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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
@set YEARS 2012, 2013
@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 Nikita Karetnikov
@vskip 0pt plus 1filll
Edition @value{EDITION} @*
@value{UPDATED} @*
Copyright @copyright{} @value{YEARS} Ludovic Court@`es
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 quotation
@end titlepage
This manual documents GNU Guix version @value{VERSION}.
Copyright @copyright{} @value{YEARS} Ludovic Courtès
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
@c *********************************************************************
@node Top
@top GNU Guix
This document describes GNU Guix version @value{VERSION}, a functional
package management tool written for the GNU system.
Copyright @copyright{} @value{YEARS} Ludovic Courtès
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 quotation
* 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.
* 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
in all the activities that relate to building packages from source,
honoring the build-time and run-time dependencies on packages,
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 depended on, and
returns the 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. Last
but not least, a build function 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 dedicated ``chroots'', 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{/nix/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 upgrades and rollback, per-user installation, and
garbage collection of packages (@pxref{Features}).
Guix has a command-line interface allowing users to build, install,
upgrade, and remove packages, as well as a Scheme programming interface.
The remainder of this manual describes them.
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
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 2.0.x};
@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 the Nix package manager is available, you
can instead configure Guix with @code{--disable-daemon}. In that case,
@url{http://nixos.org/nix/, 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 store meta-data about the store is
located, among other things.) The default values are
@code{--with-store-dir=/nix/store} and @code{--localstatedir=/nix/var}.
Note that @code{--disable-daemon} is orthogonal and is not required if
your goal is to share the same store as 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{Guix 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.
In a standard multi-user setup, Guix and its daemon---the
@command{guix-daemon} program---are installed by the system
administrator; @file{/nix/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 $i" guix-builder$i;
@end example
The @code{guix-daemon} program may then be run as @code{root} with:
# guix-daemon --build-users-group=guix-builder
@end example
Guix may also be used in a single-user setup, with @command{guix-daemon}
running as an unprivileged user. However, to maximize non-interference
of build processes, the daemon still needs to perform certain operations
that are restricted to @code{root} on GNU/Linux: it should be able to
run build processes in a chroot, and to run them under different UIDs.
To that end, the @command{nix-setuid-helper} program is provided; it is
a small C program (less than 300 lines) that, if it is made setuid
@code{root}, can be executed by the daemon to perform these operations
on its behalf. The @code{root}-owned @file{/etc/nix-setuid.conf} file
is read by @command{nix-setuid-helper}; it should contain exactly two
words: the user name under which the authorized @command{guix-daemon}
runs, and the name of the build users group.
If you are installing Guix as an unprivileged user and do not have the
ability to make @file{nix-setuid-helper} setuid-@code{root}, 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 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}.
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
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 --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 --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.
* Invoking guix gc:: Running the garbage collector.
* Invoking guix pull:: Fetching the latest Guix and distribution.
@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{/nix/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{/nix/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{/nix/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.
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
Finally, Guix takes a @dfn{purely functional} approach to package
management, as described in the introduction (@pxref{Introduction}).
Each @file{/nix/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, and helps maximize @dfn{reproducibility}.
@c FIXME: Remove footnote when it's implemented.
This foundation allows Guix to support @dfn{transparent binary/source
deployment}@footnote{This feature is not implemented as of version
@value{VERSION}. Please contact @email{bug-guix@@gnu.org} for more
details.}. When a pre-built binary for a @file{/nix/store} path is
available from an external source, Guix just downloads 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 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, @command{guix package} emits an error about it.
The @var{options} can be among the following:
@table @code
@item --install=@var{package}
@itemx -i @var{package}
Install @var{package}.
@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}.
@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.
@item --remove=@var{package}
@itemx -r @var{package}
Remove @var{package}.
@item --upgrade=@var{regexp}
@itemx -u @var{regexp}
Upgrade all the installed packages matching @var{regexp}.
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{empty
profile}, also known as @dfn{profile zero}---i.e., it 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 --profile=@var{profile}
@itemx -p @var{profile}
Use @var{profile} instead of the user's default profile.
@item --dry-run
@itemx -n
Show what would be done without actually doing it.
@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 currently installed packages in the specified profile. 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 (@code{out} for the main
files, @code{lib} for libraries and possibly headers, etc.), and the
source location of its definition.
@end table
@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{/nix/store} directory.
The garbage collector has a set of known @dfn{roots}: any file under
@file{/nix/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}).
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{/nix/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
@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 --bootstrap
Use the bootstrap Guile to build the latest Guix. This option is only
useful to Guix developers.
@end table
@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{/nix/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.
* The Store:: Manipulating the package store.
* Derivations:: Low-level interface to package derivations.
@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:
(use-modules (guix packages)
(guix download)
(guix build-system gnu)
(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)
(inputs `(("gawk" ,gawk)))
(synopsis "GNU Hello")
(description "Yeah...")
(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 @var{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)}
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. A convenient way to obtain this
information is with the @code{guix download} tool.
