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-*- org -*-
#+TITLE: Guix NEWS – history of user-visible changes
#+STARTUP: content hidestars
Copyright © 2013 Ludovic Courtès <>
Copying and distribution of this file, with or without modification,
are permitted in any medium without royalty provided the copyright
notice and this notice are preserved.
Please send Guix bug reports to
* Changes in 0.4 (since 0.3)
** Package management
*** New ‘--list-generations’ and ‘--delete-generations’ options
The ‘guix package’ command has these two new options, which make it easier to
deal with a profile’s generation. See “Invoking guix package” in the manual.
*** New ‘guix-register’ program
This program allows the meta-data of a new store to be initialized, by
copying info from an existing store. It is mostly an internal tool.
** Programming interfaces
*** New API to bootstrap Autotools-based packages
The (guix build-system gnu) has a new ‘dist-package’ procedure that takes a
package object and source directory, and returns a new package object that
runs ‘./bootstrap && make dist’ or anything similar.
*** ‘derivation’ and related procedures have a #:references-graphs parameter
This parameter instructs the build daemon to populate the derivation’s build
tree with files containing the list of references of the given store files.
This is useful to write code that copies a packages and all its dependencies
to another storage device, such as a QEMU disk image.
*** Extended API to build a GNU system virtual machine image
The (gnu system vm) module has been augmented in many ways: the ‘qemu-image’
procedure can now populate and initialize the image’s store; the new
‘system-qemu-image’ procedure returns a QEMU image that runs dmd as its init
system, has ‘login’ running on several consoles, has a set of installed
packages, and where Guix can be used.
New (gnu system …) modules have been added to handle the configuration of the
various parts of a GNU/Linux system. For instance, (gnu system dmd) provides
support for instantiating dmd services; (gnu system linux) helps with Linux
PAM configuration; and so on.
*** <derivation> objects supersede .drv file names in the API
‘derivation’ and similar procedures no longer return two values (a
<derivation> and a .drv file name); they now return a single value, which is
a <derivation> object. The <derivation> object embeds the corresponding .drv
file name. See “Derivations” in the manual for details.
** GNU distribution
*** 60 new packages
apr, apr-util, cdparanoia, dbus-glib, dfc, dmd, dvdisaster, exiv2, fetchmail,
freefont-ttf, freeglut, geeqie, git, gkrellm, glu, gnome-doc-utils,
gst-plugins-base, gstreamer, guile-cairo, guile-lib, guile-xcb, guix, htop,
itstool, lame, libextractor, libmicrohttpd, lightning, lzip, mingetty, mutt,
net-base, net-tools, ocrad, pspp, python-babel, python-dateutil, python-pytz,
python-setuptools, python-simplejson, python-wrapper, python2-babel,
python2-dateutil, python2-mechanize, python2-pyicu, python2-pysqlite,
python2-pytz, python2-setuptools, python2-simplejson, qemu-system-initrd,
qemu-with-multiple-smb-shares, ripperx, shadow, ttf-bitstream-vera, units,
valgrind, xmlto, xnee, yasm
*** 27 package updates
bigloo 4.0b, cairo 1.12.16, ddrescue 1.17, fontconfig 2.10.93, fplll 4.0.4,
gcc 4.7.3, gcc 4.7.3, glibc 2.18, glibc 2.18, glibc-stripped-tarball 2.18,
gnupg 2.0.21, gnutls 3.2.4, guile 2.0.9, guile 2.0.9, harfbuzz 0.9.21,
imagemagick 6.8.6-9, libdrm 2.4.46, libgcrypt 1.5.3, libjpeg 9, libksba 1.3.0,
linux-libre 3.11, m4 1.4.17, mpfrcx 0.4.2, pari-gp 2.5.4, python 2.7.5, python
3.3.2, texlive 2013
*** Fontconfig font search path made more convenient
Fontconfig, the library used by many graphical applications, such as those
based on GTK+, now knows where to find the default set of fonts. Additional
fonts installed in the user profile are automatically picked up.
*** More GUI applications
The ‘emacs’ and ‘racket’ packages are now linked against GTK+. New GTK+
applications have been added (see above.)
*** Packaging guidelines
The documentation of packaging guidelines has been augmented. See the manual
under “GNU Distribution”.
*** Support for Python 3 along with Python 2
Python 3 has been added to the distribution, and Python packages that support
it are now built for both Python 2 and Python 3. See the “Python Modules”
section of the manual for details.
** Internationalization
Updated translations: eo.
** Bugs fixed
*** Workarounds for Guile 2.0.5 now work on Debian derivatives
*** The dependency graph image has correct size in PDF output
*** 'ldd' now works correctly on x86_64
*** Xorg server test suite no longer fails (
*** module-init-tools now builds (,
*** Hop 2.4 builds with newer Bigloo (
* Changes in 0.3 (since 0.2)
** Package management
*** Cross-compilation support
Guix can now cross-build packages. On the command-line, this is achieved with
the new ‘--target’ command-line option of ‘guix build’. At the Scheme level,
the guts of this is the ‘package-cross-derivation’ procedure. Core packages
of the distribution can already be cross-compiled. See the manual for
*** New ‘--max-silent-time’ option for “guix build” and “guix package”
See the manual for details.
*** New ‘--fallback’ option for “guix build” and “guix package”
This option instructs to fall back to local builds when the substituter fails
to download a substitute.
*** New ‘--requisites’ option for “guix gc”
See the manual for details.
*** New ‘--key-download’ option for “guix refresh”
See the manual for details.
** Programming interfaces
*** New ‘package-cross-derivation’ procedure in (guix derivations)
See the manual for details.
*** New ‘%current-target-system’ SRFI-39 parameter
This parameter is like ‘%current-system’, but for cross-compilation. It
allows code in package definitions (such as in the ‘arguments’ field) to know
whether it is being cross-compiled, and what the target system is.
*** New (guix hash) module; new ‘open-sha256-port’ and ‘sha256-port’ procedures
This improves performance of SHA256 computations.
** GNU distribution
*** 33 new packages
alsa-lib, babel, cairo, cvs, gcal, gcc-cross-mips64el-linux-gnuabi64, gd,
gdk-pixbuf, graphviz, grue-hunter, gtk+, gts, harfbuzz, imagemagick, iproute2,
iptables, libspectre, mpg321, noweb, pango, plotutils, privoxy, pytz, racket,
rubber, rush, strace, tk, torsocks, unrtf, vc-dwim, wordnet, xlockmore
*** 25 package updates
automake 1.14, ed 1.9, freeipmi 1.2.8, gawk 4.1.0, gcc 4.8.1, gettext 0.18.3,
glib 2.37.1, gmp 5.1.2, gnutls 3.2.1, gzip 1.6, help2man 1.43.3, libapr 1.4.8,
libaprutil 1.5.2, libassuan 2.1.1, libffi 3.0.13, libgc 7.2d, libgpg-error
1.12, libidn 1.28, libpng 1.5.17, lout 3.40, lsh 2.1, nettle 2.7.1, qemu
1.5.1, tzdata 2013d, xorriso 1.3.0
*** Binary packages now available for i686-linux
The build farm at now provides 32-bit GNU/Linux binaries
(i686-linux), in addition to the x86_64-linux binaries. Both can be
transparently used as substitutes for local builds on these platforms.
*** Debug info packages
Some packages now have a “debug” output containing debugging information. The
“debug” output can be used by GDB, and can be installed separately from the
other outputs of the package. See “Installing Debugging Files” in the manual.
*** Bootstrap binaries can be cross-compiled
The distribution can now be ported to new architectures (currently
GNU/Linux-only) by cross-compiling the “bootstrap binaries”. See “Porting”
in the manual.
*** Bootstrapping documented
See “Bootstrapping” in the manual, for information on how the GNU
distribution builds “from scratch”.
** Internationalization
New translations: eo, pt_BR.
** Bugs fixed
*** “guix --help” now works when using Guile 2.0.5
*** Binary substituter multi-threading and pipe issues fixed
These could lead to random substituter crashes while substituting a binary.
See commits 0332386 and 101d9f3 for details.
*** Binary substituter gracefully handles lack of network connectivity
*** Daemon properly handles rebuilds of multiple-output derivations
Previously it would fail when rebuilding a multiple-output derivation when
some (but not all) of its outputs were already present. See and .
*** ‘guix package -i foo:out’ no longer removes other outputs of ‘foo’
Previously only the ‘out’ output of package ‘foo’ would be kept in the
*** Replacement (srfi srfi-37) provided if the user’s one is broken
When the user’s (srfi srfi-37) is affected by (Guile
< 2.0.9), a replacement with the bug fix is provided. This bug would affect
command-line argument processing in some cases.
* Changes in 0.2 (since 0.1)
** Package management
*** Guix commands are now sub-commands of the “guix” program
Instead of typing “guix-package”, one now has to type “guix package”, and so
on. This has allowed us to homogenize the user interface and initial program
setup, and to allow commands to be upgradable through “guix pull”.
*** New “guix package --upgrade” option
As the name implies, this option atomically upgrades all the packages
installed in a profile or the set of packages matching a given regexp.
See “Invoking guix package” in the manual.
*** New “guix package --search” option
Performs a full text search in package synopses and descriptions, and returns
the matching packages in recutils format. See “Invoking guix package” in the
manual, for details.
*** New “guix pull” command
The command pulls the latest version of Guix–both the package management
modules and the distribution. See the manual for details.
*** New binary substituter
The “substituter” mechanism allows pre-built binaries to be transparently
downloaded instead of performing a build locally. Currently binaries are
available for x86_64 Linux-based GNU systems from The
distribution is continuously built and binaries are made available from there.
See under “Job status” for the list of
available binary packages.
*** New “guix refresh” command
The command is used by Guix maintainers. It automatically updates the
distribution to the latest upstream releases of GNU software.
*** New “guix hash” command
Convenience command to compute the hash of a file. See the manual for
*** Nix daemon code updated
The daemon code from Nix, used by the ‘guix-daemon’ command, has been updated
to current Nix ‘master’.
** Programming interfaces
*** (guix download) now supports HTTPS, using GnuTLS
It allows package source tarballs to be retrieved over HTTPS.
*** New ‘native-search-path’ and ‘search-path’ package fields
Packages can define in their ‘native-search-path’ field environment variables
that define search paths and need to be set for proper functioning of the
package. For instance, GCC has ‘CPATH’ and ‘LIBRARY_PATH’ in its
‘native-search-path’, Perl has ‘PERL5LIB’, Python has ‘PYTHONPATH’, etc.
These environment variables are automatically set when building a package that
uses one of these.
*** Package inputs can be a function of the target system type
The ‘inputs’ field of a package can now be conditional on the value of
(%current-system). This is useful for packages that take system-dependent
tarballs as inputs, such as GNU/MIT Scheme.
*** New build systems
The ‘perl-build-system’, ‘python-build-system’, and ‘cmake-build-system’ have
been added. They implement the standard build systems for Perl, Python, and
CMake packages.
*** Tools to build Linux initrds, QEMU images, and more
The (gnu packages linux-initrd) module provides a procedure to build a Linux
initrd (“initial RAM disk”). The initrd embeds Guile, which is used to
evaluate the given expression. The example below returns an initrd that
mounts the /proc file system and starts a REPL:
(mkdir "/proc")
(mount "none" "/proc" "proc")
((@ (system repl repl) start-repl))))
More examples in the linux-initrd.scm file.
Experimental interfaces to produce and use QEMU images are provided by the
(gnu system vm) module. For instance, the
‘expression->derivation-in-linux-vm’ evaluates the given Scheme expression in
a QEMU virtual machine running the Linux kernel and Guile.
** GNU distribution
Many updates and additions have been made to the distribution. Here are the
*** Major updates
GCC 4.7.3 (the default) and GCC 4.8.0, Binutils 2.23.2, Guile 2.0.9,
Coreutils 8.20, GDB 7.6, Texinfo 5.1.
*** Noteworthy new packages
TeXLive, Xorg, GNU GRUB, GNU Parted, QEMU and QEMU-KVM, Avahi, Bigloo,
CHICKEN, Scheme48, Hugs, Python, Lua, Samba.