Mirror of GNU Guix
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\input texinfo
@c -*-texinfo-*-
@c %**start of header
@setfilename guix.info
@documentencoding UTF-8
@settitle GNU Guix Reference Manual
@c %**end of header
@include version.texi
Copyright @copyright{} 2012, 2013, 2014 Ludovic Courtès@*
Copyright @copyright{} 2013 Andreas Enge@*
Copyright @copyright{} 2013 Nikita Karetnikov
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or
any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no
Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A
copy of the license is included in the section entitled ``GNU Free
Documentation License''.
@end copying
@dircategory Package management
* guix: (guix). Guix, the functional package manager.
* guix package: (guix)Invoking guix package
Managing packages with Guix.
* guix build: (guix)Invoking guix build
Building packages with Guix.
@end direntry
@title GNU Guix Reference Manual
@subtitle Using the GNU Guix Functional Package Manager
@author Ludovic Courtès
@author Andreas Enge
@author Nikita Karetnikov
@vskip 0pt plus 1filll
Edition @value{EDITION} @*
@value{UPDATED} @*
@end titlepage
@c *********************************************************************
@node Top
@top GNU Guix
This document describes GNU Guix version @value{VERSION}, a functional
package management tool written for the GNU system.
* Introduction:: What is Guix about?
* Installation:: Installing Guix.
* Package Management:: Package installation, upgrade, etc.
* Programming Interface:: Using Guix in Scheme.
* Utilities:: Package management commands.
* GNU Distribution:: Software for your friendly GNU system.
* Contributing:: Your help needed!
* Acknowledgments:: Thanks!
* GNU Free Documentation License:: The license of this manual.
* Concept Index:: Concepts.
* Function Index:: Functions.
@end menu
@c *********************************************************************
@node Introduction
@chapter Introduction
GNU Guix@footnote{``Guix'' is pronounced like ``geeks'', or ``ɡiːks''
using the international phonetic alphabet (IPA).} is a functional
package management tool for the GNU system. Package management consists
of all activities that relate to building packages from sources,
honoring their build-time and run-time dependencies,
installing packages in user environments, upgrading installed packages
to new versions or rolling back to a previous set, removing unused
software packages, etc.
@cindex functional package management
The term @dfn{functional} refers to a specific package management
discipline. In Guix, the package build and installation process is seen
as a function, in the mathematical sense. That function takes inputs,
such as build scripts, a compiler, and libraries, and
returns an installed package. As a pure function, its result depends
solely on its inputs---for instance, it cannot refer to software or
scripts that were not explicitly passed as inputs. A build function
always produces the same result when passed a given set of inputs. It
cannot alter the system's environment in
any way; for instance, it cannot create, modify, or delete files outside
of its build and installation directories. This is achieved by running
build processes in isolated environments (or @dfn{containers}), where only their
explicit inputs are visible.
@cindex store
The result of package build functions is @dfn{cached} in the file
system, in a special directory called @dfn{the store} (@pxref{The
Store}). Each package is installed in a directory of its own, in the
store---by default under @file{/gnu/store}. The directory name contains
a hash of all the inputs used to build that package; thus, changing an
input yields a different directory name.
This approach is the foundation of Guix's salient features: support for
transactional package upgrade and rollback, per-user installation, and
garbage collection of packages (@pxref{Features}).
Guix has a command-line interface, which allows users to build, install,
upgrade, and remove packages, as well as a Scheme programming interface.
Last but not least, Guix is used to build a distribution of the GNU
system, with many GNU and non-GNU free software packages. @xref{GNU
@c *********************************************************************
@node Installation
@chapter Installation
GNU Guix is available for download from its website at
@url{http://www.gnu.org/software/guix/}. This section describes the
software requirements of Guix, as well as how to install it and get
ready to use it.
The build procedure for Guix is the same as for other GNU software, and
is not covered here. Please see the files @file{README} and
@file{INSTALL} in the Guix source tree for additional details.
* Requirements:: Software needed to build and run Guix.
* Setting Up the Daemon:: Preparing the build daemon's environment.
* Invoking guix-daemon:: Running the build daemon.
@end menu
@node Requirements
@section Requirements
GNU Guix depends on the following packages:
@item @url{http://gnu.org/software/guile/, GNU Guile}, version 2.0.5 or later;
@item @url{http://gnupg.org/, GNU libgcrypt}
@end itemize
Unless @code{--disable-daemon} was passed to @command{configure}, the
following packages are also needed:
@item @url{http://sqlite.org, SQLite 3}
@item @url{http://www.bzip.org, libbz2}
@item @url{http://gcc.gnu.org, GCC's g++}
@end itemize
When a working installation of @url{http://nixos.org/nix/, the Nix package
manager} is available, you
can instead configure Guix with @code{--disable-daemon}. In that case,
Nix replaces the three dependencies above.
Guix is compatible with Nix, so it is possible to share the same store
between both. To do so, you must pass @command{configure} not only the
same @code{--with-store-dir} value, but also the same
@code{--localstatedir} value. The latter is essential because it
specifies where the database that stores metadata about the store is
located, among other things. The default values for Nix are
@code{--with-store-dir=/nix/store} and @code{--localstatedir=/nix/var}.
Note that @code{--disable-daemon} is not required if
your goal is to share the store with Nix.
@node Setting Up the Daemon
@section Setting Up the Daemon
@cindex daemon
Operations such as building a package or running the garbage collector
are all performed by a specialized process, the @dfn{build daemon}, on
behalf of clients. Only the daemon may access the store and its
associated database. Thus, any operation that manipulates the store
goes through the daemon. For instance, command-line tools such as
@command{guix package} and @command{guix build} communicate with the
daemon (@i{via} remote procedure calls) to instruct it what to do.
The following sections explain how to prepare the build daemon's
* Build Environment Setup:: Preparing the isolated build environment.
* Daemon Offload Setup:: Offloading builds to remote machines.
@end menu
@node Build Environment Setup
@subsection Build Environment Setup
In a standard multi-user setup, Guix and its daemon---the
@command{guix-daemon} program---are installed by the system
administrator; @file{/gnu/store} is owned by @code{root} and
@command{guix-daemon} runs as @code{root}. Unprivileged users may use
Guix tools to build packages or otherwise access the store, and the
daemon will do it on their behalf, ensuring that the store is kept in a
consistent state, and allowing built packages to be shared among users.
@cindex build users
When @command{guix-daemon} runs as @code{root}, you may not want package
build processes themselves to run as @code{root} too, for obvious
security reasons. To avoid that, a special pool of @dfn{build users}
should be created for use by build processes started by the daemon.
These build users need not have a shell and a home directory: they will
just be used when the daemon drops @code{root} privileges in build
processes. Having several such users allows the daemon to launch
distinct build processes under separate UIDs, which guarantees that they
do not interfere with each other---an essential feature since builds are
regarded as pure functions (@pxref{Introduction}).
On a GNU/Linux system, a build user pool may be created like this (using
Bash syntax and the @code{shadow} commands):
@c See http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-guix/2013-01/msg00239.html
@c for why `-G' is needed.
# groupadd guix-builder
# for i in `seq 1 10`;
useradd -g guix-builder -G guix-builder \
-d /var/empty -s `which nologin` \
-c "Guix build user $i" --system \
@end example
The @code{guix-daemon} program may then be run as @code{root} with:
# guix-daemon --build-users-group=guix-builder
@end example
@cindex chroot
This way, the daemon starts build processes in a chroot, under one of
the @code{guix-builder} users. On GNU/Linux, by default, the chroot
environment contains nothing but:
@c Keep this list in sync with libstore/build.cc! -----------------------
a minimal @code{/dev} directory, created mostly independently from the
host @code{/dev}@footnote{``Mostly'', because while the set of files
that appear in the chroot's @code{/dev} is fixed, most of these files
can only be created if the host has them.};
the @code{/proc} directory; it only shows the container's processes
since a separate PID name space is used;
@file{/etc/passwd} with an entry for the current user and an entry for
user @file{nobody};
@file{/etc/group} with an entry for the user's group;
@file{/etc/hosts} with an entry that maps @code{localhost} to
a writable @file{/tmp} directory.
@end itemize
If you are installing Guix as an unprivileged user, it is still
possible to run @command{guix-daemon}. However, build processes will
not be isolated from one another, and not from the rest of the system.
Thus, build processes may interfere with each other, and may access
programs, libraries, and other files available on the system---making it
much harder to view them as @emph{pure} functions.
@node Daemon Offload Setup
@subsection Using the Offload Facility
@cindex offloading
@cindex build hook
When desired, the build daemon can @dfn{offload}
derivation builds to other machines
running Guix, using the @code{offload} @dfn{build hook}. When that
feature is enabled, a list of user-specified build machines is read from
@file{/etc/guix/machines.scm}; anytime a build is requested, for
instance via @code{guix build}, the daemon attempts to offload it to one
of the machines that satisfies the derivation's constraints, in
particular its system type---e.g., @file{x86_64-linux}. Missing
prerequisites for the build are copied over SSH to the target machine,
which then proceeds with the build; upon success the output(s) of the
build are copied back to the initial machine.
The @file{/etc/guix/machines.scm} file typically looks like this:
(list (build-machine
(name "eightysix.example.org")
(system "x86_64-linux")
(user "bob")
(speed 2.)) ; incredibly fast!
(name "meeps.example.org")
(system "mips64el-linux")
(user "alice")
(string-append (getenv "HOME")
@end example
In the example above we specify a list of two build machines, one for
the @code{x86_64} architecture and one for the @code{mips64el}
In fact, this file is---not surprisingly!---a Scheme file that is
evaluated when the @code{offload} hook is started. Its return value
must be a list of @code{build-machine} objects. While this example
shows a fixed list of build machines, one could imagine, say, using
DNS-SD to return a list of potential build machines discovered in the
local network (@pxref{Introduction, Guile-Avahi,, guile-avahi, Using
Avahi in Guile Scheme Programs}).
The compulsory fields for a @code{build-machine} declaration are:
@table @code
@item name
The remote machine's host name.
@item system
The remote machine's system type.
@item user
The user account to use when connecting to the remote machine over SSH.
Note that the SSH key pair must @emph{not} be passphrase-protected, to
allow non-interactive logins.
@end table
A number of optional fields may be specified:
@table @code
@item port
Port number of the machine's SSH server (default: 22).
@item private-key
The SSH private key file to use when connecting to the machine.
@item parallel-builds
The number of builds that may run in parallel on the machine (1 by
@item speed
A ``relative speed factor''. The offload scheduler will tend to prefer
machines with a higher speed factor.
@item features
A list of strings denoting specific features supported by the machine.
An example is @code{"kvm"} for machines that have the KVM Linux modules
and corresponding hardware support. Derivations can request features by
name, and they will be scheduled on matching build machines.
@end table
The @code{guix} command must be in the search path on the build
machines, since offloading works by invoking the @code{guix archive} and
@code{guix build} commands.
There's one last thing to do once @file{machines.scm} is in place. As
explained above, when offloading, files are transferred back and forth
between the machine stores. For this to work, you need to generate a
key pair to allow the daemon to export signed archives of files from the
store (@pxref{Invoking guix archive}):
# guix archive --generate-key
@end example
Thus, when receiving files, a machine's build daemon can make sure they
are genuine, have not been tampered with, and that they are signed by an
authorized key.
@node Invoking guix-daemon
@section Invoking @command{guix-daemon}
The @command{guix-daemon} program implements all the functionality to
access the store. This includes launching build processes, running the
garbage collector, querying the availability of a build result, etc. It
is normally run as @code{root} like this:
# guix-daemon --build-users-group=guix-builder
@end example
For details on how to set it up, @ref{Setting Up the Daemon}.
@cindex chroot
@cindex container, build environment
@cindex build environment
@cindex reproducible builds
By default, @command{guix-daemon} launches build processes under
different UIDs, taken from the build group specified with
@code{--build-users-group}. In addition, each build process is run in a
chroot environment that only contains the subset of the store that the
build process depends on, as specified by its derivation
(@pxref{Programming Interface, derivation}), plus a set of specific
system directories. By default, the latter contains @file{/dev} and
@file{/dev/pts}. Furthermore, on GNU/Linux, the build environment is a
@dfn{container}: in addition to having its own file system tree, it has
a separate mount name space, its own PID name space, network name space,
etc. This helps achieve reproducible builds (@pxref{Features}).
The following command-line options are supported:
@table @code
@item --build-users-group=@var{group}
Take users from @var{group} to run build processes (@pxref{Setting Up
the Daemon, build users}).
@item --no-substitutes
@cindex substitutes
Do not use substitutes for build products. That is, always build things
locally instead of allowing downloads of pre-built binaries
By default substitutes are used, unless the client---such as the
@command{guix package} command---is explicitly invoked with
When the daemon runs with @code{--no-substitutes}, clients can still
explicitly enable substitution @i{via} the @code{set-build-options}
remote procedure call (@pxref{The Store}).
@cindex build hook
@item --no-build-hook
Do not use the @dfn{build hook}.
The build hook is a helper program that the daemon can start and to
which it submits build requests. This mechanism is used to offload
builds to other machines (@pxref{Daemon Offload Setup}).
@item --cache-failures
Cache build failures. By default, only successful builds are cached.
@item --cores=@var{n}
@itemx -c @var{n}
Use @var{n} CPU cores to build each derivation; @code{0} means as many
as available.
The default value is @code{1}, but it may be overridden by clients, such
as the @code{--cores} option of @command{guix build} (@pxref{Invoking
guix build}).
The effect is to define the @code{NIX_BUILD_CORES} environment variable
in the build process, which can then use it to exploit internal
parallelism---for instance, by running @code{make -j$NIX_BUILD_CORES}.
@item --max-jobs=@var{n}
@itemx -M @var{n}
Allow at most @var{n} build jobs in parallel. The default value is
@item --debug
Produce debugging output.
This is useful to debug daemon start-up issues, but then it may be
overridden by clients, for example the @code{--verbosity} option of
@command{guix build} (@pxref{Invoking guix build}).
@item --chroot-directory=@var{dir}
Add @var{dir} to the build chroot.
Doing this may change the result of build processes---for instance if
they use optional dependencies found in @var{dir} when it is available,
and not otherwise. For that reason, it is not recommended to do so.
Instead, make sure that each derivation declares all the inputs that it
@item --disable-chroot
Disable chroot builds.
Using this option is not recommended since, again, it would allow build
processes to gain access to undeclared dependencies.
@item --disable-log-compression
Disable compression of the build logs.
Unless @code{--lose-logs} is used, all the build logs are kept in the
@var{localstatedir}. To save space, the daemon automatically compresses
them with bzip2 by default. This option disables that.
@item --disable-store-optimization
Disable automatic file ``deduplication'' in the store.
By default, files added to the store are automatically ``deduplicated'':
if a newly added file is identical as another one found in the store,
the daemon makes the new file a hard link to the other file. This
slightly increases the input/output load at the end of a build process.
This option disables this.
@item --gc-keep-outputs[=yes|no]
Tell whether the garbage collector (GC) must keep outputs of live
When set to ``yes'', the GC will keep the outputs of any live derivation
available in the store---the @code{.drv} files. The default is ``no'',
meaning that derivation outputs are kept only if they are GC roots.
@item --gc-keep-derivations[=yes|no]
Tell whether the garbage collector (GC) must keep derivations
corresponding to live outputs.
When set to ``yes'', as is the case by default, the GC keeps
derivations---i.e., @code{.drv} files---as long as at least one of their
outputs is live. This allows users to keep track of the origins of
items in their store. Setting it to ``no'' saves a bit of disk space.
Note that when both @code{--gc-keep-derivations} and
@code{--gc-keep-outputs} are used, the effect is to keep all the build
prerequisites (the sources, compiler, libraries, and other build-time
tools) of live objects in the store, regardless of whether these
prerequisites are live. This is convenient for developers since it
saves rebuilds or downloads.
@item --impersonate-linux-2.6
On Linux-based systems, impersonate Linux 2.6. This means that the
kernel's @code{uname} system call will report 2.6 as the release number.
This might be helpful to build programs that (usually wrongfully) depend
on the kernel version number.
@item --lose-logs
Do not keep build logs. By default they are kept under
@item --system=@var{system}
Assume @var{system} as the current system type. By default it is the
architecture/kernel pair found at configure time, such as
@item --listen=@var{socket}
Listen for connections on @var{socket}, the file name of a Unix-domain
socket. The default socket is
@file{@var{localstatedir}/daemon-socket/socket}. This option is only
useful in exceptional circumstances, such as if you need to run several
daemons on the same machine.
@end table
@c *********************************************************************
@node Package Management
@chapter Package Management
The purpose of GNU Guix is to allow users to easily install, upgrade, and
remove software packages, without having to know about their build
procedure or dependencies. Guix also goes beyond this obvious set of
This chapter describes the main features of Guix, as well as the package
management tools it provides.
* Features:: How Guix will make your life brighter.
* Invoking guix package:: Package installation, removal, etc.
* Substitutes:: Downloading pre-built binaries.
* Packages with Multiple Outputs:: Single source package, multiple outputs.
* Invoking guix gc:: Running the garbage collector.
* Invoking guix pull:: Fetching the latest Guix and distribution.
* Invoking guix archive:: Exporting and importing store files.
@end menu
@node Features
@section Features
When using Guix, each package ends up in the @dfn{package store}, in its
own directory---something that resembles
@file{/gnu/store/xxx-package-1.2}, where @code{xxx} is a base32 string.
Instead of referring to these directories, users have their own
@dfn{profile}, which points to the packages that they actually want to
use. These profiles are stored within each user's home directory, at
For example, @code{alice} installs GCC 4.7.2. As a result,
@file{/home/alice/.guix-profile/bin/gcc} points to
@file{/gnu/store/@dots{}-gcc-4.7.2/bin/gcc}. Now, on the same machine,
@code{bob} had already installed GCC 4.8.0. The profile of @code{bob}
simply continues to point to
@file{/gnu/store/@dots{}-gcc-4.8.0/bin/gcc}---i.e., both versions of GCC
coexist on the same system without any interference.
The @command{guix package} command is the central tool to manage
packages (@pxref{Invoking guix package}). It operates on those per-user
profiles, and can be used @emph{with normal user privileges}.
The command provides the obvious install, remove, and upgrade
operations. Each invocation is actually a @emph{transaction}: either
the specified operation succeeds, or nothing happens. Thus, if the
@command{guix package} process is terminated during the transaction,
or if a power outage occurs during the transaction, then the user's
profile remains in its previous state, and remains usable.
In addition, any package transaction may be @emph{rolled back}. So, if,
for example, an upgrade installs a new version of a package that turns
out to have a serious bug, users may roll back to the previous instance
of their profile, which was known to work well. Similarly, the global
system configuration is subject to transactional upgrades and roll-back
(@pxref{Using the Configuration System}).
All those packages in the package store may be @emph{garbage-collected}.
Guix can determine which packages are still referenced by the user
profiles, and remove those that are provably no longer referenced
(@pxref{Invoking guix gc}). Users may also explicitly remove old
generations of their profile so that the packages they refer to can be
@cindex reproducibility
@cindex reproducible builds
Finally, Guix takes a @dfn{purely functional} approach to package
management, as described in the introduction (@pxref{Introduction}).
Each @file{/gnu/store} package directory name contains a hash of all the
inputs that were used to build that package---compiler, libraries, build
scripts, etc. This direct correspondence allows users to make sure a
given package installation matches the current state of their
distribution. It also helps maximize @dfn{build reproducibility}:
thanks to the isolated build environments that are used, a given build
is likely to yield bit-identical files when performed on different
machines (@pxref{Invoking guix-daemon, container}).
@cindex substitutes
This foundation allows Guix to support @dfn{transparent binary/source
deployment}. When a pre-built binary for a @file{/gnu/store} item is
available from an external source---a @dfn{substitute}, Guix just
downloads it and unpacks it;
otherwise, it builds the package from source, locally
@node Invoking guix package
@section Invoking @command{guix package}
The @command{guix package} command is the tool that allows users to
install, upgrade, and remove packages, as well as rolling back to
previous configurations. It operates only on the user's own profile,
and works with normal user privileges (@pxref{Features}). Its syntax
guix package @var{options}
@end example
Primarily, @var{options} specifies the operations to be performed during
the transaction. Upon completion, a new profile is created, but
previous generations of the profile remain available, should the user
want to roll back.
For example, to remove @code{lua} and install @code{guile} and
@code{guile-cairo} in a single transaction:
guix package -r lua -i guile guile-cairo
@end example
For each user, a symlink to the user's default profile is automatically
created in @file{$HOME/.guix-profile}. This symlink always points to the
current generation of the user's default profile. Thus, users can add
@file{$HOME/.guix-profile/bin} to their @code{PATH} environment
variable, and so on.
In a multi-user setup, user profiles must be stored in a place
registered as a @dfn{garbage-collector root}, which
@file{$HOME/.guix-profile} points to (@pxref{Invoking guix gc}). That
directory is normally
@code{@var{localstatedir}/profiles/per-user/@var{user}}, where
@var{localstatedir} is the value passed to @code{configure} as
@code{--localstatedir}, and @var{user} is the user name. It must be
created by @code{root}, with @var{user} as the owner. When it does not
exist, or is not owned by @var{user}, @command{guix package} emits an
error about it.
The @var{options} can be among the following:
@table @code
@item --install=@var{package} @dots{}
@itemx -i @var{package} @dots{}
Install the specified @var{package}s.
Each @var{package} may specify either a simple package name, such as
@code{guile}, or a package name followed by a hyphen and version number,
such as @code{guile-1.8.8}. If no version number is specified, the
newest available version will be selected. In addition, @var{package}
may contain a colon, followed by the name of one of the outputs of the
package, as in @code{gcc:doc} or @code{binutils-2.22:lib}
(@pxref{Packages with Multiple Outputs}). Packages with a corresponding
name (and optionally version) are searched for among the GNU
distribution modules (@pxref{Package Modules}).
@cindex propagated inputs
Sometimes packages have @dfn{propagated inputs}: these are dependencies
that automatically get installed along with the required package.
An example is the GNU MPC library: its C header files refer to those of
the GNU MPFR library, which in turn refer to those of the GMP library.
Thus, when installing MPC, the MPFR and GMP libraries also get installed
in the profile; removing MPC also removes MPFR and GMP---unless they had
also been explicitly installed independently.
Besides, packages sometimes rely on the definition of environment
variables for their search paths (see explanation of
@code{--search-paths} below). Any missing or possibly incorrect
environment variable definitions are reported here.
@c XXX: keep me up-to-date
Finally, when installing a GNU package, the tool reports the
availability of a newer upstream version. In the future, it may provide
the option of installing directly from the upstream version, even if
that version is not yet in the distribution.
@item --install-from-expression=@var{exp}
@itemx -e @var{exp}
Install the package @var{exp} evaluates to.
@var{exp} must be a Scheme expression that evaluates to a
@code{<package>} object. This option is notably useful to disambiguate
between same-named variants of a package, with expressions such as
@code{(@@ (gnu packages base) guile-final)}.
Note that this option installs the first output of the specified
package, which may be insufficient when needing a specific output of a
multiple-output package.
@item --remove=@var{package} @dots{}
@itemx -r @var{package} @dots{}
Remove the specified @var{package}s.
As for @code{--install}, each @var{package} may specify a version number
and/or output name in addition to the package name. For instance,
@code{-r glibc:debug} would remove the @code{debug} output of
@item --upgrade[=@var{regexp} @dots{}]
@itemx -u [@var{regexp} @dots{}]
Upgrade all the installed packages. If one or more @var{regexp}s are
specified, upgrade only installed packages whose name matches a
Note that this upgrades package to the latest version of packages found
in the distribution currently installed. To update your distribution,
you should regularly run @command{guix pull} (@pxref{Invoking guix
@item --roll-back
Roll back to the previous @dfn{generation} of the profile---i.e., undo
the last transaction.
When combined with options such as @code{--install}, roll back occurs
before any other actions.
When rolling back from the first generation that actually contains
installed packages, the profile is made to point to the @dfn{zeroth
generation}, which contains no files apart from its own meta-data.
Installing, removing, or upgrading packages from a generation that has
been rolled back to overwrites previous future generations. Thus, the
history of a profile's generations is always linear.
@item --search-paths
@cindex search paths
Report environment variable definitions, in Bash syntax, that may be
needed in order to use the set of installed packages. These environment
variables are used to specify @dfn{search paths} for files used by some
of the installed packages.
For example, GCC needs the @code{CPATH} and @code{LIBRARY_PATH}
environment variables to be defined so it can look for headers and
libraries in the user's profile (@pxref{Environment Variables,,, gcc,
Using the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC)}). If GCC and, say, the C
library are installed in the profile, then @code{--search-paths} will
suggest setting these variables to @code{@var{profile}/include} and
@code{@var{profile}/lib}, respectively.
@item --profile=@var{profile}
@itemx -p @var{profile}
Use @var{profile} instead of the user's default profile.
@item --verbose
Produce verbose output. In particular, emit the environment's build log
on the standard error port.
@item --bootstrap
Use the bootstrap Guile to build the profile. This option is only
useful to distribution developers.
@end table
In addition to these actions @command{guix package} supports the
following options to query the current state of a profile, or the
availability of packages:
@table @option
@item --search=@var{regexp}
@itemx -s @var{regexp}
List the available packages whose synopsis or description matches
@var{regexp}. Print all the meta-data of matching packages in
@code{recutils} format (@pxref{Top, GNU recutils databases,, recutils,
GNU recutils manual}).
This allows specific fields to be extracted using the @command{recsel}
command, for instance:
$ guix package -s malloc | recsel -p name,version
name: glibc
version: 2.17
name: libgc
version: 7.2alpha6
@end example
@item --list-installed[=@var{regexp}]
@itemx -I [@var{regexp}]
List the currently installed packages in the specified profile, with the
most recently installed packages shown last. When @var{regexp} is
specified, list only installed packages whose name matches @var{regexp}.
For each installed package, print the following items, separated by
tabs: the package name, its version string, the part of the package that
is installed (for instance, @code{out} for the default output,
@code{include} for its headers, etc.), and the path of this package in
the store.
@item --list-available[=@var{regexp}]
@itemx -A [@var{regexp}]
List packages currently available in the software distribution
(@pxref{GNU Distribution}). When @var{regexp} is specified, list only
installed packages whose name matches @var{regexp}.
For each package, print the following items separated by tabs: its name,
its version string, the parts of the package (@pxref{Packages with
Multiple Outputs}), and the source location of its definition.
@item --list-generations[=@var{pattern}]
@itemx -l [@var{pattern}]
Return a list of generations along with their creation dates; for each
generation, show the installed packages, with the most recently
installed packages shown last. Note that the zeroth generation is never
For each installed package, print the following items, separated by
tabs: the name of a package, its version string, the part of the package
that is installed (@pxref{Packages with Multiple Outputs}), and the
location of this package in the store.
When @var{pattern} is used, the command returns only matching
generations. Valid patterns include:
@item @emph{Integers and comma-separated integers}. Both patterns denote
generation numbers. For instance, @code{--list-generations=1} returns
the first one.