@cindex GNU Build System
The @code{build-system} field is set to @var{gnu-build-system}. The
@var{gnu-build-system} variable is defined in the @code{(guix
build-system gnu)} module, and is bound to a @code{<build-system>}
Naturally, @var{gnu-build-system} represents the familiar GNU Build
System, and variants thereof (@pxref{Configuration, configuration and
makefile conventions,, standards, GNU Coding Standards}). In a
nutshell, packages using the GNU Build System may be configured, built,
and installed with the usual @code{./configure && make && make check &&
make install} command sequence. This is what @var{gnu-build-system}
In addition, @var{gnu-build-system} ensures that the ``standard''
environment for GNU packages is available. This includes tools such as
GCC, Coreutils, Bash, Make, Diffutils, and Patch.
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.
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
There are other fields that package definitions may provide. Of
particular interest is the @code{arguments} field. When specified, it
must be bound to a list of additional arguments to be passed to the
build system. For instance, the above definition could be augmented
with the following field initializer:
(arguments `(#:tests? #f
#:configure-flags '("--enable-silent-rules")))
@end example
These are keyword arguments (@pxref{Optional Arguments, keyword
arguments in Guile,, guile, GNU Guile Reference Manual}). They are
passed to @var{gnu-build-system}, which interprets them as meaning ``do
not run @code{make check}'', and ``run @file{configure} with the
@code{--enable-silent-rules} flag''. The value of these keyword
parameters is actually evaluated in the @dfn{build stratum}---i.e., by a
Guile process launched by the daemon (@pxref{Derivations}).
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}).
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{/nix/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 derivation path and corresponding @code{<derivation>} object
of @var{package} for @var{system} (@pxref{Derivations}).
@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
@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{/nix/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 derivation paths), and return when
the worker is done building them. Return @code{#t} on success.
@end deffn
@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{system} @var{builder} @var{args} @var{env-vars} @var{inputs} [#:outputs '("out")] [#:hash #f] [#:hash-algo #f] [#:hash-mode #f]
Build a derivation with the given arguments. Return the resulting store
path and @code{<derivation>} object.
When @var{hash}, @var{hash-algo}, and @var{hash-mode} are given, a
@dfn{fixed-output derivation} is created---i.e., one whose result is
known in advance, such as a file download.
@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))
(lambda ()
(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" (%current-system)
bash `("-e" ,builder)
'(("HOME" . "/homeless")) '())))
@result{} ("/nix/store/@dots{}-foo.drv" #<<derivation> @dots{}>)
@end lisp
As can be guessed, this primitive is cumbersome to use directly. An
improved variant is @code{build-expression->derivation}, which allows
the caller to directly pass a Guile expression as the build script:
@deffn {Scheme Procedure} build-expression->derivation @var{store} @var{name} @var{system} @var{exp} @var{inputs} [#:outputs '("out")] [#:hash #f] [#:hash-algo #f] [#:env-vars '()] [#:modules '()] [#: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.
@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 /nix/store/@dots{}-goo
(call-with-output-file (string-append out "/test")
(lambda (p)
(display '(hello guix) p))))))
(build-expression->derivation store "goo" (%current-system)
builder '()))
@result{} "/nix/store/@dots{}-goo.drv"
@result{} #<<derivation> @dots{}>
@end lisp
@cindex strata of code
Remember that the build expression passed to
@code{build-expression->derivation} is run by a separate Guile process
than the one that calls @code{build-expression->derivation}: it is run
by a Guile process launched by the daemon, typically in a chroot. So,
while there is a single language for both the @dfn{host} and the build
side, there are really two @dfn{strata} of code: the host-side, and the
build-side code@footnote{The term @dfn{stratum} in this context was
coined by Manuel Serrano et al. in the context of their work on Hop.}.
This distinction is important to keep in mind, notably when using
higher-level constructs such as @var{gnu-build-system} (@pxref{Defining
Packages}). For this reason, Guix modules that are meant to be used in
the build stratum are kept in the @code{(guix build @dots{})} name
@c *********************************************************************
@node Utilities
@chapter Utilities
* Invoking guix build:: Building packages from the command line.
@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{/nix/store/@dots{}-coreutils-8.19.drv}. 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 needed.
The @var{options} may be zero or more of the following:
@table @code
@item --expression=@var{expr}
@itemx -e @var{expr}
Build the package @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.
@item --source
@itemx -S
Build the packages' source derivations, rather than the packages
For instance, @code{guix build -S gcc} returns something like
@file{/nix/store/@dots{}-gcc-4.7.2.tar.bz2}, which is GCC's source tarball.
@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 --derivations
@itemx -d
Return the derivation paths, not the output paths, of the given
@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 --no-substitutes
Build instead of resorting to pre-built substitutes.
@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.
@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 --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.
@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.
@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 form 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 seen by running @command{guix package} (@pxref{Invoking
guix package}):
guix package --list-available
@end example
The package definitions of the distribution may are provided by Guile
modules in the @code{(gnu packages ...)} name space---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)} module provides
facilities for searching for packages.
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. These are statically-linked binaries of the core
tools without which building anything at all would be impossible.
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.
Building this distribution is a cooperative effort, and you are invited
to join! Please get in touch with us on @email{bug-guix@@gnu.org}. We
welcome ideas, bug reports, patches, and anything that may be helpful to
the project.
@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
@c Local Variables:
@c ispell-local-dictionary: "american";
@c End: