleHTTP (getRequest "http://nixos.org/")
        body <- getResponseBody resp
        print (take 100 body)
      

      Of course, the dependencies are cached in the Nix store, so the second invocation of this script will be much faster.

  • Chroot improvements:

    • Chroot builds are now supported on Mac OS X (using its sandbox mechanism).

    • If chroots are enabled, they are now used for all derivations, including fixed-output derivations (such as fetchurl). The latter do have network access, but can no longer access the host filesystem. If you need the old behaviour, you can set the option build-use-chroot to relaxed.

    • On Linux, if chroots are enabled, builds are performed in a private PID namespace once again. (This functionality was lost in Nix 1.8.)

    • Store paths listed in build-chroot-dirs are now automatically expanded to their closure. For instance, if you want /nix/store/…-bash/bin/sh mounted in your chroot as /bin/sh, you only need to say build-chroot-dirs = /bin/sh=/nix/store/…-bash/bin/sh; it is no longer necessary to specify the dependencies of Bash.

  • The new derivation attribute passAsFile allows you to specify that the contents of derivation attributes should be passed via files rather than environment variables. This is useful if you need to pass very long strings that exceed the size limit of the environment. The Nixpkgs function writeTextFile uses this.

  • You can now use ~ in Nix file names to refer to your home directory, e.g. import ~/.nixpkgs/config.nix.

  • Nix has a new option restrict-eval that allows limiting what paths the Nix evaluator has access to. By passing --option restrict-eval true to Nix, the evaluator will throw an exception if an attempt is made to access any file outside of the Nix search path. This is primarily intended for Hydra to ensure that a Hydra jobset only refers to its declared inputs (and is therefore reproducible).

  • nix-env now only creates a new “generation” symlink in /nix/var/nix/profiles if something actually changed.

  • The environment variable NIX_PAGER can now be set to override PAGER. You can set it to cat to disable paging for Nix commands only.

  • Failing <...> lookups now show position information.

  • Improved Boehm GC use: we disabled scanning for interior pointers, which should reduce the “Repeated allocation of very large block” warnings and associated retention of memory.

This release has contributions from aszlig, Benjamin Staffin, Charles Strahan, Christian Theune, Daniel Hahler, Danylo Hlynskyi Daniel Peebles, Dan Peebles, Domen Kožar, Eelco Dolstra, Harald van Dijk, Hoang Xuan Phu, Jaka Hudoklin, Jeff Ramnani, j-keck, Linquize, Luca Bruno, Michael Merickel, Oliver Dunkl, Rob Vermaas, Rok Garbas, Shea Levy, Tobias Geerinckx-Rice and William A. Kennington III.

Release 1.8 (2014-12-14)

  • Breaking change: to address a race condition, the remote build hook mechanism now uses nix-store --serve on the remote machine. This requires build slaves to be updated to Nix 1.8.

  • Nix now uses HTTPS instead of HTTP to access the default binary cache, cache.nixos.org.

  • nix-env selectors are now regular expressions. For instance, you can do

    $ nix-env -qa '.*zip.*'
    

    to query all packages with a name containing zip.

  • nix-store --read-log can now fetch remote build logs. If a build log is not available locally, then ‘nix-store -l’ will now try to download it from the servers listed in the ‘log-servers’ option in nix.conf. For instance, if you have the configuration option

    log-servers = http://hydra.nixos.org/log
    

    then it will try to get logs from http://hydra.nixos.org/log/base name of the store path. This allows you to do things like:

    $ nix-store -l $(which xterm)
    

    and get a log even if xterm wasn't built locally.

  • New builtin functions: attrValues, deepSeq, fromJSON, readDir, seq.

  • nix-instantiate --eval now has a --json flag to print the resulting value in JSON format.

  • nix-copy-closure now uses nix-store --serve on the remote side to send or receive closures. This fixes a race condition between nix-copy-closure and the garbage collector.

  • Derivations can specify the new special attribute allowedRequisites, which has a similar meaning to allowedReferences. But instead of only enforcing to explicitly specify the immediate references, it requires the derivation to specify all the dependencies recursively (hence the name, requisites) that are used by the resulting output.

  • On Mac OS X, Nix now handles case collisions when importing closures from case-sensitive file systems. This is mostly useful for running NixOps on Mac OS X.

  • The Nix daemon has new configuration options allowed-users (specifying the users and groups that are allowed to connect to the daemon) and trusted-users (specifying the users and groups that can perform privileged operations like specifying untrusted binary caches).

  • The configuration option build-cores now defaults to the number of available CPU cores.

  • Build users are now used by default when Nix is invoked as root. This prevents builds from accidentally running as root.

  • Nix now includes systemd units and Upstart jobs.

  • Speed improvements to nix-store --optimise.

  • Language change: the == operator now ignores string contexts (the “dependencies” of a string).

  • Nix now filters out Nix-specific ANSI escape sequences on standard error. They are supposed to be invisible, but some terminals show them anyway.

  • Various commands now automatically pipe their output into the pager as specified by the PAGER environment variable.

  • Several improvements to reduce memory consumption in the evaluator.

This release has contributions from Adam Szkoda, Aristid Breitkreuz, Bob van der Linden, Charles Strahan, darealshinji, Eelco Dolstra, Gergely Risko, Joel Taylor, Ludovic Courtès, Marko Durkovic, Mikey Ariel, Paul Colomiets, Ricardo M. Correia, Ricky Elrod, Robert Helgesson, Rob Vermaas, Russell O'Connor, Shea Levy, Shell Turner, Sönke Hahn, Steve Purcell, Vladimír Čunát and Wout Mertens.

Release 1.7 (2014-04-11)

In addition to the usual bug fixes, this release has the following new features:

  • Antiquotation is now allowed inside of quoted attribute names (e.g. set."${foo}"). In the case where the attribute name is just a single antiquotation, the quotes can be dropped (e.g. the above example can be written set.${foo}). If an attribute name inside of a set declaration evaluates to null (e.g. { ${null} = false; }), then that attribute is not added to the set.

  • Experimental support for cryptographically signed binary caches. See the commit for details.

  • An experimental new substituter, download-via-ssh, that fetches binaries from remote machines via SSH. Specifying the flags --option use-ssh-substituter true --option ssh-substituter-hosts user@hostname will cause Nix to download binaries from the specified machine, if it has them.

  • nix-store -r and nix-build have a new flag, --check, that builds a previously built derivation again, and prints an error message if the output is not exactly the same. This helps to verify whether a derivation is truly deterministic. For example:

    $ nix-build '<nixpkgs>' -A patchelf
    …
    $ nix-build '<nixpkgs>' -A patchelf --check
    …
    error: derivation `/nix/store/1ipvxs…-patchelf-0.6' may not be deterministic:
      hash mismatch in output `/nix/store/4pc1dm…-patchelf-0.6.drv'
    
  • The nix-instantiate flags --eval-only and --parse-only have been renamed to --eval and --parse, respectively.

  • nix-instantiate, nix-build and nix-shell now have a flag --expr (or -E) that allows you to specify the expression to be evaluated as a command line argument. For instance, nix-instantiate --eval -E '1 + 2' will print 3.

  • nix-shell improvements:

    • It has a new flag, --packages (or -p), that sets up a build environment containing the specified packages from Nixpkgs. For example, the command

      $ nix-shell -p sqlite xorg.libX11 hello
      

      will start a shell in which the given packages are present.

    • It now uses shell.nix as the default expression, falling back to default.nix if the former doesn’t exist. This makes it convenient to have a shell.nix in your project to set up a nice development environment.

    • It evaluates the derivation attribute shellHook, if set. Since stdenv does not normally execute this hook, it allows you to do nix-shell-specific setup.

    • It preserves the user’s timezone setting.

  • In chroots, Nix now sets up a /dev containing only a minimal set of devices (such as /dev/null). Note that it only does this if you don’t have /dev listed in your build-chroot-dirs setting; otherwise, it will bind-mount the /dev from outside the chroot.

    Similarly, if you don’t have /dev/pts listed in build-chroot-dirs, Nix will mount a private devpts filesystem on the chroot’s /dev/pts.

  • New built-in function: builtins.toJSON, which returns a JSON representation of a value.

  • nix-env -q has a new flag --json to print a JSON representation of the installed or available packages.

  • nix-env now supports meta attributes with more complex values, such as attribute sets.

  • The -A flag now allows attribute names with dots in them, e.g.

    $ nix-instantiate --eval '<nixos>' -A 'config.systemd.units."nscd.service".text'
    
  • The --max-freed option to nix-store --gc now accepts a unit specifier. For example, nix-store --gc --max-freed 1G will free up to 1 gigabyte of disk space.

  • nix-collect-garbage has a new flag --delete-older-than Nd, which deletes all user environment generations older than N days. Likewise, nix-env --delete-generations accepts a Nd age limit.

  • Nix now heuristically detects whether a build failure was due to a disk-full condition. In that case, the build is not flagged as “permanently failed”. This is mostly useful for Hydra, which needs to distinguish between permanent and transient build failures.

  • There is a new symbol __curPos that expands to an attribute set containing its file name and line and column numbers, e.g. { file = "foo.nix"; line = 10; column = 5; }. There also is a new builtin function, unsafeGetAttrPos, that returns the position of an attribute. This is used by Nixpkgs to provide location information in error messages, e.g.

    $ nix-build '<nixpkgs>' -A libreoffice --argstr system x86_64-darwin
    error: the package ‘libreoffice-4.0.5.2’ in ‘.../applications/office/libreoffice/default.nix:263’
      is not supported on ‘x86_64-darwin’
    
  • The garbage collector is now more concurrent with other Nix processes because it releases certain locks earlier.

  • The binary tarball installer has been improved. You can now install Nix by running:

    $ bash <(curl -L https://nixos.org/nix/install)
    
  • More evaluation errors include position information. For instance, selecting a missing attribute will print something like

    error: attribute `nixUnstabl' missing, at /etc/nixos/configurations/misc/eelco/mandark.nix:216:15
    
  • The command nix-setuid-helper is gone.

  • Nix no longer uses Automake, but instead has a non-recursive, GNU Make-based build system.

  • All installed libraries now have the prefix libnix. In particular, this gets rid of libutil, which could clash with libraries with the same name from other packages.

  • Nix now requires a compiler that supports C++11.

This release has contributions from Danny Wilson, Domen Kožar, Eelco Dolstra, Ian-Woo Kim, Ludovic Courtès, Maxim Ivanov, Petr Rockai, Ricardo M. Correia and Shea Levy.

Release 1.6.1 (2013-10-28)

This is primarily a bug fix release. Changes of interest are:

  • Nix 1.6 accidentally changed the semantics of antiquoted paths in strings, such as "${/foo}/bar". This release reverts to the Nix 1.5.3 behaviour.

  • Previously, Nix optimised expressions such as "${expr}" to expr. Thus it neither checked whether expr could be coerced to a string, nor applied such coercions. This meant that "${123}" evaluatued to 123, and "${./foo}" evaluated to ./foo (even though "${./foo} " evaluates to "/nix/store/hash-foo "). Nix now checks the type of antiquoted expressions and applies coercions.

  • Nix now shows the exact position of undefined variables. In particular, undefined variable errors in a with previously didn't show any position information, so this makes it a lot easier to fix such errors.

  • Undefined variables are now treated consistently. Previously, the tryEval function would catch undefined variables inside a with but not outside. Now tryEval never catches undefined variables.

  • Bash completion in nix-shell now works correctly.

  • Stack traces are less verbose: they no longer show calls to builtin functions and only show a single line for each derivation on the call stack.

  • New built-in function: builtins.typeOf, which returns the type of its argument as a string.

Release 1.6 (2013-09-10)

In addition to the usual bug fixes, this release has several new features:

  • The command nix-build --run-env has been renamed to nix-shell.

  • nix-shell now sources $stdenv/setup inside the interactive shell, rather than in a parent shell. This ensures that shell functions defined by stdenv can be used in the interactive shell.

  • nix-shell has a new flag --pure to clear the environment, so you get an environment that more closely corresponds to the “real” Nix build.

  • nix-shell now sets the shell prompt (PS1) to ensure that Nix shells are distinguishable from your regular shells.

  • nix-env no longer requires a * argument to match all packages, so nix-env -qa is equivalent to nix-env -qa '*'.

  • nix-env -i has a new flag --remove-all (-r) to remove all previous packages from the profile. This makes it easier to do declarative package management similar to NixOS’s environment.systemPackages. For instance, if you have a specification my-packages.nix like this:

    with import <nixpkgs> {};
    [ thunderbird
      geeqie
      ...
    ]
    

    then after any change to this file, you can run:

    $ nix-env -f my-packages.nix -ir
    

    to update your profile to match the specification.

  • The ‘with’ language construct is now more lazy. It only evaluates its argument if a variable might actually refer to an attribute in the argument. For instance, this now works:

    let
      pkgs = with pkgs; { foo = "old"; bar = foo; } // overrides;
      overrides = { foo = "new"; };
    in pkgs.bar
    

    This evaluates to "new", while previously it gave an “infinite recursion” error.

  • Nix now has proper integer arithmetic operators. For instance, you can write x + y instead of builtins.add x y, or x < y instead of builtins.lessThan x y. The comparison operators also work on strings.

  • On 64-bit systems, Nix integers are now 64 bits rather than 32 bits.

  • When using the Nix daemon, the nix-daemon worker process now runs on the same CPU as the client, on systems that support setting CPU affinity. This gives a significant speedup on some systems.

  • If a stack overflow occurs in the Nix evaluator, you now get a proper error message (rather than “Segmentation fault”) on some systems.

  • In addition to directories, you can now bind-mount regular files in chroots through the (now misnamed) option build-chroot-dirs.

This release has contributions from Domen Kožar, Eelco Dolstra, Florian Friesdorf, Gergely Risko, Ivan Kozik, Ludovic Courtès and Shea Levy.

Release 1.5.2 (2013-05-13)

This is primarily a bug fix release. It has contributions from Eelco Dolstra, Lluís Batlle i Rossell and Shea Levy.

Release 1.5 (2013-02-27)

This is a brown paper bag release to fix a regression introduced by the hard link security fix in 1.4.

Release 1.4 (2013-02-26)

This release fixes a security bug in multi-user operation. It was possible for derivations to cause the mode of files outside of the Nix store to be changed to 444 (read-only but world-readable) by creating hard links to those files (details).

There are also the following improvements:

  • New built-in function: builtins.hashString.

  • Build logs are now stored in /nix/var/log/nix/drvs/XX/, where XX is the first two characters of the derivation. This is useful on machines that keep a lot of build logs (such as Hydra servers).

  • The function corepkgs/fetchurl can now make the downloaded file executable. This will allow getting rid of all bootstrap binaries in the Nixpkgs source tree.

  • Language change: The expression "${./path} ..." now evaluates to a string instead of a path.

Release 1.3 (2013-01-04)

This is primarily a bug fix release. When this version is first run on Linux, it removes any immutable bits from the Nix store and increases the schema version of the Nix store. (The previous release removed support for setting the immutable bit; this release clears any remaining immutable bits to make certain operations more efficient.)

This release has contributions from Eelco Dolstra and Stuart Pernsteiner.

Release 1.2 (2012-12-06)

This release has the following improvements and changes:

  • Nix has a new binary substituter mechanism: the binary cache. A binary cache contains pre-built binaries of Nix packages. Whenever Nix wants to build a missing Nix store path, it will check a set of binary caches to see if any of them has a pre-built binary of that path. The configuration setting binary-caches contains a list of URLs of binary caches. For instance, doing

    $ nix-env -i thunderbird --option binary-caches http://cache.nixos.org
    

    will install Thunderbird and its dependencies, using the available pre-built binaries in http://cache.nixos.org. The main advantage over the old “manifest”-based method of getting pre-built binaries is that you don’t have to worry about your manifest being in sync with the Nix expressions you’re installing from; i.e., you don’t need to run nix-pull to update your manifest. It’s also more scalable because you don’t need to redownload a giant manifest file every time.

    A Nix channel can provide a binary cache URL that will be used automatically if you subscribe to that channel. If you use the Nixpkgs or NixOS channels (http://nixos.org/channels) you automatically get the cache http://cache.nixos.org.

    Binary caches are created using nix-push. For details on the operation and format of binary caches, see the nix-push manpage. More details are provided in this nix-dev posting.

  • Multiple output support should now be usable. A derivation can declare that it wants to produce multiple store paths by saying something like

    outputs = [ "lib" "headers" "doc" ];
    

    This will cause Nix to pass the intended store path of each output to the builder through the environment variables lib, headers and doc. Other packages can refer to a specific output by referring to pkg.output, e.g.

    buildInputs = [ pkg.lib pkg.headers ];
    

    If you install a package with multiple outputs using nix-env, each output path will be symlinked into the user environment.

  • Dashes are now valid as part of identifiers and attribute names.

  • The new operation nix-store --repair-path allows corrupted or missing store paths to be repaired by redownloading them. nix-store --verify --check-contents --repair will scan and repair all paths in the Nix store. Similarly, nix-env, nix-build, nix-instantiate and nix-store --realise have a --repair flag to detect and fix bad paths by rebuilding or redownloading them.

  • Nix no longer sets the immutable bit on files in the Nix store. Instead, the recommended way to guard the Nix store against accidental modification on Linux is to make it a read-only bind mount, like this:

    $ mount --bind /nix/store /nix/store
    $ mount -o remount,ro,bind /nix/store
    

    Nix will automatically make /nix/store writable as needed (using a private mount namespace) to allow modifications.

  • Store optimisation (replacing identical files in the store with hard links) can now be done automatically every time a path is added to the store. This is enabled by setting the configuration option auto-optimise-store to true (disabled by default).

  • Nix now supports xz compression for NARs in addition to bzip2. It compresses about 30% better on typical archives and decompresses about twice as fast.

  • Basic Nix expression evaluation profiling: setting the environment variable NIX_COUNT_CALLS to 1 will cause Nix to print how many times each primop or function was executed.

  • New primops: concatLists, elem, elemAt and filter.

  • The command nix-copy-closure has a new flag --use-substitutes (-s) to download missing paths on the target machine using the substitute mechanism.

  • The command nix-worker has been renamed to nix-daemon. Support for running the Nix worker in “slave” mode has been removed.

  • The --help flag of every Nix command now invokes man.

  • Chroot builds are now supported on systemd machines.

This release has contributions from Eelco Dolstra, Florian Friesdorf, Mats Erik Andersson and Shea Levy.

Release 1.1 (2012-07-18)

This release has the following improvements:

  • On Linux, when doing a chroot build, Nix now uses various namespace features provided by the Linux kernel to improve build isolation. Namely:

    • The private network namespace ensures that builders cannot talk to the outside world (or vice versa): each build only sees a private loopback interface. This also means that two concurrent builds can listen on the same port (e.g. as part of a test) without conflicting with each other.

    • The PID namespace causes each build to start as PID 1. Processes outside of the chroot are not visible to those on the inside. On the other hand, processes inside the chroot are visible from the outside (though with different PIDs).

    • The IPC namespace prevents the builder from communicating with outside processes using SysV IPC mechanisms (shared memory, message queues, semaphores). It also ensures that all IPC objects are destroyed when the builder exits.

    • The UTS namespace ensures that builders see a hostname of localhost rather than the actual hostname.

    • The private mount namespace was already used by Nix to ensure that the bind-mounts used to set up the chroot are cleaned up automatically.

  • Build logs are now compressed using bzip2. The command nix-store -l decompresses them on the fly. This can be disabled by setting the option build-compress-log to false.

  • The creation of build logs in /nix/var/log/nix/drvs can be disabled by setting the new option build-keep-log to false. This is useful, for instance, for Hydra build machines.

  • Nix now reserves some space in /nix/var/nix/db/reserved to ensure that the garbage collector can run successfully if the disk is full. This is necessary because SQLite transactions fail if the disk is full.

  • Added a basic fetchurl function. This is not intended to replace the fetchurl in Nixpkgs, but is useful for bootstrapping; e.g., it will allow us to get rid of the bootstrap binaries in the Nixpkgs source tree and download them instead. You can use it by doing import <nix/fetchurl.nix> { url = url; sha256 = "hash"; }. (Shea Levy)

  • Improved RPM spec file. (Michel Alexandre Salim)

  • Support for on-demand socket-based activation in the Nix daemon with systemd.

  • Added a manpage for nix.conf5.

  • When using the Nix daemon, the -s flag in nix-env -qa is now much faster.

Release 1.0 (2012-05-11)

There have been numerous improvements and bug fixes since the previous release. Here are the most significant:

  • Nix can now optionally use the Boehm garbage collector. This significantly reduces the Nix evaluator’s memory footprint, especially when evaluating large NixOS system configurations. It can be enabled using the --enable-gc configure option.

  • Nix now uses SQLite for its database. This is faster and more flexible than the old ad hoc format. SQLite is also used to cache the manifests in /nix/var/nix/manifests, resulting in a significant speedup.

  • Nix now has an search path for expressions. The search path is set using the environment variable NIX_PATH and the -I command line option. In Nix expressions, paths between angle brackets are used to specify files that must be looked up in the search path. For instance, the expression <nixpkgs/default.nix> looks for a file nixpkgs/default.nix relative to every element in the search path.

  • The new command nix-build --run-env builds all dependencies of a derivation, then starts a shell in an environment containing all variables from the derivation. This is useful for reproducing the environment of a derivation for development.

  • The new command nix-store --verify-path verifies that the contents of a store path have not changed.

  • The new command nix-store --print-env prints out the environment of a derivation in a format that can be evaluated by a shell.

  • Attribute names can now be arbitrary strings. For instance, you can write { "foo-1.2" = …; "bla bla" = …; }."bla bla".

  • Attribute selection can now provide a default value using the or operator. For instance, the expression x.y.z or e evaluates to the attribute x.y.z if it exists, and e otherwise.

  • The right-hand side of the ? operator can now be an attribute path, e.g., attrs ? a.b.c.

  • On Linux, Nix will now make files in the Nix store immutable on filesystems that support it. This prevents accidental modification of files in the store by the root user.

  • Nix has preliminary support for derivations with multiple outputs. This is useful because it allows parts of a package to be deployed and garbage-collected separately. For instance, development parts of a package such as header files or static libraries would typically not be part of the closure of an application, resulting in reduced disk usage and installation time.

  • The Nix store garbage collector is faster and holds the global lock for a shorter amount of time.

  • The option --timeout (corresponding to the configuration setting build-timeout) allows you to set an absolute timeout on builds — if a build runs for more than the given number of seconds, it is terminated. This is useful for recovering automatically from builds that are stuck in an infinite loop but keep producing output, and for which --max-silent-time is ineffective.

  • Nix development has moved to GitHub (https://github.com/NixOS/nix).

Release 0.16 (2010-08-17)

This release has the following improvements:

  • The Nix expression evaluator is now much faster in most cases: typically, 3 to 8 times compared to the old implementation. It also uses less memory. It no longer depends on the ATerm library.

  • Support for configurable parallelism inside builders. Build scripts have always had the ability to perform multiple build actions in parallel (for instance, by running make -j 2), but this was not desirable because the number of actions to be performed in parallel was not configurable. Nix now has an option --cores N as well as a configuration setting build-cores = N that causes the environment variable NIX_BUILD_CORES to be set to N when the builder is invoked. The builder can use this at its discretion to perform a parallel build, e.g., by calling make -j N. In Nixpkgs, this can be enabled on a per-package basis by setting the derivation attribute enableParallelBuilding to true.

  • nix-store -q now supports XML output through the --xml flag.

  • Several bug fixes.

Release 0.15 (2010-03-17)

This is a bug-fix release. Among other things, it fixes building on Mac OS X (Snow Leopard), and improves the contents of /etc/passwd and /etc/group in chroot builds.

Release 0.14 (2010-02-04)

This release has the following improvements:

  • The garbage collector now starts deleting garbage much faster than before. It no longer determines liveness of all paths in the store, but does so on demand.

  • Added a new operation, nix-store --query --roots, that shows the garbage collector roots that directly or indirectly point to the given store paths.

  • Removed support for converting Berkeley DB-based Nix databases to the new schema.

  • Removed the --use-atime and --max-atime garbage collector options. They were not very useful in practice.

  • On Windows, Nix now requires Cygwin 1.7.x.

  • A few bug fixes.

Release 0.13 (2009-11-05)

This is primarily a bug fix release. It has some new features:

  • Syntactic sugar for writing nested attribute sets. Instead of

    {
      foo = {
        bar = 123;
        xyzzy = true;
      };
      a = { b = { c = "d"; }; };
    }
    

    you can write

    {
      foo.bar = 123;
      foo.xyzzy = true;
      a.b.c = "d";
    }
    

    This is useful, for instance, in NixOS configuration files.

  • Support for Nix channels generated by Hydra, the Nix-based continuous build system. (Hydra generates NAR archives on the fly, so the size and hash of these archives isn’t known in advance.)

  • Support i686-linux builds directly on x86_64-linux Nix installations. This is implemented using the personality() syscall, which causes uname to return i686 in child processes.

  • Various improvements to the chroot support. Building in a chroot works quite well now.

  • Nix no longer blocks if it tries to build a path and another process is already building the same path. Instead it tries to build another buildable path first. This improves parallelism.

  • Support for large (> 4 GiB) files in NAR archives.

  • Various (performance) improvements to the remote build mechanism.

  • New primops: builtins.addErrorContext (to add a string to stack traces — useful for debugging), builtins.isBool, builtins.isString, builtins.isInt, builtins.intersectAttrs.

  • OpenSolaris support (Sander van der Burg).

  • Stack traces are no longer displayed unless the --show-trace option is used.

  • The scoping rules for inherit (e) ... in recursive attribute sets have changed. The expression e can now refer to the attributes defined in the containing set.

Release 0.12 (2008-11-20)

  • Nix no longer uses Berkeley DB to store Nix store metadata. The principal advantages of the new storage scheme are: it works properly over decent implementations of NFS (allowing Nix stores to be shared between multiple machines); no recovery is needed when a Nix process crashes; no write access is needed for read-only operations; no more running out of Berkeley DB locks on certain operations.

    You still need to compile Nix with Berkeley DB support if you want Nix to automatically convert your old Nix store to the new schema. If you don’t need this, you can build Nix with the configure option --disable-old-db-compat.

    After the automatic conversion to the new schema, you can delete the old Berkeley DB files:

    $ cd /nix/var/nix/db
    $ rm __db* log.* derivers references referrers reserved validpaths DB_CONFIG
    

    The new metadata is stored in the directories /nix/var/nix/db/info and /nix/var/nix/db/referrer. Though the metadata is stored in human-readable plain-text files, they are not intended to be human-editable, as Nix is rather strict about the format.

    The new storage schema may or may not require less disk space than the Berkeley DB environment, mostly depending on the cluster size of your file system. With 1 KiB clusters (which seems to be the ext3 default nowadays) it usually takes up much less space.

  • There is a new substituter that copies paths directly from other (remote) Nix stores mounted somewhere in the filesystem. For instance, you can speed up an installation by mounting some remote Nix store that already has the packages in question via NFS or sshfs. The environment variable NIX_OTHER_STORES specifies the locations of the remote Nix directories, e.g. /mnt/remote-fs/nix.

  • New nix-store operations --dump-db and --load-db to dump and reload the Nix database.

  • The garbage collector has a number of new options to allow only some of the garbage to be deleted. The option --max-freed N tells the collector to stop after at least N bytes have been deleted. The option --max-links N tells it to stop after the link count on /nix/store has dropped below N. This is useful for very large Nix stores on filesystems with a 32000 subdirectories limit (like ext3). The option --use-atime causes store paths to be deleted in order of ascending last access time. This allows non-recently used stuff to be deleted. The option --max-atime time specifies an upper limit to the last accessed time of paths that may be deleted. For instance,

        $ nix-store --gc -v --max-atime $(date +%s -d "2 months ago")
    

    deletes everything that hasn’t been accessed in two months.

  • nix-env now uses optimistic profile locking when performing an operation like installing or upgrading, instead of setting an exclusive lock on the profile. This allows multiple nix-env -i / -u / -e operations on the same profile in parallel. If a nix-env operation sees at the end that the profile was changed in the meantime by another process, it will just restart. This is generally cheap because the build results are still in the Nix store.

  • The option --dry-run is now supported by nix-store -r and nix-build.

  • The information previously shown by --dry-run (i.e., which derivations will be built and which paths will be substituted) is now always shown by nix-env, nix-store -r and nix-build. The total download size of substitutable paths is now also shown. For instance, a build will show something like

    the following derivations will be built:
      /nix/store/129sbxnk5n466zg6r1qmq1xjv9zymyy7-activate-configuration.sh.drv
      /nix/store/7mzy971rdm8l566ch8hgxaf89x7lr7ik-upstart-jobs.drv
      ...
    the following paths will be downloaded/copied (30.02 MiB):
      /nix/store/4m8pvgy2dcjgppf5b4cj5l6wyshjhalj-samba-3.2.4
      /nix/store/7h1kwcj29ip8vk26rhmx6bfjraxp0g4l-libunwind-0.98.6
      ...
    
  • Language features:

    • @-patterns as in Haskell. For instance, in a function definition

      f = args @ {x, y, z}: ...;
      

      args refers to the argument as a whole, which is further pattern-matched against the attribute set pattern {x, y, z}.

    • ...” (ellipsis) patterns. An attribute set pattern can now say ... at the end of the attribute name list to specify that the function takes at least the listed attributes, while ignoring additional attributes. For instance,

      {stdenv, fetchurl, fuse, ...}: ...
      

      defines a function that accepts any attribute set that includes at least the three listed attributes.

    • New primops: builtins.parseDrvName (split a package name string like "nix-0.12pre12876" into its name and version components, e.g. "nix" and "0.12pre12876"), builtins.compareVersions (compare two version strings using the same algorithm that nix-env uses), builtins.length (efficiently compute the length of a list), builtins.mul (integer multiplication), builtins.div (integer division).

  • nix-prefetch-url now supports mirror:// URLs, provided that the environment variable NIXPKGS_ALL points at a Nixpkgs tree.

  • Removed the commands nix-pack-closure and nix-unpack-closure. You can do almost the same thing but much more efficiently by doing nix-store --export $(nix-store -qR paths) > closure and nix-store --import < closure.

  • Lots of bug fixes, including a big performance bug in the handling of with-expressions.

Release 0.11 (2007-12-31)

Nix 0.11 has many improvements over the previous stable release. The most important improvement is secure multi-user support. It also features many usability enhancements and language extensions, many of them prompted by NixOS, the purely functional Linux distribution based on Nix. Here is an (incomplete) list:

  • Secure multi-user support. A single Nix store can now be shared between multiple (possible untrusted) users. This is an important feature for NixOS, where it allows non-root users to install software. The old setuid method for sharing a store between multiple users has been removed. Details for setting up a multi-user store can be found in the manual.

  • The new command nix-copy-closure gives you an easy and efficient way to exchange software between machines. It copies the missing parts of the closure of a set of store path to or from a remote machine via ssh.

  • A new kind of string literal: strings between double single-quotes ('') have indentation “intelligently” removed. This allows large strings (such as shell scripts or configuration file fragments in NixOS) to cleanly follow the indentation of the surrounding expression. It also requires much less escaping, since '' is less common in most languages than ".

  • nix-env --set modifies the current generation of a profile so that it contains exactly the specified derivation, and nothing else. For example, nix-env -p /nix/var/nix/profiles/browser --set firefox lets the profile named browser contain just Firefox.

  • nix-env now maintains meta-information about installed packages in profiles. The meta-information is the contents of the meta attribute of derivations, such as description or homepage. The command nix-env -q --xml --meta shows all meta-information.

  • nix-env now uses the meta.priority attribute of derivations to resolve filename collisions between packages. Lower priority values denote a higher priority. For instance, the GCC wrapper package and the Binutils package in Nixpkgs both have a file bin/ld, so previously if you tried to install both you would get a collision. Now, on the other hand, the GCC wrapper declares a higher priority than Binutils, so the former’s bin/ld is symlinked in the user environment.

  • nix-env -i / -u: instead of breaking package ties by version, break them by priority and version number. That is, if there are multiple packages with the same name, then pick the package with the highest priority, and only use the version if there are multiple packages with the same priority.

    This makes it possible to mark specific versions/variant in Nixpkgs more or less desirable than others. A typical example would be a beta version of some package (e.g., gcc-4.2.0rc1) which should not be installed even though it is the highest version, except when it is explicitly selected (e.g., nix-env -i gcc-4.2.0rc1).

  • nix-env --set-flag allows meta attributes of installed packages to be modified. There are several attributes that can be usefully modified, because they affect the behaviour of nix-env or the user environment build script:

    • meta.priority can be changed to resolve filename clashes (see above).

    • meta.keep can be set to true to prevent the package from being upgraded or replaced. Useful if you want to hang on to an older version of a package.

    • meta.active can be set to false to “disable” the package. That is, no symlinks will be generated to the files of the package, but it remains part of the profile (so it won’t be garbage-collected). Set it back to true to re-enable the package.

  • nix-env -q now has a flag --prebuilt-only (-b) that causes nix-env to show only those derivations whose output is already in the Nix store or that can be substituted (i.e., downloaded from somewhere). In other words, it shows the packages that can be installed “quickly”, i.e., don’t need to be built from source. The -b flag is also available in nix-env -i and nix-env -u to filter out derivations for which no pre-built binary is available.

  • The new option --argstr (in nix-env, nix-instantiate and nix-build) is like --arg, except that the value is a string. For example, --argstr system i686-linux is equivalent to --arg system "i686-linux" (note that --argstr prevents annoying quoting around shell arguments).

  • nix-store has a new operation --read-log (-l) paths that shows the build log of the given paths.

  • Nix now uses Berkeley DB 4.5. The database is upgraded automatically, but you should be careful not to use old versions of Nix that still use Berkeley DB 4.4.

  • The option --max-silent-time (corresponding to the configuration setting build-max-silent-time) allows you to set a timeout on builds — if a build produces no output on stdout or stderr for the given number of seconds, it is terminated. This is useful for recovering automatically from builds that are stuck in an infinite loop.

  • nix-channel: each subscribed channel is its own attribute in the top-level expression generated for the channel. This allows disambiguation (e.g. nix-env -i -A nixpkgs_unstable.firefox).

  • The substitutes table has been removed from the database. This makes operations such as nix-pull and nix-channel --update much, much faster.

  • nix-pull now supports bzip2-compressed manifests. This speeds up channels.

  • nix-prefetch-url now has a limited form of caching. This is used by nix-channel to prevent unnecessary downloads when the channel hasn’t changed.

  • nix-prefetch-url now by default computes the SHA-256 hash of the file instead of the MD5 hash. In calls to fetchurl you should pass the sha256 attribute instead of md5. You can pass either a hexadecimal or a base-32 encoding of the hash.

  • Nix can now perform builds in an automatically generated “chroot”. This prevents a builder from accessing stuff outside of the Nix store, and thus helps ensure purity. This is an experimental feature.

  • The new command nix-store --optimise reduces Nix store disk space usage by finding identical files in the store and hard-linking them to each other. It typically reduces the size of the store by something like 25-35%.

  • ~/.nix-defexpr can now be a directory, in which case the Nix expressions in that directory are combined into an attribute set, with the file names used as the names of the attributes. The command nix-env --import (which set the ~/.nix-defexpr symlink) is removed.

  • Derivations can specify the new special attribute allowedReferences to enforce that the references in the output of a derivation are a subset of a declared set of paths. For example, if allowedReferences is an empty list, then the output must not have any references. This is used in NixOS to check that generated files such as initial ramdisks for booting Linux don’t have any dependencies.

  • The new attribute exportReferencesGraph allows builders access to the references graph of their inputs. This is used in NixOS for tasks such as generating ISO-9660 images that contain a Nix store populated with the closure of certain paths.

  • Fixed-output derivations (like fetchurl) can define the attribute impureEnvVars to allow external environment variables to be passed to builders. This is used in Nixpkgs to support proxy configuration, among other things.

  • Several new built-in functions: builtins.attrNames, builtins.filterSource, builtins.isAttrs, builtins.isFunction, builtins.listToAttrs, builtins.stringLength, builtins.sub, builtins.substring, throw, builtins.trace, builtins.readFile.

Release 0.10.1 (2006-10-11)

This release fixes two somewhat obscure bugs that occur when evaluating Nix expressions that are stored inside the Nix store (NIX-67). These do not affect most users.

Release 0.10 (2006-10-06)

Note

This version of Nix uses Berkeley DB 4.4 instead of 4.3. The database is upgraded automatically, but you should be careful not to use old versions of Nix that still use Berkeley DB 4.3. In particular, if you use a Nix installed through Nix, you should run

$ nix-store --clear-substitutes

first.

Warning

Also, the database schema has changed slighted to fix a performance issue (see below). When you run any Nix 0.10 command for the first time, the database will be upgraded automatically. This is irreversible.

  • nix-env usability improvements:

    • An option --compare-versions (or -c) has been added to nix-env --query to allow you to compare installed versions of packages to available versions, or vice versa. An easy way to see if you are up to date with what’s in your subscribed channels is nix-env -qc \*.

    • nix-env --query now takes as arguments a list of package names about which to show information, just like --install, etc.: for example, nix-env -q gcc. Note that to show all derivations, you need to specify \*.

    • nix-env -i pkgname will now install the highest available version of pkgname, rather than installing all available versions (which would probably give collisions) (NIX-31).

    • nix-env (-i|-u) --dry-run now shows exactly which missing paths will be built or substituted.

    • nix-env -qa --description shows human-readable descriptions of packages, provided that they have a meta.description attribute (which most packages in Nixpkgs don’t have yet).

  • New language features:

    • Reference scanning (which happens after each build) is much faster and takes a constant amount of memory.

    • String interpolation. Expressions like

      "--with-freetype2-library=" + freetype + "/lib"
      

      can now be written as

      "--with-freetype2-library=${freetype}/lib"
      

      You can write arbitrary expressions within ${...}, not just identifiers.

    • Multi-line string literals.

    • String concatenations can now involve derivations, as in the example "--with-freetype2-library=" + freetype + "/lib". This was not previously possible because we need to register that a derivation that uses such a string is dependent on freetype. The evaluator now properly propagates this information. Consequently, the subpath operator (~) has been deprecated.

    • Default values of function arguments can now refer to other function arguments; that is, all arguments are in scope in the default values (NIX-45).

    • Lots of new built-in primitives, such as functions for list manipulation and integer arithmetic. See the manual for a complete list. All primops are now available in the set builtins, allowing one to test for the availability of primop in a backwards-compatible way.

    • Real let-expressions: let x = ...; ... z = ...; in ....

  • New commands nix-pack-closure and nix-unpack-closure than can be used to easily transfer a store path with all its dependencies to another machine. Very convenient whenever you have some package on your machine and you want to copy it somewhere else.

  • XML support:

    • nix-env -q --xml prints the installed or available packages in an XML representation for easy processing by other tools.

    • nix-instantiate --eval-only --xml prints an XML representation of the resulting term. (The new flag --strict forces ‘deep’ evaluation of the result, i.e., list elements and attributes are evaluated recursively.)

    • In Nix expressions, the primop builtins.toXML converts a term to an XML representation. This is primarily useful for passing structured information to builders.

  • You can now unambiguously specify which derivation to build or install in nix-env, nix-instantiate and nix-build using the --attr / -A flags, which takes an attribute name as argument. (Unlike symbolic package names such as subversion-1.4.0, attribute names in an attribute set are unique.) For instance, a quick way to perform a test build of a package in Nixpkgs is nix-build pkgs/top-level/all-packages.nix -A foo. nix-env -q --attr shows the attribute names corresponding to each derivation.

  • If the top-level Nix expression used by nix-env, nix-instantiate or nix-build evaluates to a function whose arguments all have default values, the function will be called automatically. Also, the new command-line switch --arg name value can be used to specify function arguments on the command line.

  • nix-install-package --url URL allows a package to be installed directly from the given URL.

  • Nix now works behind an HTTP proxy server; just set the standard environment variables http_proxy, https_proxy, ftp_proxy or all_proxy appropriately. Functions such as fetchurl in Nixpkgs also respect these variables.

  • nix-build -o symlink allows the symlink to the build result to be named something other than result.

  • Platform support:

    • Support for 64-bit platforms, provided a suitably patched ATerm library is used. Also, files larger than 2 GiB are now supported.

    • Added support for Cygwin (Windows, i686-cygwin), Mac OS X on Intel (i686-darwin) and Linux on PowerPC (powerpc-linux).

    • Users of SMP and multicore machines will appreciate that the number of builds to be performed in parallel can now be specified in the configuration file in the build-max-jobs setting.

  • Garbage collector improvements:

    • Open files (such as running programs) are now used as roots of the garbage collector. This prevents programs that have been uninstalled from being garbage collected while they are still running. The script that detects these additional runtime roots (find-runtime-roots.pl) is inherently system-specific, but it should work on Linux and on all platforms that have the lsof utility.

    • nix-store --gc (a.k.a. nix-collect-garbage) prints out the number of bytes freed on standard output. nix-store --gc --print-dead shows how many bytes would be freed by an actual garbage collection.

    • nix-collect-garbage -d removes all old generations of all profiles before calling the actual garbage collector (nix-store --gc). This is an easy way to get rid of all old packages in the Nix store.

    • nix-store now has an operation --delete to delete specific paths from the Nix store. It won’t delete reachable (non-garbage) paths unless --ignore-liveness is specified.

  • Berkeley DB 4.4’s process registry feature is used to recover from crashed Nix processes.

  • A performance issue has been fixed with the referer table, which stores the inverse of the references table (i.e., it tells you what store paths refer to a given path). Maintaining this table could take a quadratic amount of time, as well as a quadratic amount of Berkeley DB log file space (in particular when running the garbage collector) (NIX-23).

  • Nix now catches the TERM and HUP signals in addition to the INT signal. So you can now do a killall nix-store without triggering a database recovery.

  • bsdiff updated to version 4.3.

  • Substantial performance improvements in expression evaluation and nix-env -qa, all thanks to Valgrind. Memory use has been reduced by a factor 8 or so. Big speedup by memoisation of path hashing.

  • Lots of bug fixes, notably:

    • Make sure that the garbage collector can run successfully when the disk is full (NIX-18).

    • nix-env now locks the profile to prevent races between concurrent nix-env operations on the same profile (NIX-7).

    • Removed misleading messages from nix-env -i (e.g., installing `foo' followed by uninstalling `foo') (NIX-17).

  • Nix source distributions are a lot smaller now since we no longer include a full copy of the Berkeley DB source distribution (but only the bits we need).

  • Header files are now installed so that external programs can use the Nix libraries.

Release 0.9.2 (2005-09-21)

This bug fix release fixes two problems on Mac OS X:

  • If Nix was linked against statically linked versions of the ATerm or Berkeley DB library, there would be dynamic link errors at runtime.

  • nix-pull and nix-push intermittently failed due to race conditions involving pipes and child processes with error messages such as open2: open(GLOB(0x180b2e4), >&=9) failed: Bad file descriptor at /nix/bin/nix-pull line 77 (issue NIX-14).

Release 0.9.1 (2005-09-20)

This bug fix release addresses a problem with the ATerm library when the --with-aterm flag in configure was not used.

Release 0.9 (2005-09-16)

NOTE: this version of Nix uses Berkeley DB 4.3 instead of 4.2. The database is upgraded automatically, but you should be careful not to use old versions of Nix that still use Berkeley DB 4.2. In particular, if you use a Nix installed through Nix, you should run

$ nix-store --clear-substitutes

first.

  • Unpacking of patch sequences is much faster now since we no longer do redundant unpacking and repacking of intermediate paths.

  • Nix now uses Berkeley DB 4.3.

  • The derivation primitive is lazier. Attributes of dependent derivations can mutually refer to each other (as long as there are no data dependencies on the outPath and drvPath attributes computed by derivation).

    For example, the expression derivation attrs now evaluates to (essentially)

    attrs // {
      type = "derivation";
      outPath = derivation! attrs;
      drvPath = derivation! attrs;
    }
    

    where derivation! is a primop that does the actual derivation instantiation (i.e., it does what derivation used to do). The advantage is that it allows commands such as nix-env -qa and nix-env -i to be much faster since they no longer need to instantiate all derivations, just the name attribute.

    Also, it allows derivations to cyclically reference each other, for example,

    webServer = derivation {
      ...
      hostName = "svn.cs.uu.nl";
      services = [svnService];
    };
     
    svnService = derivation {
      ...
      hostName = webServer.hostName;
    };
    

    Previously, this would yield a black hole (infinite recursion).

  • nix-build now defaults to using ./default.nix if no Nix expression is specified.

  • nix-instantiate, when applied to a Nix expression that evaluates to a function, will call the function automatically if all its arguments have defaults.

  • Nix now uses libtool to build dynamic libraries. This reduces the size of executables.

  • A new list concatenation operator ++. For example, [1 2 3] ++ [4 5 6] evaluates to [1 2 3 4 5 6].

  • Some currently undocumented primops to support low-level build management using Nix (i.e., using Nix as a Make replacement). See the commit messages for r3578 and r3580.

  • Various bug fixes and performance improvements.

Release 0.8.1 (2005-04-13)

This is a bug fix release.

  • Patch downloading was broken.

  • The garbage collector would not delete paths that had references from invalid (but substitutable) paths.

Release 0.8 (2005-04-11)

NOTE: the hashing scheme in Nix 0.8 changed (as detailed below). As a result, nix-pull manifests and channels built for Nix 0.7 and below will not work anymore. However, the Nix expression language has not changed, so you can still build from source. Also, existing user environments continue to work. Nix 0.8 will automatically upgrade the database schema of previous installations when it is first run.

If you get the error message

you have an old-style manifest `/nix/var/nix/manifests/[...]'; please
delete it

you should delete previously downloaded manifests:

$ rm /nix/var/nix/manifests/*

If nix-channel gives the error message

manifest `http://catamaran.labs.cs.uu.nl/dist/nix/channels/[channel]/MANIFEST'
is too old (i.e., for Nix <= 0.7)

then you should unsubscribe from the offending channel (nix-channel --remove URL; leave out /MANIFEST), and subscribe to the same URL, with channels replaced by channels-v3 (e.g., http://catamaran.labs.cs.uu.nl/dist/nix/channels-v3/nixpkgs-unstable).

Nix 0.8 has the following improvements:

  • The cryptographic hashes used in store paths are now 160 bits long, but encoded in base-32 so that they are still only 32 characters long (e.g., /nix/store/csw87wag8bqlqk7ipllbwypb14xainap-atk-1.9.0). (This is actually a 160 bit truncation of a SHA-256 hash.)

  • Big cleanups and simplifications of the basic store semantics. The notion of “closure store expressions” is gone (and so is the notion of “successors”); the file system references of a store path are now just stored in the database.

    For instance, given any store path, you can query its closure:

    $ nix-store -qR $(which firefox)
    ... lots of paths ...
    

    Also, Nix now remembers for each store path the derivation that built it (the “deriver”):

    $ nix-store -qR $(which firefox)
    /nix/store/4b0jx7vq80l9aqcnkszxhymsf1ffa5jd-firefox-1.0.1.drv
    

    So to see the build-time dependencies, you can do

    $ nix-store -qR $(nix-store -qd $(which firefox))
    

    or, in a nicer format:

    $ nix-store -q --tree $(nix-store -qd $(which firefox))
    

    File system references are also stored in reverse. For instance, you can query all paths that directly or indirectly use a certain Glibc:

    $ nix-store -q --referrers-closure \
        /nix/store/8lz9yc6zgmc0vlqmn2ipcpkjlmbi51vv-glibc-2.3.4
    
  • The concept of fixed-output derivations has been formalised. Previously, functions such as fetchurl in Nixpkgs used a hack (namely, explicitly specifying a store path hash) to prevent changes to, say, the URL of the file from propagating upwards through the dependency graph, causing rebuilds of everything. This can now be done cleanly by specifying the outputHash and outputHashAlgo attributes. Nix itself checks that the content of the output has the specified hash. (This is important for maintaining certain invariants necessary for future work on secure shared stores.)

  • One-click installation :-) It is now possible to install any top-level component in Nixpkgs directly, through the web — see, e.g., http://catamaran.labs.cs.uu.nl/dist/nixpkgs-0.8/. All you have to do is associate /nix/bin/nix-install-package with the MIME type application/nix-package (or the extension .nixpkg), and clicking on a package link will cause it to be installed, with all appropriate dependencies. If you just want to install some specific application, this is easier than subscribing to a channel.

  • nix-store -r PATHS now builds all the derivations PATHS in parallel. Previously it did them sequentially (though exploiting possible parallelism between subderivations). This is nice for build farms.

  • nix-channel has new operations --list and --remove.

  • New ways of installing components into user environments:

    • Copy from another user environment:

      $ nix-env -i --from-profile .../other-profile firefox
      
    • Install a store derivation directly (bypassing the Nix expression language entirely):

      $ nix-env -i /nix/store/z58v41v21xd3...-aterm-2.3.1.drv
      

      (This is used to implement nix-install-package, which is therefore immune to evolution in the Nix expression language.)

    • Install an already built store path directly:

      $ nix-env -i /nix/store/hsyj5pbn0d9i...-aterm-2.3.1
      
    • Install the result of a Nix expression specified as a command-line argument:

      $ nix-env -f .../i686-linux.nix -i -E 'x: x.firefoxWrapper'
      

      The difference with the normal installation mode is that -E does not use the name attributes of derivations. Therefore, this can be used to disambiguate multiple derivations with the same name.

  • A hash of the contents of a store path is now stored in the database after a successful build. This allows you to check whether store paths have been tampered with: nix-store --verify --check-contents.

  • Implemented a concurrent garbage collector. It is now always safe to run the garbage collector, even if other Nix operations are happening simultaneously.

    However, there can still be GC races if you use nix-instantiate and nix-store --realise directly to build things. To prevent races, use the --add-root flag of those commands.

  • The garbage collector now finally deletes paths in the right order (i.e., topologically sorted under the “references” relation), thus making it safe to interrupt the collector without risking a store that violates the closure invariant.

  • Likewise, the substitute mechanism now downloads files in the right order, thus preserving the closure invariant at all times.

  • The result of nix-build is now registered as a root of the garbage collector. If the ./result link is deleted, the GC root disappears automatically.

  • The behaviour of the garbage collector can be changed globally by setting options in /nix/etc/nix/nix.conf.

    • gc-keep-derivations specifies whether deriver links should be followed when searching for live paths.

    • gc-keep-outputs specifies whether outputs of derivations should be followed when searching for live paths.

    • env-keep-derivations specifies whether user environments should store the paths of derivations when they are added (thus keeping the derivations alive).

  • New nix-env query flags --drv-path and --out-path.

  • fetchurl allows SHA-1 and SHA-256 in addition to MD5. Just specify the attribute sha1 or sha256 instead of md5.

  • Manual updates.

Release 0.7 (2005-01-12)

  • Binary patching. When upgrading components using pre-built binaries (through nix-pull / nix-channel), Nix can automatically download and apply binary patches to already installed components instead of full downloads. Patching is “smart”: if there is a sequence of patches to an installed component, Nix will use it. Patches are currently generated automatically between Nixpkgs (pre-)releases.

  • Simplifications to the substitute mechanism.

  • Nix-pull now stores downloaded manifests in /nix/var/nix/manifests.

  • Metadata on files in the Nix store is canonicalised after builds: the last-modified timestamp is set to 0 (00:00:00 1/1/1970), the mode is set to 0444 or 0555 (readable and possibly executable by all; setuid/setgid bits are dropped), and the group is set to the default. This ensures that the result of a build and an installation through a substitute is the same; and that timestamp dependencies are revealed.

Release 0.6 (2004-11-14)

  • Rewrite of the normalisation engine.

    • Multiple builds can now be performed in parallel (option -j).

    • Distributed builds. Nix can now call a shell script to forward builds to Nix installations on remote machines, which may or may not be of the same platform type.

    • Option --fallback allows recovery from broken substitutes.

    • Option --keep-going causes building of other (unaffected) derivations to continue if one failed.

  • Improvements to the garbage collector (i.e., it should actually work now).

  • Setuid Nix installations allow a Nix store to be shared among multiple users.

  • Substitute registration is much faster now.

  • A utility nix-build to build a Nix expression and create a symlink to the result int the current directory; useful for testing Nix derivations.

  • Manual updates.

  • nix-env changes:

    • Derivations for other platforms are filtered out (which can be overridden using --system-filter).

    • --install by default now uninstall previous derivations with the same name.

    • --upgrade allows upgrading to a specific version.

    • New operation --delete-generations to remove profile generations (necessary for effective garbage collection).

    • Nicer output (sorted, columnised).

  • More sensible verbosity levels all around (builder output is now shown always, unless -Q is given).

  • Nix expression language changes:

    • New language construct: with E1; E2 brings all attributes defined in the attribute set E1 in scope in E2.

    • Added a map function.

    • Various new operators (e.g., string concatenation).

  • Expression evaluation is much faster.

  • An Emacs mode for editing Nix expressions (with syntax highlighting and indentation) has been added.

  • Many bug fixes.

Release 0.5 and earlier

Please refer to the Subversion commit log messages.