And @code{--list-generations=1,8,2} outputs three generations in the
specified order. Neither spaces nor trailing commas are allowed.
@item @emph{Ranges}. @code{--list-generations=2..9} prints the
specified generations and everything in between. Note that the start of
a range must be lesser than its end.
It is also possible to omit the endpoint. For example,
@code{--list-generations=2..}, returns all generations starting from the
second one.
@item @emph{Durations}. You can also get the last @emph{N}@tie{}days, weeks,
or months by passing an integer along with the first letter of the
duration. For example, @code{--list-generations=20d} lists generations
that are up to 20 days old.
@end itemize
@item --delete-generations[=@var{pattern}]
@itemx -d [@var{pattern}]
When @var{pattern} is omitted, delete all generations except the current
This command accepts the same patterns as @option{--list-generations}.
When @var{pattern} is specified, delete the matching generations. When
@var{pattern} specifies a duration, generations @emph{older} than the
specified duration match. For instance, @code{--delete-generations=1m}
deletes generations that are more than one month old.
If the current generation matches, it is deleted atomically---i.e., by
switching to the previous available generation. Note that the zeroth
generation is never deleted.
Note that deleting generations prevents roll-back to them.
Consequently, this command must be used with care.
@end table
Finally, since @command{guix package} may actually start build
processes, it supports all the common build options that @command{guix
build} supports (@pxref{Invoking guix build, common build options}).
@node Substitutes
@section Substitutes
@cindex substitutes
@cindex pre-built binaries
Guix supports transparent source/binary deployment, which means that it
can either build things locally, or download pre-built items from a
server. We call these pre-built items @dfn{substitutes}---they are
substitutes for local build results. In many cases, downloading a
substitute is much faster than building things locally.
Substitutes can be anything resulting from a derivation build
(@pxref{Derivations}). Of course, in the common case, they are
pre-built package binaries, but source tarballs, for instance, which
also result from derivation builds, can be available as substitutes.
The @code{hydra.gnu.org} server is a front-end to a build farm that
builds packages from the GNU distribution continuously for some
architectures, and makes them available as substitutes.
@cindex security
@cindex digital signatures
To allow Guix to download substitutes from @code{hydra.gnu.org}, you
must add its public key to the access control list (ACL) of archive
imports, using the @command{guix archive} command (@pxref{Invoking guix
archive}). Doing so implies that you trust @code{hydra.gnu.org} to not
be compromised and to serve genuine substitutes.
This public key is installed along with Guix, in
@code{@var{prefix}/share/guix/hydra.gnu.org.pub}, where @var{prefix} is
the installation prefix of Guix. If you installed Guix from source,
make sure you checked the GPG signature of
@file{guix-@value{VERSION}.tar.gz}, which contains this public key file.
Then, you can run something like this:
# guix archive --authorize < hydra.gnu.org.pub
@end example
Once this is in place, the output of a command like @code{guix build}
should change from something like:
$ guix build emacs --dry-run
The following derivations would be built:
@end example
to something like:
$ guix build emacs --dry-run
The following files would be downloaded:
@end example
This indicates that substitutes from @code{hydra.gnu.org} are usable and
will be downloaded, when possible, for future builds.
Guix ignores substitutes that are not signed, or that are not signed by
one of the keys listed in the ACL. It also detects and raises an error
when attempting to use a substitute that has been tampered with.
The substitute mechanism can be disabled globally by running
@code{guix-daemon} with @code{--no-substitutes} (@pxref{Invoking
guix-daemon}). It can also be disabled temporarily by passing the
@code{--no-substitutes} option to @command{guix package}, @command{guix
build}, and other command-line tools.
Today, each individual's control over their own computing is at the
mercy of institutions, corporations, and groups with enough power and
determination to subvert the computing infrastructure and exploit its
weaknesses. While using @code{hydra.gnu.org} substitutes can be
convenient, we encourage users to also build on their own, or even run
their own build farm, such that @code{hydra.gnu.org} is less of an
interesting target.
Guix has the foundations to maximize build reproducibility
(@pxref{Features}). In most cases, independent builds of a given
package or derivation should yield bit-identical results. Thus, through
a diverse set of independent package builds, we can strengthen the
integrity of our systems.
In the future, we want Guix to have support to publish and retrieve
binaries to/from other users, in a peer-to-peer fashion. If you would
like to discuss this project, join us on @email{guix-devel@@gnu.org}.
@node Packages with Multiple Outputs
@section Packages with Multiple Outputs
@cindex multiple-output packages
@cindex package outputs
Often, packages defined in Guix have a single @dfn{output}---i.e., the
source package leads exactly one directory in the store. When running
@command{guix package -i glibc}, one installs the default output of the
GNU libc package; the default output is called @code{out}, but its name
can be omitted as shown in this command. In this particular case, the
default output of @code{glibc} contains all the C header files, shared
libraries, static libraries, Info documentation, and other supporting
Sometimes it is more appropriate to separate the various types of files
produced from a single source package into separate outputs. For
instance, the GLib C library (used by GTK+ and related packages)
installs more than 20 MiB of reference documentation as HTML pages.
To save space for users who do not need it, the documentation goes to a
separate output, called @code{doc}. To install the main GLib output,
which contains everything but the documentation, one would run:
guix package -i glib
@end example
The command to install its documentation is:
guix package -i glib:doc
@end example
Some packages install programs with different ``dependency footprints''.
For instance, the WordNet package install both command-line tools and
graphical user interfaces (GUIs). The former depend solely on the C
library, whereas the latter depend on Tcl/Tk and the underlying X
libraries. In this case, we leave the command-line tools in the default
output, whereas the GUIs are in a separate output. This allows users
who do not need the GUIs to save space.
There are several such multiple-output packages in the GNU distribution.
Other conventional output names include @code{lib} for libraries and
possibly header files, @code{bin} for stand-alone programs, and
@code{debug} for debugging information (@pxref{Installing Debugging
Files}). The outputs of a packages are listed in the third column of
the output of @command{guix package --list-available} (@pxref{Invoking
guix package}).
@node Invoking guix gc
@section Invoking @command{guix gc}
@cindex garbage collector
Packages that are installed but not used may be @dfn{garbage-collected}.
The @command{guix gc} command allows users to explicitly run the garbage
collector to reclaim space from the @file{/gnu/store} directory.
The garbage collector has a set of known @dfn{roots}: any file under
@file{/gnu/store} reachable from a root is considered @dfn{live} and
cannot be deleted; any other file is considered @dfn{dead} and may be
deleted. The set of garbage collector roots includes default user
profiles, and may be augmented with @command{guix build --root}, for
example (@pxref{Invoking guix build}).
Prior to running @code{guix gc --collect-garbage} to make space, it is
often useful to remove old generations from user profiles; that way, old
package builds referenced by those generations can be reclaimed. This
is achieved by running @code{guix package --delete-generations}
(@pxref{Invoking guix package}).
The @command{guix gc} command has three modes of operation: it can be
used to garbage-collect any dead files (the default), to delete specific
files (the @code{--delete} option), or to print garbage-collector
information. The available options are listed below:
@table @code
@item --collect-garbage[=@var{min}]
@itemx -C [@var{min}]
Collect garbage---i.e., unreachable @file{/gnu/store} files and
sub-directories. This is the default operation when no option is
When @var{min} is given, stop once @var{min} bytes have been collected.
@var{min} may be a number of bytes, or it may include a unit as a
suffix, such as @code{MiB} for mebibytes and @code{GB} for gigabytes.
When @var{min} is omitted, collect all the garbage.
@item --delete
@itemx -d
Attempt to delete all the store files and directories specified as
arguments. This fails if some of the files are not in the store, or if
they are still live.
@item --list-dead
Show the list of dead files and directories still present in the
store---i.e., files and directories no longer reachable from any root.
@item --list-live
Show the list of live store files and directories.
@end table
In addition, the references among existing store files can be queried:
@table @code
@item --references
@itemx --referrers
List the references (respectively, the referrers) of store files given
as arguments.
@item --requisites
@itemx -R
List the requisites of the store files passed as arguments. Requisites
include the store files themselves, their references, and the references
of these, recursively. In other words, the returned list is the
@dfn{transitive closure} of the store files.
@end table
@node Invoking guix pull
@section Invoking @command{guix pull}
Packages are installed or upgraded to the latest version available in
the distribution currently available on your local machine. To update
that distribution, along with the Guix tools, you must run @command{guix
pull}: the command downloads the latest Guix source code and package
descriptions, and deploys it.
On completion, @command{guix package} will use packages and package
versions from this just-retrieved copy of Guix. Not only that, but all
the Guix commands and Scheme modules will also be taken from that latest
version. New @command{guix} sub-commands added by the update also
become available.
The @command{guix pull} command is usually invoked with no arguments,
but it supports the following options:
@table @code
@item --verbose
Produce verbose output, writing build logs to the standard error output.
@item --url=@var{url}
Download the source tarball of Guix from @var{url}.
By default, the tarball is taken from its canonical address at
@code{gnu.org}, for the stable branch of Guix.
@item --bootstrap
Use the bootstrap Guile to build the latest Guix. This option is only
useful to Guix developers.
@end table
@node Invoking guix archive
@section Invoking @command{guix archive}
The @command{guix archive} command allows users to @dfn{export} files
from the store into a single archive, and to later @dfn{import} them.
In particular, it allows store files to be transferred from one machine
to another machine's store. For example, to transfer the @code{emacs}
package to a machine connected over SSH, one would run:
guix archive --export emacs | ssh the-machine guix archive --import
@end example
However, note that, in this example, all of @code{emacs} and its
dependencies are transferred, regardless of what is already available in
the target machine's store. The @code{--missing} option can help figure
out which items are missing from the target's store.
Archives are stored in the ``Nix archive'' or ``Nar'' format, which is
comparable in spirit to `tar', but with a few noteworthy differences
that make it more appropriate for our purposes. First, rather than
recording all Unix meta-data for each file, the Nar format only mentions
the file type (regular, directory, or symbolic link); Unix permissions
and owner/group are dismissed. Second, the order in which directory
entries are stored always follows the order of file names according to
the C locale collation order. This makes archive production fully
When exporting, the daemon digitally signs the contents of the archive,
and that digital signature is appended. When importing, the daemon
verifies the signature and rejects the import in case of an invalid
signature or if the signing key is not authorized.
@c FIXME: Add xref to daemon doc about signatures.
The main options are:
@table @code
@item --export
Export the specified store files or packages (see below.) Write the
resulting archive to the standard output.
@item --import
Read an archive from the standard input, and import the files listed
therein into the store. Abort if the archive has an invalid digital
signature, or if it is signed by a public key not among the authorized
keys (see @code{--authorize} below.)
@item --missing
Read a list of store file names from the standard input, one per line,
and write on the standard output the subset of these files missing from
the store.
@item --generate-key[=@var{parameters}]
@cindex signing, archives
Generate a new key pair for the daemons. This is a prerequisite before
archives can be exported with @code{--export}. Note that this operation
usually takes time, because it needs to gather enough entropy to
generate the key pair.
The generated key pair is typically stored under @file{/etc/guix}, in
@file{signing-key.pub} (public key) and @file{signing-key.sec} (private
key, which must be kept secret.) When @var{parameters} is omitted, it
is a 4096-bit RSA key. Alternately, @var{parameters} can specify
@code{genkey} parameters suitable for Libgcrypt (@pxref{General
public-key related Functions, @code{gcry_pk_genkey},, gcrypt, The
Libgcrypt Reference Manual}).
@item --authorize
@cindex authorizing, archives
Authorize imports signed by the public key passed on standard input.
The public key must be in ``s-expression advanced format''---i.e., the
same format as the @file{signing-key.pub} file.
The list of authorized keys is kept in the human-editable file
@file{/etc/guix/acl}. The file contains
@url{http://people.csail.mit.edu/rivest/Sexp.txt, ``advanced-format
s-expressions''} and is structured as an access-control list in the
@url{http://theworld.com/~cme/spki.txt, Simple Public-Key Infrastructure
@end table
To export store files as an archive to the standard output, run:
guix archive --export @var{options} @var{specifications}...
@end example
@var{specifications} may be either store file names or package
specifications, as for @command{guix package} (@pxref{Invoking guix
package}). For instance, the following command creates an archive
containing the @code{gui} output of the @code{git} package and the main
output of @code{emacs}:
guix archive --export git:gui /gnu/store/...-emacs-24.3 > great.nar
@end example
If the specified packages are not built yet, @command{guix archive}
automatically builds them. The build process may be controlled with the
same options that can be passed to the @command{guix build} command
(@pxref{Invoking guix build, common build options}).
@c *********************************************************************
@node Programming Interface
@chapter Programming Interface
GNU Guix provides several Scheme programming interfaces (APIs) to
define, build, and query packages. The first interface allows users to
write high-level package definitions. These definitions refer to
familiar packaging concepts, such as the name and version of a package,
its build system, and its dependencies. These definitions can then be
turned into concrete build actions.
Build actions are performed by the Guix daemon, on behalf of users. In a
standard setup, the daemon has write access to the store---the
@file{/gnu/store} directory---whereas users do not. The recommended
setup also has the daemon perform builds in chroots, under a specific
build users, to minimize interference with the rest of the system.
@cindex derivation
Lower-level APIs are available to interact with the daemon and the
store. To instruct the daemon to perform a build action, users actually
provide it with a @dfn{derivation}. A derivation is a low-level
representation of the build actions to be taken, and the environment in
which they should occur---derivations are to package definitions what
assembly is to C programs.
This chapter describes all these APIs in turn, starting from high-level
package definitions.
* Defining Packages:: Defining new packages.
* Build Systems:: Specifying how packages are built.
* The Store:: Manipulating the package store.
* Derivations:: Low-level interface to package derivations.
* The Store Monad:: Purely functional interface to the store.
* G-Expressions:: Manipulating build expressions.
@end menu
@node Defining Packages
@section Defining Packages
The high-level interface to package definitions is implemented in the
@code{(guix packages)} and @code{(guix build-system)} modules. As an
example, the package definition, or @dfn{recipe}, for the GNU Hello
package looks like this:
(define-module (gnu packages hello)
#:use-module (guix packages)
#:use-module (guix download)
#:use-module (guix build-system gnu)
#:use-module (guix licenses))
(define hello
(name "hello")
(version "2.8")
(source (origin
(method url-fetch)
(uri (string-append "mirror://gnu/hello/hello-" version
(base32 "0wqd8sjmxfskrflaxywc7gqw7sfawrfvdxd9skxawzfgyy0pzdz6"))))
(build-system gnu-build-system)
(arguments `(#:configure-flags '("--enable-silent-rules")))
(inputs `(("gawk" ,gawk)))
(synopsis "Hello, GNU world: An example GNU package")
(description "Guess what GNU Hello prints!")
(home-page "http://www.gnu.org/software/hello/")
(license gpl3+)))
@end example
Without being a Scheme expert, the reader may have guessed the meaning
of the various fields here. This expression binds variable @code{hello}
to a @code{<package>} object, which is essentially a record
(@pxref{SRFI-9, Scheme records,, guile, GNU Guile Reference Manual}).
This package object can be inspected using procedures found in the
@code{(guix packages)} module; for instance, @code{(package-name hello)}
In the example above, @var{hello} is defined into a module of its own,
@code{(gnu packages hello)}. Technically, this is not strictly
necessary, but it is convenient to do so: all the packages defined in
modules under @code{(gnu packages @dots{})} are automatically known to
the command-line tools (@pxref{Package Modules}).
There are a few points worth noting in the above package definition:
The @code{source} field of the package is an @code{<origin>} object.
Here, the @code{url-fetch} method from @code{(guix download)} is used,
meaning that the source is a file to be downloaded over FTP or HTTP.
The @code{mirror://gnu} prefix instructs @code{url-fetch} to use one of
the GNU mirrors defined in @code{(guix download)}.
The @code{sha256} field specifies the expected SHA256 hash of the file
being downloaded. It is mandatory, and allows Guix to check the
integrity of the file. The @code{(base32 @dots{})} form introduces the
base32 representation of the hash. You can obtain this information with
@code{guix download} (@pxref{Invoking guix download}) and @code{guix
hash} (@pxref{Invoking guix hash}).
@cindex patches
When needed, the @code{origin} form can also have a @code{patches} field
listing patches to be applied, and a @code{snippet} field giving a
Scheme expression to modify the source code.
@cindex GNU Build System
The @code{build-system} field specifies the procedure to build the
package (@pxref{Build Systems}). Here, @var{gnu-build-system}
represents the familiar GNU Build System, where packages may be
configured, built, and installed with the usual @code{./configure &&
make && make check && make install} command sequence.
The @code{arguments} field specifies options for the build system
(@pxref{Build Systems}). Here it is interpreted by
@var{gnu-build-system} as a request run @file{configure} with the
@code{--enable-silent-rules} flag.
The @code{inputs} field specifies inputs to the build process---i.e.,
build-time or run-time dependencies of the package. Here, we define an
input called @code{"gawk"} whose value is that of the @var{gawk}
variable; @var{gawk} is itself bound to a @code{<package>} object.
Note that GCC, Coreutils, Bash, and other essential tools do not need to
be specified as inputs here. Instead, @var{gnu-build-system} takes care
of ensuring that they are present (@pxref{Build Systems}).
However, any other dependencies need to be specified in the
@code{inputs} field. Any dependency not specified here will simply be
unavailable to the build process, possibly leading to a build failure.
@end itemize
Once a package definition is in place@footnote{Simple package
definitions like the one above may be automatically converted from the
Nixpkgs distribution using the @command{guix import} command.}, the
package may actually be built using the @code{guix build} command-line
tool (@pxref{Invoking guix build}). @xref{Packaging Guidelines}, for
more information on how to test package definitions.
Eventually, updating the package definition to a new upstream version
can be partly automated by the @command{guix refresh} command
(@pxref{Invoking guix refresh}).
Behind the scenes, a derivation corresponding to the @code{<package>}
object is first computed by the @code{package-derivation} procedure.
That derivation is stored in a @code{.drv} file under @file{/gnu/store}.
The build actions it prescribes may then be realized by using the
@code{build-derivations} procedure (@pxref{The Store}).
@deffn {Scheme Procedure} package-derivation @var{store} @var{package} [@var{system}]
Return the @code{<derivation>} object of @var{package} for @var{system}
@var{package} must be a valid @code{<package>} object, and @var{system}
must be a string denoting the target system type---e.g.,
@code{"x86_64-linux"} for an x86_64 Linux-based GNU system. @var{store}
must be a connection to the daemon, which operates on the store
(@pxref{The Store}).
@end deffn
@cindex cross-compilation
Similarly, it is possible to compute a derivation that cross-builds a
package for some other system:
@deffn {Scheme Procedure} package-cross-derivation @var{store} @
@var{package} @var{target} [@var{system}]
Return the @code{<derivation>} object of @var{package} cross-built from
@var{system} to @var{target}.
@var{target} must be a valid GNU triplet denoting the target hardware
and operating system, such as @code{"mips64el-linux-gnu"}
(@pxref{Configuration Names, GNU configuration triplets,, configure, GNU
Configure and Build System}).
@end deffn
@node Build Systems
@section Build Systems
@cindex build system
Each package definition specifies a @dfn{build system} and arguments for
that build system (@pxref{Defining Packages}). This @code{build-system}
field represents the build procedure of the package, as well implicit
dependencies of that build procedure.
Build systems are @code{<build-system>} objects. The interface to
create and manipulate them is provided by the @code{(guix build-system)}
module, and actual build systems are exported by specific modules.
Build systems accept an optional list of @dfn{arguments}. In package
definitions, these are passed @i{via} the @code{arguments} field
(@pxref{Defining Packages}). They are typically keyword arguments
(@pxref{Optional Arguments, keyword arguments in Guile,, guile, GNU
Guile Reference Manual}). The value of these arguments is usually
evaluated in the @dfn{build stratum}---i.e., by a Guile process launched
by the daemon (@pxref{Derivations}).
The main build system is @var{gnu-build-system}, which implements the
standard build procedure for GNU packages and many other packages. It
is provided by the @code{(guix build-system gnu)} module.
@defvr {Scheme Variable} gnu-build-system
@var{gnu-build-system} represents the GNU Build System, and variants
thereof (@pxref{Configuration, configuration and makefile conventions,,
standards, GNU Coding Standards}).
@cindex build phases
In a nutshell, packages using it configured, built, and installed with
the usual @code{./configure && make && make check && make install}
command sequence. In practice, a few additional steps are often needed.
All these steps are split up in separate @dfn{phases},
notably@footnote{Please see the @code{(guix build gnu-build-system)}
modules for more details about the build phases.}:
@table @code
@item unpack
Unpack the source tarball, and change the current directory to the
extracted source tree. If the source is actually a directory, copy it
to the build tree, and enter that directory.
@item patch-source-shebangs
Patch shebangs encountered in source files so they refer to the right
store file names. For instance, this changes @code{#!/bin/sh} to
@item configure
Run the @file{configure} script with a number of default options, such
as @code{--prefix=/gnu/store/@dots{}}, as well as the options specified
by the @code{#:configure-flags} argument.
@item build
Run @code{make} with the list of flags specified with
@code{#:make-flags}. If the @code{#:parallel-builds?} argument is true
(the default), build with @code{make -j}.
@item check
Run @code{make check}, or some other target specified with
@code{#:test-target}, unless @code{#:tests? #f} is passed. If the
@code{#:parallel-tests?} argument is true (the default), run @code{make
check -j}.
@item install
Run @code{make install} with the flags listed in @code{#:make-flags}.
@item patch-shebangs
Patch shebangs on the installed executable files.
@item strip
Strip debugging symbols from ELF files (unless @code{#:strip-binaries?}
is false), copying them to the @code{debug} output when available
(@pxref{Installing Debugging Files}).
@end table
@vindex %standard-phases
The build-side module @code{(guix build gnu-build-system)} defines
@var{%standard-phases} as the default list of build phases.
@var{%standard-phases} is a list of symbol/procedure pairs, where the
procedure implements the actual phase.
The list of phases used for a particular package can be changed with the
@code{#:phases} parameter. For instance, passing:
#:phases (alist-delete 'configure %standard-phases)
@end example
means that all the phases described above will be used, except the
@code{configure} phase.
In addition, this build system ensures that the ``standard'' environment
for GNU packages is available. This includes tools such as GCC, libc,
Coreutils, Bash, Make, Diffutils, grep, and sed (see the @code{(guix
build-system gnu)} module for a complete list.) We call these the
@dfn{implicit inputs} of a package, because package definitions don't
have to mention them.
@end defvr
Other @code{<build-system>} objects are defined to support other
conventions and tools used by free software packages. They inherit most
of @var{gnu-build-system}, and differ mainly in the set of inputs
implicitly added to the build process, and in the list of phases
executed. Some of these build systems are listed below.
@defvr {Scheme Variable} cmake-build-system
This variable is exported by @code{(guix build-system cmake)}. It
implements the build procedure for packages using the
@url{http://www.cmake.org, CMake build tool}.
It automatically adds the @code{cmake} package to the set of inputs.
Which package is used can be specified with the @code{#:cmake}
@end defvr
@defvr {Scheme Variable} python-build-system
This variable is exported by @code{(guix build-system python)}. It
implements the more or less standard build procedure used by Python
packages, which consists in running @code{python setup.py build} and
then @code{python setup.py install --prefix=/gnu/store/@dots{}}.
For packages that install stand-alone Python programs under @code{bin/},
it takes care of wrapping these programs so their @code{PYTHONPATH}
environment variable points to all the Python libraries they depend on.
Which Python package is used can be specified with the @code{#:python}
@end defvr
@defvr {Scheme Variable} perl-build-system
This variable is exported by @code{(guix build-system perl)}. It
implements the standard build procedure for Perl packages, which
consists in running @code{perl Makefile.PL PREFIX=/gnu/store/@dots{}},
followed by @code{make} and @code{make install}.
The initial @code{perl Makefile.PL} invocation passes flags specified by
the @code{#:make-maker-flags} parameter.
Which Perl package is used can be specified with @code{#:perl}.
@end defvr
Lastly, for packages that do not need anything as sophisticated, a
``trivial'' build system is provided. It is trivial in the sense that
it provides basically no support: it does not pull any implicit inputs,
and does not have a notion of build phases.
@defvr {Scheme Variable} trivial-build-system
This variable is exported by @code{(guix build-system trivial)}.
This build system requires a @code{#:builder} argument. This argument
must be a Scheme expression that builds the package's output(s)---as
with @code{build-expression->derivation} (@pxref{Derivations,
@end defvr
@node The Store
@section The Store
@cindex store
@cindex store paths
Conceptually, the @dfn{store} is where derivations that have been
successfully built are stored---by default, under @file{/gnu/store}.
Sub-directories in the store are referred to as @dfn{store paths}. The
store has an associated database that contains information such has the
store paths referred to by each store path, and the list of @emph{valid}
store paths---paths that result from a successful build.
The store is always accessed by the daemon on behalf of its clients
(@pxref{Invoking guix-daemon}). To manipulate the store, clients
connect to the daemon over a Unix-domain socket, send it requests, and
read the result---these are remote procedure calls, or RPCs.
The @code{(guix store)} module provides procedures to connect to the
daemon, and to perform RPCs. These are described below.
@deffn {Scheme Procedure} open-connection [@var{file}] [#:reserve-space? #t]
Connect to the daemon over the Unix-domain socket at @var{file}. When
@var{reserve-space?} is true, instruct it to reserve a little bit of
extra space on the file system so that the garbage collector can still
operate, should the disk become full. Return a server object.
@var{file} defaults to @var{%default-socket-path}, which is the normal
location given the options that were passed to @command{configure}.
@end deffn
@deffn {Scheme Procedure} close-connection @var{server}
Close the connection to @var{server}.
@end deffn
@defvr {Scheme Variable} current-build-output-port
This variable is bound to a SRFI-39 parameter, which refers to the port
where build and error logs sent by the daemon should be written.
@end defvr
Procedures that make RPCs all take a server object as their first
@deffn {Scheme Procedure} valid-path? @var{server} @var{path}
Return @code{#t} when @var{path} is a valid store path.
@end deffn
@deffn {Scheme Procedure} add-text-to-store @var{server} @var{name} @var{text} [@var{references}]
Add @var{text} under file @var{name} in the store, and return its store
path. @var{references} is the list of store paths referred to by the
resulting store path.
@end deffn
@deffn {Scheme Procedure} build-derivations @var{server} @var{derivations}
Build @var{derivations} (a list of @code{<derivation>} objects or
derivation paths), and return when the worker is done building them.
Return @code{#t} on success.
@end deffn
Note that the @code{(guix monads)} module provides a monad as well as
monadic versions of the above procedures, with the goal of making it
more convenient to work with code that accesses the store (@pxref{The
Store Monad}).
@i{This section is currently incomplete.}
@node Derivations
@section Derivations
@cindex derivations
Low-level build actions and the environment in which they are performed
are represented by @dfn{derivations}. A derivation contain the
following pieces of information:
The outputs of the derivation---derivations produce at least one file or
directory in the store, but may produce more.
The inputs of the derivations, which may be other derivations or plain
files in the store (patches, build scripts, etc.)
The system type targeted by the derivation---e.g., @code{x86_64-linux}.
The file name of a build script in the store, along with the arguments
to be passed.
A list of environment variables to be defined.
@end itemize
@cindex derivation path
Derivations allow clients of the daemon to communicate build actions to
the store. They exist in two forms: as an in-memory representation,
both on the client- and daemon-side, and as files in the store whose
name end in @code{.drv}---these files are referred to as @dfn{derivation
paths}. Derivations paths can be passed to the @code{build-derivations}
procedure to perform the build actions they prescribe (@pxref{The
The @code{(guix derivations)} module provides a representation of
derivations as Scheme objects, along with procedures to create and
otherwise manipulate derivations. The lowest-level primitive to create
a derivation is the @code{derivation} procedure:
@deffn {Scheme Procedure} derivation @var{store} @var{name} @var{builder} @
@var{args} [#:outputs '("out")] [#:hash #f] [#:hash-algo #f] @
[#:recursive? #f] [#:inputs '()] [#:env-vars '()] @
[#:system (%current-system)] [#:references-graphs #f] @
[#:local-build? #f]
Build a derivation with the given arguments, and return the resulting
@code{<derivation>} object.
When @var{hash} and @var{hash-algo} are given, a
@dfn{fixed-output derivation} is created---i.e., one whose result is
known in advance, such as a file download. If, in addition,
@var{recursive?} is true, then that fixed output may be an executable
file or a directory and @var{hash} must be the hash of an archive
containing this output.
When @var{references-graphs} is true, it must be a list of file
name/store path pairs. In that case, the reference graph of each store
path is exported in the build environment in the corresponding file, in
a simple text format.
When @var{local-build?} is true, declare that the derivation is not a
good candidate for offloading and should rather be built locally
(@pxref{Daemon Offload Setup}). This is the case for small derivations
where the costs of data transfers would outweigh the benefits.
@end deffn
Here's an example with a shell script as its builder, assuming
@var{store} is an open connection to the daemon, and @var{bash} points
to a Bash executable in the store:
(use-modules (guix utils)
(guix store)
(guix derivations))
(let ((builder ; add the Bash script to the store
(add-text-to-store store "my-builder.sh"
"echo hello world > $out\n" '())))
(derivation store "foo"
bash `("-e" ,builder)
#:inputs `((,bash) (,builder))
#:env-vars '(("HOME" . "/homeless"))))
@result{} #<derivation /gnu/store/@dots{}-foo.drv => /gnu/store/@dots{}-foo>
@end lisp
As can be guessed, this primitive is cumbersome to use directly. A
better approach is to write build scripts in Scheme, of course! The
best course of action for that is to write the build code as a
``G-expression'', and to pass it to @code{gexp->derivation}. For more
information, @ref{G-Expressions}.
Once upon a time, @code{gexp->derivation} did not exist and constructing
derivations with build code written in Scheme was achieved with
@code{build-expression->derivation}, documented below. This procedure
is now deprecated in favor of the much nicer @code{gexp->derivation}.
@deffn {Scheme Procedure} build-expression->derivation @var{store} @
@var{name} @var{exp} @
[#:system (%current-system)] [#:inputs '()] @
[#:outputs '("out")] [#:hash #f] [#:hash-algo #f] @
[#:recursive? #f] [#:env-vars '()] [#:modules '()] @
[#:references-graphs #f] [#:local-build? #f] [#:guile-for-build #f]
Return a derivation that executes Scheme expression @var{exp} as a
builder for derivation @var{name}. @var{inputs} must be a list of
@code{(name drv-path sub-drv)} tuples; when @var{sub-drv} is omitted,
@code{"out"} is assumed. @var{modules} is a list of names of Guile
modules from the current search path to be copied in the store,
compiled, and made available in the load path during the execution of
@var{exp}---e.g., @code{((guix build utils) (guix build
@var{exp} is evaluated in an environment where @code{%outputs} is bound
to a list of output/path pairs, and where @code{%build-inputs} is bound
to a list of string/output-path pairs made from @var{inputs}.
Optionally, @var{env-vars} is a list of string pairs specifying the name
and value of environment variables visible to the builder. The builder
terminates by passing the result of @var{exp} to @code{exit}; thus, when
@var{exp} returns @code{#f}, the build is considered to have failed.
@var{exp} is built using @var{guile-for-build} (a derivation). When
@var{guile-for-build} is omitted or is @code{#f}, the value of the
@code{%guile-for-build} fluid is used instead.
See the @code{derivation} procedure for the meaning of @var{references-graphs}
and @var{local-build?}.
@end deffn
Here's an example of a single-output derivation that creates a directory
containing one file:
(let ((builder '(let ((out (assoc-ref %outputs "out")))
(mkdir out) ; create /gnu/store/@dots{}-goo
(call-with-output-file (string-append out "/test")
(lambda (p)
(display '(hello guix) p))))))
(build-expression->derivation store "goo" builder))
@result{} #<derivation /gnu/store/@dots{}-goo.drv => @dots{}>
@end lisp
@node The Store Monad
@section The Store Monad
@cindex monad
The procedures that operate on the store described in the previous
sections all take an open connection to the build daemon as their first
argument. Although the underlying model is functional, they either have
side effects or depend on the current state of the store.
The former is inconvenient: the connection to the build daemon has to be
carried around in all those functions, making it impossible to compose
functions that do not take that parameter with functions that do. The
latter can be problematic: since store operations have side effects
and/or depend on external state, they have to be properly sequenced.
@cindex monadic values
@cindex monadic functions
This is where the @code{(guix monads)} module comes in. This module
provides a framework for working with @dfn{monads}, and a particularly
useful monad for our uses, the @dfn{store monad}. Monads are a
construct that allows two things: associating ``context'' with values
(in our case, the context is the store), and building sequences of
computations (here computations includes accesses to the store.) Values
in a monad---values that carry this additional context---are called
@dfn{monadic values}; procedures that return such values are called
@dfn{monadic procedures}.
Consider this ``normal'' procedure:
(define (sh-symlink store)
;; Return a derivation that symlinks the 'bash' executable.
(let* ((drv (package-derivation store bash))
(out (derivation->output-path drv))
(sh (string-append out "/bin/bash")))
(build-expression->derivation store "sh"
`(symlink ,sh %output))))
@end example
Using @code{(guix monads)}, it may be rewritten as a monadic function:
(define (sh-symlink)
;; Same, but return a monadic value.
(mlet %store-monad ((sh (package-file bash "bin")))
(derivation-expression "sh" `(symlink ,sh %output))))
@end example
There are two things to note in the second version: the @code{store}
parameter is now implicit, and the monadic value returned by
@code{package-file}---a wrapper around @code{package-derivation} and
@code{derivation->output-path}---is @dfn{bound} using @code{mlet}
instead of plain @code{let}.
Calling the monadic @code{profile.sh} has no effect. To get the desired
effect, one must use @code{run-with-store}:
(run-with-store (open-connection) (profile.sh))
@result{} /gnu/store/...-profile.sh
@end example
The main syntactic forms to deal with monads in general are described
@deffn {Scheme Syntax} with-monad @var{monad} @var{body} ...
Evaluate any @code{>>=} or @code{return} forms in @var{body} as being
in @var{monad}.
@end deffn
@deffn {Scheme Syntax} return @var{val}
Return a monadic value that encapsulates @var{val}.
@end deffn
@deffn {Scheme Syntax} >>= @var{mval} @var{mproc}
@dfn{Bind} monadic value @var{mval}, passing its ``contents'' to monadic
procedure @var{mproc}@footnote{This operation is commonly referred to as
``bind'', but that name denotes an unrelated procedure in Guile. Thus
we use this somewhat cryptic symbol inherited from the Haskell
@end deffn
@deffn {Scheme Syntax} mlet @var{monad} ((@var{var} @var{mval}) ...) @
@var{body} ...
@deffnx {Scheme Syntax} mlet* @var{monad} ((@var{var} @var{mval}) ...) @
@var{body} ...
Bind the variables @var{var} to the monadic values @var{mval} in
@var{body}. The form (@var{var} -> @var{val}) binds @var{var} to the
``normal'' value @var{val}, as per @code{let}.
@code{mlet*} is to @code{mlet} what @code{let*} is to @code{let}
(@pxref{Local Bindings,,, guile, GNU Guile Reference Manual}).
@end deffn
The interface to the store monad provided by @code{(guix monads)} is as
@defvr {Scheme Variable} %store-monad
The store monad. Values in the store monad encapsulate accesses to the
store. When its effect is needed, a value of the store monad must be
``evaluated'' by passing it to the @code{run-with-store} procedure (see
@end defvr
@deffn {Scheme Procedure} run-with-store @var{store} @var{mval} [#:guile-for-build] [#:system (%current-system)]
Run @var{mval}, a monadic value in the store monad, in @var{store}, an
open store connection.
@end deffn
@deffn {Monadic Procedure} text-file @var{name} @var{text}
Return as a monadic value the absolute file name in the store of the file
containing @var{text}, a string.
@end deffn
@deffn {Monadic Procedure} text-file* @var{name} @var{text} @dots{}
Return as a monadic value a derivation that builds a text file
containing all of @var{text}. @var{text} may list, in addition to
strings, packages, derivations, and store file names; the resulting
store file holds references to all these.
This variant should be preferred over @code{text-file} anytime the file
to create will reference items from the store. This is typically the
case when building a configuration file that embeds store file names,
like this:
(define (profile.sh)
;; Return the name of a shell script in the store that
;; initializes the 'PATH' environment variable.
(text-file* "profile.sh"
"export PATH=" coreutils "/bin:"
grep "/bin:" sed "/bin\n"))
@end example
In this example, the resulting @file{/gnu/store/@dots{}-profile.sh} file
will references @var{coreutils}, @var{grep}, and @var{sed}, thereby
preventing them from being garbage-collected during its lifetime.
@end deffn
@deffn {Monadic Procedure} package-file @var{package} [@var{file}] @
[#:system (%current-system)] [#:output "out"] Return as a monadic
value in the absolute file name of @var{file} within the @var{output}
directory of @var{package}. When @var{file} is omitted, return the name
of the @var{output} directory of @var{package}.
@end deffn
@deffn {Monadic Procedure} derivation-expression @var{name} @var{exp} @
[#:system (%current-system)] [#:inputs '()] @
[#:outputs '("out")] [#:hash #f] @
[#:hash-algo #f] [#:env-vars '()] [#:modules '()] @
[#:references-graphs #f] [#:guile-for-build #f]
Monadic version of @code{build-expression->derivation}
@end deffn
@deffn {Monadic Procedure} package->derivation @var{package} [@var{system}]
Monadic version of @code{package-derivation} (@pxref{Defining
@end deffn
@node G-Expressions
@section G-Expressions
@cindex G-expression
@cindex build code quoting
So we have ``derivations'', which represent a sequence of build actions
to be performed to produce an item in the store (@pxref{Derivations}).
Those build actions are performed when asking the daemon to actually
build the derivations; they are run by the daemon in a container
(@pxref{Invoking guix-daemon}).
@cindex strata of code
It should come as no surprise that we like to write those build actions
in Scheme. When we do that, we end up with two @dfn{strata} of Scheme
code@footnote{The term @dfn{stratum} in this context was coined by
Manuel Serrano et al.@: in the context of their work on Hop.}: the
``host code''---code that defines packages, talks to the daemon,
etc.---and the ``build code''---code that actually performs build
actions, such as making directories, invoking @command{make}, etc.
To describe a derivation and its build actions, one typically needs to
embed build code inside host code. It boils down to manipulating build
code as data, and Scheme's homoiconicity---code has a direct
representation as data---comes in handy for that. But we need more than
Scheme's normal @code{quasiquote} mechanism to construct build
The @code{(guix gexp)} module implements @dfn{G-expressions}, a form of
S-expressions adapted to build expressions. G-expressions, or
@dfn{gexps}, consist essentially in three syntactic forms: @code{gexp},
@code{ungexp}, and @code{ungexp-splicing} (or simply: @code{#~},
@code{#$}, and @code{#$@@}), which are comparable respectively to
@code{quasiquote}, @code{unquote}, and @code{unquote-splicing}
(@pxref{Expression Syntax, @code{quasiquote},, guile, GNU Guile
Reference Manual}). However, there are major differences:
Gexps are meant to be written to a file and run or manipulated by other
When a package or derivation is unquoted inside a gexp, the result is as
if its output file name had been introduced.
Gexps carry information about the packages or derivations they refer to,
and these dependencies are automatically added as inputs to the build
processes that use them.
@end itemize
To illustrate the idea, here is an example of a gexp:
(define build-exp
(mkdir #$output)
(chdir #$output)
(symlink (string-append #$coreutils "/bin/ls")
@end example
This gexp can be passed to @code{gexp->derivation}; we obtain a
derivation that builds a directory containing exactly one symlink to
(gexp->derivation "the-thing" build-exp)
@end example
As one would expect, the @code{"/gnu/store/@dots{}-coreutils"} string is
substituted to the reference to the @var{coreutils} package in the
actual build code, and @var{coreutils} is automatically made an input to
the derivation. Likewise, @code{#$output} (equivalent to @code{(ungexp
output)}) is replaced by a string containing the derivation's output
directory name. The syntactic form to construct gexps is summarized
@deffn {Scheme Syntax} #~@var{exp}
@deffnx {Scheme Syntax} (gexp @var{exp})
Return a G-expression containing @var{exp}. @var{exp} may contain one
or more of the following forms:
@table @code
@item #$@var{obj}
@itemx (ungexp @var{obj})
Introduce a reference to @var{obj}. @var{obj} may be a package or a
derivation, in which case the @code{ungexp} form is replaced by its
output file name---e.g., @code{"/gnu/store/@dots{}-coreutils-8.22}.
If @var{obj} is a list, it is traversed and any package or derivation
references are substituted similarly.
If @var{obj} is another gexp, its contents are inserted and its
dependencies are added to those of the containing gexp.
If @var{obj} is another kind of object, it is inserted as is.
@item #$@var{package-or-derivation}:@var{output}
@itemx (ungexp @var{package-or-derivation} @var{output})
This is like the form above, but referring explicitly to the
@var{output} of @var{package-or-derivation}---this is useful when
@var{package-or-derivation} produces multiple outputs (@pxref{Packages
with Multiple Outputs}).
@item #$output[:@var{output}]
@itemx (ungexp output [@var{output}])
Insert a reference to derivation output @var{output}, or to the main
output when @var{output} is omitted.
This only makes sense for gexps passed to @code{gexp->derivation}.
@item #$@@@var{lst}
@itemx (ungexp-splicing @var{lst})
Like the above, but splices the contents of @var{lst} inside the
containing list.
@end table
G-expressions created by @code{gexp} or @code{#~} are run-time objects
of the @code{gexp?} type (see below.)
@end deffn
@deffn {Scheme Procedure} gexp? @var{obj}
Return @code{#t} if @var{obj} is a G-expression.
@end deffn
G-expressions are meant to be written to disk, either as code building
some derivation, or as plain files in the store. The monadic procedures
below allow you to do that (@pxref{The Store Monad}, for more
information about monads.)
@deffn {Monadic Procedure} gexp->derivation @var{name} @var{exp} @
[#:system (%current-system)] [#:inputs '()] @
[#:hash #f] [#:hash-algo #f] @
[#:recursive? #f] [#:env-vars '()] [#:modules '()] @
[#:references-graphs #f] [#:local-build? #f] @
[#:guile-for-build #f]
Return a derivation @var{name} that runs @var{exp} (a gexp) with
@var{guile-for-build} (a derivation) on @var{system}.
Make @var{modules} available in the evaluation context of @var{EXP};
@var{MODULES} is a list of names of Guile modules from the current
search path to be copied in the store, compiled, and made available in
the load path during the execution of @var{exp}---e.g., @code{((guix
build utils) (guix build gnu-build-system))}.
The other arguments are as for @code{derivation}.
@end deffn
@deffn {Monadic Procedure} gexp->script @var{name} @var{exp}
Return an executable script @var{name} that runs @var{exp} using
@var{guile} with @var{modules} in its search path.
The example below builds a script that simply invokes the @command{ls}
(use-modules (guix gexp) (gnu packages base))
(gexp->script "list-files"
#~(execl (string-append #$coreutils "/bin/ls")
@end example
When ``running'' it through the store (@pxref{The Store Monad,
@code{run-with-store}}), we obtain a derivation that procedures an
executable file @file{/gnu/store/@dots{}-list-files} along these lines:
#!/gnu/store/@dots{}-guile-2.0.11/bin/guile -ds
(execl (string-append "/gnu/store/@dots{}-coreutils-8.22"/bin/ls")
@end example
@end deffn
@deffn {Monadic Procedure} gexp->file @var{name} @var{exp}
Return a derivation that builds a file @var{name} containing @var{exp}.
The resulting file holds references to all the dependencies of @var{exp}
or a subset thereof.
@end deffn
Of course, in addition to gexps embedded in ``host'' code, there are
also modules containing build tools. To make it clear that they are
meant to be used in the build stratum, these modules are kept in the
@code{(guix build @dots{})} name space.
@c *********************************************************************
@node Utilities
@chapter Utilities
This section describes tools primarily targeted at developers and users
who write new package definitions. They complement the Scheme
programming interface of Guix in a convenient way.
* Invoking guix build:: Building packages from the command line.
* Invoking guix download:: Downloading a file and printing its hash.
* Invoking guix hash:: Computing the cryptographic hash of a file.
* Invoking guix refresh:: Updating package definitions.
@end menu
@node Invoking guix build
@section Invoking @command{guix build}
The @command{guix build} command builds packages or derivations and
their dependencies, and prints the resulting store paths. Note that it
does not modify the user's profile---this is the job of the
@command{guix package} command (@pxref{Invoking guix package}). Thus,
it is mainly useful for distribution developers.
The general syntax is:
guix build @var{options} @var{package-or-derivation}@dots{}
@end example
@var{package-or-derivation} may be either the name of a package found in
the software distribution such as @code{coreutils} or
@code{coreutils-8.20}, or a derivation such as
@file{/gnu/store/@dots{}-coreutils-8.19.drv}. In the former case, a
package with the corresponding name (and optionally version) is searched
for among the GNU distribution modules (@pxref{Package Modules}).
Alternatively, the @code{--expression} option may be used to specify a
Scheme expression that evaluates to a package; this is useful when
disambiguation among several same-named packages or package variants is
The @var{options} may be zero or more of the following:
@table @code
@item --expression=@var{expr}
@itemx -e @var{expr}
Build the package or derivation @var{expr} evaluates to.
For example, @var{expr} may be @code{(@@ (gnu packages guile)
guile-1.8)}, which unambiguously designates this specific variant of
version 1.8 of Guile.
Alternately, @var{expr} may refer to a zero-argument monadic procedure
(@pxref{The Store Monad}). The procedure must return a derivation as a
monadic value, which is then passed through @code{run-with-store}.
@item --source
@itemx -S
Build the packages' source derivations, rather than the packages
For instance, @code{guix build -S gcc} returns something like
@file{/gnu/store/@dots{}-gcc-4.7.2.tar.bz2}, which is GCC's source tarball.
The returned source tarball is the result of applying any patches and
code snippets specified in the package's @code{origin} (@pxref{Defining
@item --system=@var{system}
@itemx -s @var{system}
Attempt to build for @var{system}---e.g., @code{i686-linux}---instead of
the host's system type.
An example use of this is on Linux-based systems, which can emulate
different personalities. For instance, passing
@code{--system=i686-linux} on an @code{x86_64-linux} system allows users
to build packages in a complete 32-bit environment.
@item --target=@var{triplet}
@cindex cross-compilation
Cross-build for @var{triplet}, which must be a valid GNU triplet, such
as @code{"mips64el-linux-gnu"} (@pxref{Configuration Names, GNU
configuration triplets,, configure, GNU Configure and Build System}).
@item --with-source=@var{source}
Use @var{source} as the source of the corresponding package.
@var{source} must be a file name or a URL, as for @command{guix
download} (@pxref{Invoking guix download}).
The ``corresponding package'' is taken to be one specified on the
command line whose name matches the base of @var{source}---e.g., if
@var{source} is @code{/src/guile-2.0.10.tar.gz}, the corresponding
package is @code{guile}. Likewise, the version string is inferred from
@var{source}; in the previous example, it's @code{2.0.10}.
This option allows users to try out versions of packages other than the
one provided by the distribution. The example below downloads
@file{ed-1.7.tar.gz} from a GNU mirror and uses that as the source for
the @code{ed} package:
guix build ed --with-source=mirror://gnu/ed/ed-1.7.tar.gz
@end example
As a developer, @code{--with-source} makes it easy to test release
guix build guile --with-source=../guile-
@end example
@item --derivations
@itemx -d
Return the derivation paths, not the output paths, of the given
@item --root=@var{file}
@itemx -r @var{file}
Make @var{file} a symlink to the result, and register it as a garbage
collector root.
@item --log-file
Return the build log file names for the given
@var{package-or-derivation}s, or raise an error if build logs are
This works regardless of how packages or derivations are specified. For
instance, the following invocations are equivalent:
guix build --log-file `guix build -d guile`
guix build --log-file `guix build guile`
guix build --log-file guile
guix build --log-file -e '(@@ (gnu packages guile) guile-2.0)'
@end example
@end table
@cindex common build options
In addition, a number of options that control the build process are
common to @command{guix build} and other commands that can spawn builds,
such as @command{guix package} or @command{guix archive}. These are the
@table @code
@item --keep-failed
@itemx -K
Keep the build tree of failed builds. Thus, if a build fail, its build
tree is kept under @file{/tmp}, in a directory whose name is shown at
the end of the build log. This is useful when debugging build issues.
@item --dry-run
@itemx -n
Do not build the derivations.
@item --fallback
When substituting a pre-built binary fails, fall back to building
packages locally.
@item --no-substitutes
Do not use substitutes for build products. That is, always build things
locally instead of allowing downloads of pre-built binaries
@item --no-build-hook
Do not attempt to offload builds @i{via} the daemon's ``build hook''
(@pxref{Daemon Offload Setup}). That is, always build things locally
instead of offloading builds to remote machines.
@item --max-silent-time=@var{seconds}
When the build or substitution process remains silent for more than
@var{seconds}, terminate it and report a build failure.
@item --timeout=@var{seconds}
Likewise, when the build or substitution process lasts for more than
@var{seconds}, terminate it and report a build failure.
By default there is no timeout. This behavior can be restored with
@item --verbosity=@var{level}
Use the given verbosity level. @var{level} must be an integer between 0
and 5; higher means more verbose output. Setting a level of 4 or more
may be helpful when debugging setup issues with the build daemon.
@item --cores=@var{n}
@itemx -c @var{n}
Allow the use of up to @var{n} CPU cores for the build. The special
value @code{0} means to use as many CPU cores as available.
@end table
Behind the scenes, @command{guix build} is essentially an interface to
the @code{package-derivation} procedure of the @code{(guix packages)}
module, and to the @code{build-derivations} procedure of the @code{(guix
store)} module.
@node Invoking guix download
@section Invoking @command{guix download}
When writing a package definition, developers typically need to download
the package's source tarball, compute its SHA256 hash, and write that
hash in the package definition (@pxref{Defining Packages}). The
@command{guix download} tool helps with this task: it downloads a file
from the given URI, adds it to the store, and prints both its file name
in the store and its SHA256 hash.
The fact that the downloaded file is added to the store saves bandwidth:
when the developer eventually tries to build the newly defined package
with @command{guix build}, the source tarball will not have to be
downloaded again because it is already in the store. It is also a
convenient way to temporarily stash files, which may be deleted
eventually (@pxref{Invoking guix gc}).
The @command{guix download} command supports the same URIs as used in
package definitions. In particular, it supports @code{mirror://} URIs.
@code{https} URIs (HTTP over TLS) are supported @emph{provided} the
Guile bindings for GnuTLS are available in the user's environment; when
they are not available, an error is raised.
The following option is available:
@table @code
@item --format=@var{fmt}
@itemx -f @var{fmt}
Write the hash in the format specified by @var{fmt}. For more
information on the valid values for @var{fmt}, @ref{Invoking guix hash}.
@end table
@node Invoking guix hash
@section Invoking @command{guix hash}
The @command{guix hash} command computes the SHA256 hash of a file.
It is primarily a convenience tool for anyone contributing to the
distribution: it computes the cryptographic hash of a file, which can be
used in the definition of a package (@pxref{Defining Packages}).
The general syntax is:
guix hash @var{option} @var{file}
@end example
@command{guix hash} has the following option:
@table @code
@item --format=@var{fmt}
@itemx -f @var{fmt}
Write the hash in the format specified by @var{fmt}.
Supported formats: @code{nix-base32}, @code{base32}, @code{base16}
(@code{hex} and @code{hexadecimal} can be used as well).
If the @option{--format} option is not specified, @command{guix hash}
will output the hash in @code{nix-base32}. This representation is used
in the definitions of packages.
@item --recursive
@itemx -r
Compute the hash on @var{file} recursively.
In this case, the hash is computed on an archive containing @var{file},
including its children if it is a directory. Some of @var{file}'s
meta-data is part of the archive; for instance, when @var{file} is a
regular file, the hash is different depending on whether @var{file} is
executable or not. Meta-data such as time stamps has no impact on the
hash (@pxref{Invoking guix archive}).
@c FIXME: Replace xref above with xref to an ``Archive'' section when
@c it exists.
@end table
@node Invoking guix refresh
@section Invoking @command{guix refresh}
The primary audience of the @command{guix refresh} command is developers
of the GNU software distribution. By default, it reports any packages
provided by the distribution that are outdated compared to the latest
upstream version, like this:
$ guix refresh
gnu/packages/gettext.scm:29:13: gettext would be upgraded from to
gnu/packages/glib.scm:77:12: glib would be upgraded from 2.34.3 to 2.37.0
@end example
It does so by browsing each package's FTP directory and determining the
highest version number of the source tarballs
therein@footnote{Currently, this only works for GNU packages.}.
When passed @code{--update}, it modifies distribution source files to
update the version numbers and source tarball hashes of those packages'
recipes (@pxref{Defining Packages}). This is achieved by downloading
each package's latest source tarball and its associated OpenPGP
signature, authenticating the downloaded tarball against its signature
using @command{gpg}, and finally computing its hash. When the public
key used to sign the tarball is missing from the user's keyring, an
attempt is made to automatically retrieve it from a public key server;
when it's successful, the key is added to the user's keyring; otherwise,
@command{guix refresh} reports an error.
The following options are supported:
@table @code
@item --update
@itemx -u
Update distribution source files (package recipes) in place.
@ref{Defining Packages}, for more information on package definitions.
@item --select=[@var{subset}]
@itemx -s @var{subset}
Select all the packages in @var{subset}, one of @code{core} or
The @code{core} subset refers to all the packages at the core of the
distribution---i.e., packages that are used to build ``everything
else''. This includes GCC, libc, Binutils, Bash, etc. Usually,
changing one of these packages in the distribution entails a rebuild of
all the others. Thus, such updates are an inconvenience to users in
terms of build time or bandwidth used to achieve the upgrade.
The @code{non-core} subset refers to the remaining packages. It is
typically useful in cases where an update of the core packages would be
@end table
In addition, @command{guix refresh} can be passed one or more package
names, as in this example:
guix refresh -u emacs idutils
@end example
The command above specifically updates the @code{emacs} and
@code{idutils} packages. The @code{--select} option would have no
effect in this case.
The following options can be used to customize GnuPG operation:
@table @code
@item --key-server=@var{host}
Use @var{host} as the OpenPGP key server when importing a public key.
@item --gpg=@var{command}
Use @var{command} as the GnuPG 2.x command. @var{command} is searched
for in @code{$PATH}.
@end table
@c *********************************************************************
@node GNU Distribution
@chapter GNU Distribution
Guix comes with a distribution of free software@footnote{The term
``free'' here refers to the
@url{http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html,freedom provided to
users of that software}.} that forms the basis of the GNU system. This
includes core GNU packages such as GNU libc, GCC, and Binutils, as well
as many GNU and non-GNU applications. The complete list of available
packages can be browsed
@url{http://www.gnu.org/software/guix/package-list.html,on-line} or by
running @command{guix package} (@pxref{Invoking guix package}):
guix package --list-available
@end example
Our goal is to build a practical 100% free software distribution of
Linux-based and other variants of GNU, with a focus on the promotion and
tight integration of GNU components, and an emphasis on programs and
tools that help users exert that freedom.
The GNU distribution is currently available on the following platforms:
@table @code
@item x86_64-linux
Intel/AMD @code{x86_64} architecture, Linux-Libre kernel;
@item i686-linux
Intel 32-bit architecture (IA32), Linux-Libre kernel;
@item mips64el-linux
little-endian 64-bit MIPS processors, specifically the Loongson series,
n32 application binary interface (ABI), and Linux-Libre kernel.
@end table
For information on porting to other architectures or kernels,
* Installing Debugging Files:: Feeding the debugger.
* Package Modules:: Packages from the programmer's viewpoint.
* Packaging Guidelines:: Growing the distribution.
* Bootstrapping:: GNU/Linux built from scratch.
* Porting:: Targeting another platform or kernel.
* System Configuration:: Configuring a GNU system.
@end menu
Building this distribution is a cooperative effort, and you are invited
to join! @ref{Contributing}, for information about how you can help.
@node Installing Debugging Files
@section Installing Debugging Files
Program binaries, as produced by the GCC compilers for instance, are
typically written in the ELF format, with a section containing
@dfn{debugging information}. Debugging information is what allows the
debugger, GDB, to map binary code to source code; it is required to
debug a compiled program in good conditions.
The problem with debugging information is that is takes up a fair amount
of disk space. For example, debugging information for the GNU C Library
weighs in at more than 60 MiB. Thus, as a user, keeping all the
debugging info of all the installed programs is usually not an option.
Yet, space savings should not come at the cost of an impediment to
debugging---especially in the GNU system, which should make it easier
for users to exert their computing freedom (@pxref{GNU Distribution}).
Thankfully, the GNU Binary Utilities (Binutils) and GDB provide a
mechanism that allows users to get the best of both worlds: debugging
information can be stripped from the binaries and stored in separate
files. GDB is then able to load debugging information from those files,
when they are available (@pxref{Separate Debug Files,,, gdb, Debugging
with GDB}).
The GNU distribution takes advantage of this by storing debugging
information in the @code{lib/debug} sub-directory of a separate package
output unimaginatively called @code{debug} (@pxref{Packages with
Multiple Outputs}). Users can choose to install the @code{debug} output
of a package when they need it. For instance, the following command
installs the debugging information for the GNU C Library and for GNU
guix package -i glibc:debug -i guile:debug
@end example
GDB must then be told to look for debug files in the user's profile, by
setting the @code{debug-file-directory} variable (consider setting it
from the @file{~/.gdbinit} file, @pxref{Startup,,, gdb, Debugging with
(gdb) set debug-file-directory ~/.guix-profile/lib/debug
@end example
From there on, GDB will pick up debugging information from the
@code{.debug} files under @file{~/.guix-profile/lib/debug}.
@c XXX: keep me up-to-date
The @code{debug} output mechanism in Guix is implemented by the
@code{gnu-build-system} (@pxref{Defining Packages}). Currently, it is
opt-in---debugging information is available only for those packages
whose definition explicitly declares a @code{debug} output. This may be
changed to opt-out in the future, if our build farm servers can handle
the load. To check whether a package has a @code{debug} output, use
@command{guix package --list-available} (@pxref{Invoking guix package}).
@node Package Modules
@section Package Modules
From a programming viewpoint, the package definitions of the
GNU distribution are provided by Guile modules in the @code{(gnu packages
@dots{})} name space@footnote{Note that packages under the @code{(gnu
packages @dots{})} module name space are not necessarily ``GNU
packages''. This module naming scheme follows the usual Guile module
naming convention: @code{gnu} means that these modules are distributed
as part of the GNU system, and @code{packages} identifies modules that
define packages.} (@pxref{Modules, Guile modules,, guile, GNU Guile
Reference Manual}). For instance, the @code{(gnu packages emacs)}
module exports a variable named @code{emacs}, which is bound to a
@code{<package>} object (@pxref{Defining Packages}).
The @code{(gnu packages @dots{})} module name space is special: it is
automatically scanned for packages by the command-line tools. For
instance, when running @code{guix package -i emacs}, all the @code{(gnu
packages @dots{})} modules are scanned until one that exports a package
object whose name is @code{emacs} is found. This package search
facility is implemented in the @code{(gnu packages)} module.
Users can store package definitions in modules with different
names---e.g., @code{(my-packages emacs)}. In that case, commands such
as @command{guix package} and @command{guix build} have to be used with
the @code{-e} option so that they know where to find the package.
The distribution is fully @dfn{bootstrapped} and @dfn{self-contained}:
each package is built based solely on other packages in the
distribution. The root of this dependency graph is a small set of
@dfn{bootstrap binaries}, provided by the @code{(gnu packages
bootstrap)} module. For more information on bootstrapping,
@node Packaging Guidelines
@section Packaging Guidelines
The GNU distribution is nascent and may well lack some of your favorite
packages. This section describes how you can help make the distribution
grow. @xref{Contributing}, for additional information on how you can
Free software packages are usually distributed in the form of
@dfn{source code tarballs}---typically @file{tar.gz} files that contain
all the source files. Adding a package to the distribution means
essentially two things: adding a @dfn{recipe} that describes how to
build the package, including a list of other packages required to build
it, and adding @dfn{package meta-data} along with that recipe, such as a
description and licensing information.
In Guix all this information is embodied in @dfn{package definitions}.
Package definitions provide a high-level view of the package. They are
written using the syntax of the Scheme programming language; in fact,
for each package we define a variable bound to the package definition,
and export that variable from a module (@pxref{Package Modules}).
However, in-depth Scheme knowledge is @emph{not} a prerequisite for
creating packages. For more information on package definitions,
@ref{Defining Packages}.
Once a package definition is in place, stored in a file in the Guix
source tree, it can be tested using the @command{guix build} command
(@pxref{Invoking guix build}). For example, assuming the new package is
called @code{gnew}, you may run this command from the Guix build tree:
./pre-inst-env guix build gnew --keep-failed
@end example
Using @code{--keep-failed} makes it easier to debug build failures since
it provides access to the failed build tree. Another useful
command-line option when debugging is @code{--log-file}, to access the
build log.
If the package is unknown to the @command{guix} command, it may be that
the source file contains a syntax error, or lacks a @code{define-public}
clause to export the package variable. To figure it out, you may load
the module from Guile to get more information about the actual error:
./pre-inst-env guile -c '(use-modules (gnu packages gnew))'
@end example
Once your package builds correctly, please send us a patch
(@pxref{Contributing}). Well, if you need help, we will be happy to
help you too. Once the patch is committed in the Guix repository, the
new package automatically gets built on the supported platforms by
@url{http://hydra.gnu.org/gnu/master, our continuous integration
@cindex substituter
Users can obtain the new package definition simply by running
@command{guix pull} (@pxref{Invoking guix pull}). When
@code{hydra.gnu.org} is done building the package, installing the
package automatically downloads binaries from there
(@pxref{Substitutes}). The only place where human intervention is
needed is to review and apply the patch.
* Software Freedom:: What may go into the distribution.
* Package Naming:: What's in a name?
* Version Numbers:: When the name is not enough.
* Python Modules:: Taming the snake.
@end menu
@node Software Freedom
@subsection Software Freedom
@c Adapted from http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/philosophy.html.
The GNU operating system has been developed so that users can have
freedom in their computing. GNU is @dfn{free software}, meaning that
users have the @url{http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html,four
essential freedoms}: to run the program, to study and change the program
in source code form, to redistribute exact copies, and to distribute
modified versions. Packages found in the GNU distribution provide only
software that conveys these four freedoms.
In addition, the GNU distribution follow the
software distribution guidelines}. Among other things, these guidelines
reject non-free firmware, recommendations of non-free software, and
discuss ways to deal with trademarks and patents.
Some packages contain a small and optional subset that violates the
above guidelines, for instance because this subset is itself non-free
code. When that happens, the offending items are removed with
appropriate patches or code snippets in the package definition's
@code{origin} form (@pxref{Defining Packages}). That way, @code{guix
build --source} returns the ``freed'' source rather than the unmodified
upstream source.
@node Package Naming
@subsection Package Naming
A package has actually two names associated with it:
First, there is the name of the @emph{Scheme variable}, the one following
@code{define-public}. By this name, the package can be made known in the
Scheme code, for instance as input to another package. Second, there is
the string in the @code{name} field of a package definition. This name
is used by package management commands such as
@command{guix package} and @command{guix build}.
Both are usually the same and correspond to the lowercase conversion of the
project name chosen upstream. For instance, the GNUnet project is packaged
as @code{gnunet}. We do not add @code{lib} prefixes for library packages,
unless these are already part of the official project name. But see
@ref{Python Modules} for special rules concerning modules for
the Python language.
@node Version Numbers
@subsection Version Numbers
We usually package only the latest version of a given free software
project. But sometimes, for instance for incompatible library versions,
two (or more) versions of the same package are needed. These require
different Scheme variable names. We use the name as defined
in @ref{Package Naming}
for the most recent version; previous versions use the same name, suffixed
by @code{-} and the smallest prefix of the version number that may
distinguish the two versions.
The name inside the package definition is the same for all versions of a
package and does not contain any version number.
For instance, the versions 2.24.20 and 3.9.12 of GTK+ may be packaged as follows:
(define-public gtk+
(name "gtk+")
(version "3.9.12")
(define-public gtk+-2
(name "gtk+")
(version "2.24.20")
@end example
If we also wanted GTK+ 3.8.2, this would be packaged as
(define-public gtk+-3.8
(name "gtk+")
(version "3.8.2")
@end example
@node Python Modules
@subsection Python Modules
We currently package Python 2 and Python 3, under the Scheme variable names
@code{python-2} and @code{python} as explained in @ref{Version Numbers}.
To avoid confusion and naming clashes with other programming languages, it
seems desirable that the name of a package for a Python module contains
the word @code{python}.
Some modules are compatible with only one version of Python, others with both.
If the package Foo compiles only with Python 3, we name it
@code{python-foo}; if it compiles only with Python 2, we name it
@code{python2-foo}. If it is compatible with both versions, we create two
packages with the corresponding names.
If a project already contains the word @code{python}, we drop this;
for instance, the module python-dateutil is packaged under the names
@code{python-dateutil} and @code{python2-dateutil}.
@node Bootstrapping
@section Bootstrapping
@c Adapted from the ELS 2013 paper.
@cindex bootstrapping
Bootstrapping in our context refers to how the distribution gets built
``from nothing''. Remember that the build environment of a derivation
contains nothing but its declared inputs (@pxref{Introduction}). So
there's an obvious chicken-and-egg problem: how does the first package
get built? How does the first compiler get compiled? Note that this is
a question of interest only to the curious hacker, not to the regular
user, so you can shamelessly skip this section if you consider yourself
a ``regular user''.
@cindex bootstrap binaries
The GNU system is primarily made of C code, with libc at its core. The
GNU build system itself assumes the availability of a Bourne shell and
command-line tools provided by GNU Coreutils, Awk, Findutils, `sed', and
`grep'. Furthermore, build programs---programs that run
@code{./configure}, @code{make}, etc.---are written in Guile Scheme
(@pxref{Derivations}). Consequently, to be able to build anything at
all, from scratch, Guix relies on pre-built binaries of Guile, GCC,
Binutils, libc, and the other packages mentioned above---the
@dfn{bootstrap binaries}.
These bootstrap binaries are ``taken for granted'', though we can also
re-create them if needed (more on that later).
@unnumberedsubsec Preparing to Use the Bootstrap Binaries
@c As of Emacs 24.3, Info-mode displays the image, but since it's a
@c large image, it's hard to scroll. Oh well.
@image{images/bootstrap-graph,6in,,Dependency graph of the early bootstrap derivations}
The figure above shows the very beginning of the dependency graph of the
distribution, corresponding to the package definitions of the @code{(gnu
packages bootstrap)} module. At this level of detail, things are
slightly complex. First, Guile itself consists of an ELF executable,
along with many source and compiled Scheme files that are dynamically
loaded when it runs. This gets stored in the @file{guile-2.0.7.tar.xz}
tarball shown in this graph. This tarball is part of Guix's ``source''
distribution, and gets inserted into the store with @code{add-to-store}
(@pxref{The Store}).
But how do we write a derivation that unpacks this tarball and adds it
to the store? To solve this problem, the @code{guile-bootstrap-2.0.drv}
derivation---the first one that gets built---uses @code{bash} as its
builder, which runs @code{build-bootstrap-guile.sh}, which in turn calls
@code{tar} to unpack the tarball. Thus, @file{bash}, @file{tar},
@file{xz}, and @file{mkdir} are statically-linked binaries, also part of
the Guix source distribution, whose sole purpose is to allow the Guile
tarball to be unpacked.
Once @code{guile-bootstrap-2.0.drv} is built, we have a functioning
Guile that can be used to run subsequent build programs. Its first task
is to download tarballs containing the other pre-built binaries---this
is what the @code{.tar.xz.drv} derivations do. Guix modules such as
@code{ftp-client.scm} are used for this purpose. The
@code{module-import.drv} derivations import those modules in a directory
in the store, using the original layout. The
@code{module-import-compiled.drv} derivations compile those modules, and
write them in an output directory with the right layout. This
corresponds to the @code{#:modules} argument of
@code{build-expression->derivation} (@pxref{Derivations}).
Finally, the various tarballs are unpacked by the
derivations @code{gcc-bootstrap-0.drv}, @code{glibc-bootstrap-0.drv},
etc., at which point we have a working C tool chain.
@unnumberedsubsec Building the Build Tools
@c TODO: Add a package-level dependency graph generated from (gnu
@c packages base).
Bootstrapping is complete when we have a full tool chain that does not
depend on the pre-built bootstrap tools discussed above. This
no-dependency requirement is verified by checking whether the files of
the final tool chain contain references to the @file{/gnu/store}
directories of the bootstrap inputs. The process that leads to this
``final'' tool chain is described by the package definitions found in
the @code{(gnu packages base)} module.
@c See <http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/gnu-system-discuss/2012-10/msg00000.html>.
The first tool that gets built with the bootstrap binaries is
GNU Make, which is a prerequisite for all the following packages.
From there Findutils and Diffutils get built.
Then come the first-stage Binutils and GCC, built as pseudo cross
tools---i.e., with @code{--target} equal to @code{--host}. They are
used to build libc. Thanks to this cross-build trick, this libc is
guaranteed not to hold any reference to the initial tool chain.
From there the final Binutils and GCC are built. GCC uses @code{ld}
from the final Binutils, and links programs against the just-built libc.
This tool chain is used to build the other packages used by Guix and by
the GNU Build System: Guile, Bash, Coreutils, etc.
And voilà! At this point we have the complete set of build tools that
the GNU Build System expects. These are in the @code{%final-inputs}
variables of the @code{(gnu packages base)} module, and are implicitly
used by any package that uses @code{gnu-build-system} (@pxref{Defining
@unnumberedsubsec Building the Bootstrap Binaries
Because the final tool chain does not depend on the bootstrap binaries,
those rarely need to be updated. Nevertheless, it is useful to have an
automated way to produce them, should an update occur, and this is what
the @code{(gnu packages make-bootstrap)} module provides.
The following command builds the tarballs containing the bootstrap
binaries (Guile, Binutils, GCC, libc, and a tarball containing a mixture
of Coreutils and other basic command-line tools):
guix build bootstrap-tarballs
@end example
The generated tarballs are those that should be referred to in the
@code{(gnu packages bootstrap)} module mentioned at the beginning of
this section.
Still here? Then perhaps by now you've started to wonder: when do we
reach a fixed point? That is an interesting question! The answer is
unknown, but if you would like to investigate further (and have
significant computational and storage resources to do so), then let us
@node Porting
@section Porting to a New Platform
As discussed above, the GNU distribution is self-contained, and
self-containment is achieved by relying on pre-built ``bootstrap
binaries'' (@pxref{Bootstrapping}). These binaries are specific to an
operating system kernel, CPU architecture, and application binary
interface (ABI). Thus, to port the distribution to a platform that is
not yet supported, one must build those bootstrap binaries, and update
the @code{(gnu packages bootstrap)} module to use them on that platform.
Fortunately, Guix can @emph{cross compile} those bootstrap binaries.
When everything goes well, and assuming the GNU tool chain supports the
target platform, this can be as simple as running a command like this
guix build --target=armv5tel-linux-gnueabi bootstrap-tarballs
@end example
Once these are built, the @code{(gnu packages bootstrap)} module needs
to be updated to refer to these binaries on the target platform. In
addition, the @code{glibc-dynamic-linker} procedure in that module must
be augmented to return the right file name for libc's dynamic linker on
that platform; likewise, @code{system->linux-architecture} in @code{(gnu
packages linux)} must be taught about the new platform.
In practice, there may be some complications. First, it may be that the
extended GNU triplet that specifies an ABI (like the @code{eabi} suffix
above) is not recognized by all the GNU tools. Typically, glibc
recognizes some of these, whereas GCC uses an extra @code{--with-abi}
configure flag (see @code{gcc.scm} for examples of how to handle this).
Second, some of the required packages could fail to build for that
platform. Lastly, the generated binaries could be broken for some
@node System Configuration
@section System Configuration
@emph{This section documents work-in-progress. As such it may be
incomplete, outdated, or open to discussions. Please discuss it on
@cindex system configuration
The GNU system supports a consistent whole-system configuration
mechanism. By that we mean that all aspects of the global system
configuration---such as the available system services, timezone and
locale settings, user accounts---are declared in a single place. Such
a @dfn{system configuration} can be @dfn{instantiated}---i.e., effected.
One of the advantages of putting all the system configuration under the
control of Guix is that it supports transactional system upgrades, and
makes it possible to roll-back to a previous system instantiation,
should something go wrong with the new one (@pxref{Features}). Another
one is that it makes it easy to replicate the exact same configuration
across different machines, or at different points in time, without
having to resort to additional administration tools layered on top of
the system's own tools.
@c Yes, we're talking of Puppet, Chef, & co. here. ↑
This section describes this mechanism. First we focus on the system
administrator's viewpoint---explaining how the system is configured and
instantiated. Then we show how this mechanism can be extended, for
instance to support new system services.
* Using the Configuration System:: Customizing your GNU system.
* Invoking guix system:: Instantiating a system configuration.
* Defining Services:: Adding new service definitions.
@end menu
@node Using the Configuration System
@subsection Using the Configuration System
The operating system is configured by filling in an
@code{operating-system} structure, as defined by the @code{(gnu system)}
module. A simple setup, with the default system services, the default
Linux-Libre kernel, initial RAM disk, and boot loader looks like this:
@findex operating-system
(use-modules (gnu services base) ; for '%base-services'
(gnu services ssh) ; for 'lsh-service'
(gnu system shadow) ; for 'user-account'
(gnu packages base) ; Coreutils, grep, etc.
(gnu packages bash) ; Bash
(gnu packages admin) ; dmd, Inetutils
(gnu packages zile) ; Zile
(gnu packages less) ; less
(gnu packages guile) ; Guile
(gnu packages linux)) ; procps, psmisc
(define komputilo
(host-name "komputilo")
(timezone "Europe/Paris")
(locale "fr_FR.UTF-8")
(users (list (user-account
(name "alice")
(password "")
(uid 1000) (gid 100)
(comment "Bob's sister")
(home-directory "/home/alice"))))
(packages (list coreutils bash guile-2.0
guix dmd
findutils grep sed
procps psmisc
zile less))
(services (cons (lsh-service #:port 2222 #:allow-root-login? #t)
@end lisp
This example should be self-describing. The @code{packages} field lists
packages provided by the various @code{(gnu packages ...)} modules above
(@pxref{Package Modules}). These are the packages that will be globally
visible on the system, for all user accounts---i.e., in every user's
@code{PATH} environment variable---in addition to the per-user profiles
(@pxref{Invoking guix package}).
@vindex %base-services
The @code{services} field lists @dfn{system services} to be made
available when the system starts. The @var{%base-services} list,
from the @code{(gnu services base)} module, provides the basic services one
would expect from a GNU system: a login service (mingetty) on each tty,
syslogd, libc's name service cache daemon (nscd), etc.
The @code{operating-system} declaration above specifies that, in
addition to those services, we want the @command{lshd} secure shell
daemon listening on port 2222, and allowing remote @code{root} logins
(@pxref{Invoking lshd,,, lsh, GNU lsh Manual}). Under the hood,
@code{lsh-service} arranges so that @code{lshd} is started with the
right command-line options, possibly with supporting configuration files
generated as needed (@pxref{Defining Services}).
Assuming the above snippet is stored in the @file{my-system-config.scm}
file, the @command{guix system boot my-system-config.scm} command
instantiates that configuration, and makes it the default GRUB boot
entry (@pxref{Invoking guix system}). The normal way to change the
system's configuration is by updating this file and re-running the
@command{guix system} command.
At the Scheme level, the bulk of an @code{operating-system} declaration
is instantiated with the following monadic procedure (@pxref{The Store
@deffn {Monadic Procedure} operating-system-derivation os
Return a derivation that builds @var{os}, an @code{operating-system}
object (@pxref{Derivations}).
The output of the derivation is a single directory that refers to all
the packages, configuration files, and other supporting files needed to
instantiate @var{os}.
@end deffn
@node Invoking guix system
@subsection Invoking @code{guix system}
Once you have written an operating system declaration, as seen in the
previous section, it can be @dfn{instantiated} using the @command{guix
system} command. The synopsis is:
guix system @var{options}@dots{} @var{action} @var{file}
@end example
@var{file} must be the name of a file containing an
@code{operating-system} declaration. @var{action} specifies how the
operating system is instantiate. Currently the following values are
@table @code
@item vm
@cindex virtual machine
Build a virtual machine that contain the operating system declared in
@var{file}, and return a script to run that virtual machine (VM).
The VM shares its store with the host system.
@item vm-image
Return a virtual machine image of the operating system declared in
@var{file} that stands alone. Use the @option{--image-size} option to
specify the size of the image.
@end table
@var{options} can contain any of the common build options provided by
@command{guix build} (@pxref{Invoking guix build}).
@node Defining Services
@subsection Defining Services
The @code{(gnu services @dots{})} modules define several procedures that allow
users to declare the operating system's services (@pxref{Using the
Configuration System}). These procedures are @emph{monadic
procedures}---i.e., procedures that return a monadic value in the store
monad (@pxref{The Store Monad}). Examples of such procedures include:
@table @code
@item mingetty-service
return the definition of a service that runs @command{mingetty} to
offer a login service on the given console tty;
@item nscd-service
return a definition for libc's name service cache daemon (nscd);
@item guix-service
return a definition for a service that runs @command{guix-daemon}
(@pxref{Invoking guix-daemon}).
@end table
@cindex service definition
The monadic value returned by those procedures is a @dfn{service
definition}---a structure as returned by the @code{service} form.
Service definitions specifies the inputs the service depends on, and an
expression to start and stop the service. Behind the scenes, service
definitions are ``translated'' into the form suitable for the
configuration file of dmd, the init system (@pxref{Services,,, dmd, GNU
dmd Manual}).
As an example, here is what the @code{nscd-service} procedure looks
(define (nscd-service)
(mlet %store-monad ((nscd (package-file glibc "sbin/nscd")))
(return (service
(documentation "Run libc's name service cache daemon.")
(provision '(nscd))
(start `(make-forkexec-constructor ,nscd "-f" "/dev/null"
(stop `(make-kill-destructor))
(respawn? #f)
(inputs `(("glibc" ,glibc)))))))
@end lisp
The @code{inputs} field specifies that this service depends on the
@var{glibc} package---the package that contains the @command{nscd}
program. The @code{start} and @code{stop} fields are expressions that
make use of dmd's facilities to start and stop processes (@pxref{Service
De- and Constructors,,, dmd, GNU dmd Manual}). The @code{provision}
field specifies the name under which this service is known to dmd, and
@code{documentation} specifies on-line documentation. Thus, the
commands @command{deco start ncsd}, @command{deco stop nscd}, and
@command{deco doc nscd} will do what you would expect (@pxref{Invoking
deco,,, dmd, GNU dmd Manual}).
@c *********************************************************************
@node Contributing
@chapter Contributing
This project is a cooperative effort, and we need your help to make it
grow! Please get in touch with us on @email{guix-devel@@gnu.org} and
@code{#guix} on the Freenode IRC network. We welcome ideas, bug
reports, patches, and anything that may be helpful to the project. We
particularly welcome help on packaging (@pxref{Packaging Guidelines}).
Please see the
@file{HACKING} file} that comes with the Guix source code for practical
details about contributions.
@c *********************************************************************
@node Acknowledgments
@chapter Acknowledgments
Guix is based on the Nix package manager, which was designed and
implemented by Eelco Dolstra. Nix pioneered functional package
management, and promoted unprecedented features, such as transactional
package upgrades and rollbacks, per-user profiles, and referentially
transparent build processes. Without this work, Guix would not exist.
The Nix-based software distributions, Nixpkgs and NixOS, have also been
an inspiration for Guix.
@c *********************************************************************
@node GNU Free Documentation License
@appendix GNU Free Documentation License
@include fdl-1.3.texi
@c *********************************************************************
@node Concept Index
@unnumbered Concept Index
@printindex cp
@node Function Index
@unnumbered Function Index
@printindex fn
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@c ispell-local-dictionary: "american";
@c End: