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\input texinfo
@c -*-texinfo-*-
@c %**start of header
@setfilename guix-cookbook.info
@documentencoding UTF-8
@settitle GNU Guix Cookbook
@c %**end of header
Copyright @copyright{} 2019 Ricardo Wurmus@*
Copyright @copyright{} 2019 Efraim Flashner@*
Copyright @copyright{} 2019 Pierre Neidhardt@*
Copyright @copyright{} 2020 Oleg Pykhalov@*
Copyright @copyright{} 2020 Matthew Brooks@*
Copyright @copyright{} 2020 Marcin Karpezo@*
Copyright @copyright{} 2020 Brice Waegeneire@*
Copyright @copyright{} 2020 André Batista@*
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 System administration
* Guix cookbook: (guix-cookbook). Tutorials and examples for GNU Guix.
@end direntry
@title GNU Guix Cookbook
@subtitle Tutorials and examples for using the GNU Guix Functional Package Manager
@author The GNU Guix Developers
@vskip 0pt plus 1filll
@end titlepage
@c *********************************************************************
@node Top
@top GNU Guix Cookbook
This document presents tutorials and detailed examples for GNU@tie{}Guix, a
functional package management tool written for the GNU system. Please
@pxref{Top,,, guix, GNU Guix reference manual} for details about the system,
its API, and related concepts.
@c TRANSLATORS: You can replace the following paragraph with information on
@c how to join your own translation team and how to report issues with the
@c translation.
If you would like to translate this document in your native language, consider
joining the @uref{https://translationproject.org/domain/guix-cookbook.html,
Translation Project}.
* Scheme tutorials:: Meet your new favorite language!
* Packaging:: Packaging tutorials
* System Configuration:: Customizing the GNU System
* Advanced package management:: Power to the users!
* Acknowledgments:: Thanks!
* GNU Free Documentation License:: The license of this document.
* Concept Index:: Concepts.
--- The Detailed Node Listing ---
Scheme tutorials
* A Scheme Crash Course:: Learn the basics of Scheme
* Packaging Tutorial:: Let's add a package to Guix!
System Configuration
* Customizing the Kernel:: Creating and using a custom Linux kernel
@end detailmenu
@end menu
@c *********************************************************************
@node Scheme tutorials
@chapter Scheme tutorials
GNU@tie{}Guix is written in the general purpose programming language Scheme,
and many of its features can be accessed and manipulated programmatically.
You can use Scheme to generate package definitions, to modify them, to build
them, to deploy whole operating systems, etc.
Knowing the basics of how to program in Scheme will unlock many of the
advanced features Guix provides --- and you don't even need to be an
experienced programmer to use them!
Let's get started!
@node A Scheme Crash Course
@section A Scheme Crash Course
@cindex Scheme, crash course
Guix uses the Guile implementation of Scheme. To start playing with the
language, install it with @code{guix install guile} and start a
@dfn{REPL}---short for @uref{https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Read%E2%80%93eval%E2%80%93print_loop,
@dfn{read-eval-print loop}}---by running @code{guile} from the command line.
Alternatively you can also run @code{guix environment --ad-hoc guile -- guile}
if you'd rather not have Guile installed in your user profile.
In the following examples, lines show what you would type at the REPL;
lines starting with ``@result{}'' show evaluation results, while lines
starting with ``@print{}'' show things that get printed. @xref{Using Guile
Interactively,,, guile, GNU Guile Reference Manual}, for more details on the
Scheme syntax boils down to a tree of expressions (or @emph{s-expression} in
Lisp lingo). An expression can be a literal such as numbers and strings, or a
compound which is a parenthesized list of compounds and literals. @code{#t}
and @code{#f} stand for the Booleans ``true'' and ``false'', respectively.
Examples of valid expressions:
"Hello World!"
@result{} "Hello World!"
@result{} 17
(display (string-append "Hello " "Guix" "\n"))
@print{} Hello Guix!
@result{} #<unspecified>
@end lisp
This last example is a function call nested in another function call. When a
parenthesized expression is evaluated, the first term is the function and the
rest are the arguments passed to the function. Every function returns the
last evaluated expression as its return value.
Anonymous functions are declared with the @code{lambda} term:
(lambda (x) (* x x))
@result{} #<procedure 120e348 at <unknown port>:24:0 (x)>
@end lisp
The above procedure returns the square of its argument. Since everything is
an expression, the @code{lambda} expression returns an anonymous procedure,
which can in turn be applied to an argument:
((lambda (x) (* x x)) 3)
@result{} 9
@end lisp
Anything can be assigned a global name with @code{define}:
(define a 3)
(define square (lambda (x) (* x x)))
(square a)
@result{} 9
@end lisp
Procedures can be defined more concisely with the following syntax:
(define (square x) (* x x))
@end lisp
A list structure can be created with the @code{list} procedure:
(list 2 a 5 7)
@result{} (2 3 5 7)
@end lisp
The @dfn{quote} disables evaluation of a parenthesized expression: the
first term is not called over the other terms (@pxref{Expression Syntax,
quote,, guile, GNU Guile Reference Manual}). Thus it effectively
returns a list of terms.
'(display (string-append "Hello " "Guix" "\n"))
@result{} (display (string-append "Hello " "Guix" "\n"))
'(2 a 5 7)
@result{} (2 a 5 7)
@end lisp
The @dfn{quasiquote} disables evaluation of a parenthesized expression
until @dfn{unquote} (a comma) re-enables it. Thus it provides us with
fine-grained control over what is evaluated and what is not.
`(2 a 5 7 (2 ,a 5 ,(+ a 4)))
@result{} (2 a 5 7 (2 3 5 7))
@end lisp
Note that the above result is a list of mixed elements: numbers, symbols (here
@code{a}) and the last element is a list itself.
Multiple variables can be named locally with @code{let} (@pxref{Local
Bindings,,, guile, GNU Guile Reference Manual}):
(define x 10)
(let ((x 2)
(y 3))
(list x y))
@result{} (2 3)
@result{} 10
@error{} In procedure module-lookup: Unbound variable: y
@end lisp
Use @code{let*} to allow later variable declarations to refer to earlier
(let* ((x 2)
(y (* x 3)))
(list x y))
@result{} (2 6)
@end lisp
The keyword syntax is @code{#:}; it is used to create unique identifiers.
@pxref{Keywords,,, guile, GNU Guile Reference Manual}.
The percentage @code{%} is typically used for read-only global variables in
the build stage. Note that it is merely a convention, like @code{_} in C.
Scheme treats @code{%} exactly the same as any other letter.
Modules are created with @code{define-module} (@pxref{Creating Guile
Modules,,, guile, GNU Guile Reference Manual}). For instance
(define-module (guix build-system ruby)
#:use-module (guix store)
#:export (ruby-build
@end lisp
defines the module @code{guix build-system ruby} which must be located in
@file{guix/build-system/ruby.scm} somewhere in the Guile load path. It
depends on the @code{(guix store)} module and it exports two variables,
@code{ruby-build} and @code{ruby-build-system}.
@end itemize
For a more detailed introduction, check out
@uref{http://www.troubleshooters.com/codecorn/scheme_guile/hello.htm, Scheme
at a Glance}, by Steve Litt.
One of the reference Scheme books is the seminal ``Structure and
Interpretation of Computer Programs'', by Harold Abelson and Gerald Jay
Sussman, with Julie Sussman. You'll find a
@uref{https://mitpress.mit.edu/sites/default/files/sicp/index.html, free copy
online}, together with
videos of the lectures by the authors}. The book is available in Texinfo
format as the @code{sicp} Guix package. Go ahead, run @code{guix install
sicp} and start reading with @code{info sicp} (@pxref{,,, sicp, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs}).
An @uref{https://sarabander.github.io/sicp/, unofficial ebook is also
You'll find more books, tutorials and other resources at
@c *********************************************************************
@node Packaging
@chapter Packaging
@cindex packaging
This chapter is dedicated to teaching you how to add packages to the
collection of packages that come with GNU Guix. This involves writing package
definitions in Guile Scheme, organizing them in package modules, and building
* Packaging Tutorial:: A tutorial on how to add packages to Guix.
@end menu
@node Packaging Tutorial
@section Packaging Tutorial
GNU Guix stands out as the @emph{hackable} package manager, mostly because it
uses @uref{https://www.gnu.org/software/guile/, GNU Guile}, a powerful
high-level programming language, one of the
@uref{https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scheme_%28programming_language%29, Scheme}
dialects from the
@uref{https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisp_%28programming_language%29, Lisp family}.
Package definitions are also written in Scheme, which empowers Guix in some
very unique ways, unlike most other package managers that use shell scripts or
simple languages.
Use functions, structures, macros and all of Scheme expressiveness for your
package definitions.
Inheritance makes it easy to customize a package by inheriting from it and
modifying only what is needed.
Batch processing: the whole package collection can be parsed, filtered and
processed. Building a headless server with all graphical interfaces stripped
out? It's possible. Want to rebuild everything from source using specific
compiler optimization flags? Pass the @code{#:make-flags "..."} argument to
the list of packages. It wouldn't be a stretch to think
@uref{https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/USE_flag, Gentoo USE flags} here, but this
goes even further: the changes don't have to be thought out beforehand by the
packager, they can be @emph{programmed} by the user!
@end itemize
The following tutorial covers all the basics around package creation with Guix.
It does not assume much knowledge of the Guix system nor of the Lisp language.
The reader is only expected to be familiar with the command line and to have some
basic programming knowledge.
@node A ``Hello World'' package
@subsection A ``Hello World'' package
The ``Defining Packages'' section of the manual introduces the basics of Guix
packaging (@pxref{Defining Packages,,, guix, GNU Guix Reference Manual}). In
the following section, we will partly go over those basics again.
GNU@tie{}Hello is a dummy project that serves as an idiomatic example for
packaging. It uses the GNU build system (@code{./configure && make && make
install}). Guix already provides a package definition which is a perfect
example to start with. You can look up its declaration with @code{guix edit
hello} from the command line. Let's see how it looks:
(define-public hello
(name "hello")
(version "2.10")
(source (origin
(method url-fetch)
(uri (string-append "mirror://gnu/hello/hello-" version
(build-system gnu-build-system)
(synopsis "Hello, GNU world: An example GNU package")
"GNU Hello prints the message \"Hello, world!\" and then exits. It
serves as an example of standard GNU coding practices. As such, it supports
command-line arguments, multiple languages, and so on.")
(home-page "https://www.gnu.org/software/hello/")
(license gpl3+)))
@end lisp
As you can see, most of it is rather straightforward. But let's review the
fields together:
@table @samp
@item name
The project name. Using Scheme conventions, we prefer to keep it
lower case, without underscore and using dash-separated words.
@item source
This field contains a description of the source code origin. The
@code{origin} record contains these fields:
@item The method, here @code{url-fetch} to download via HTTP/FTP, but other methods
exist, such as @code{git-fetch} for Git repositories.
@item The URI, which is typically some @code{https://} location for @code{url-fetch}. Here
the special `mirror://gnu` refers to a set of well known locations, all of
which can be used by Guix to fetch the source, should some of them fail.
@item The @code{sha256} checksum of the requested file. This is essential to ensure
the source is not corrupted. Note that Guix works with base32 strings,
hence the call to the @code{base32} function.
@end enumerate
@item build-system
This is where the power of abstraction provided by the Scheme language really
shines: in this case, the @code{gnu-build-system} abstracts away the famous
@code{./configure && make && make install} shell invocations. Other build
systems include the @code{trivial-build-system} which does not do anything and
requires from the packager to program all the build steps, the
@code{python-build-system}, the @code{emacs-build-system}, and many more
(@pxref{Build Systems,,, guix, GNU Guix Reference Manual}).
@item synopsis
It should be a concise summary of what the package does. For many packages a
tagline from the project's home page can be used as the synopsis.
@item description
Same as for the synopsis, it's fine to re-use the project description from the
homepage. Note that Guix uses Texinfo syntax.
@item home-page
Use HTTPS if available.
@item license
See @code{guix/licenses.scm} in the project source for a full list of
available licenses.
@end table
Time to build our first package! Nothing fancy here for now: we will stick to a
dummy @code{my-hello}, a copy of the above declaration.
As with the ritualistic ``Hello World'' taught with most programming languages,
this will possibly be the most ``manual'' approach. We will work out an ideal
setup later; for now we will go the simplest route.
Save the following to a file @file{my-hello.scm}.
(use-modules (guix packages)
(guix download)
(guix build-system gnu)
(guix licenses))
(name "my-hello")
(version "2.10")
(source (origin
(method url-fetch)
(uri (string-append "mirror://gnu/hello/hello-" version
(build-system gnu-build-system)
(synopsis "Hello, Guix world: An example custom Guix package")
"GNU Hello prints the message \"Hello, world!\" and then exits. It
serves as an example of standard GNU coding practices. As such, it supports
command-line arguments, multiple languages, and so on.")
(home-page "https://www.gnu.org/software/hello/")
(license gpl3+))
@end lisp
We will explain the extra code in a moment.
Feel free to play with the different values of the various fields. If you
change the source, you'll need to update the checksum. Indeed, Guix refuses to
build anything if the given checksum does not match the computed checksum of the
source code. To obtain the correct checksum of the package declaration, we
need to download the source, compute the sha256 checksum and convert it to
Thankfully, Guix can automate this task for us; all we need is to provide the
@c TRANSLATORS: This is example shell output.
@example sh
$ guix download mirror://gnu/hello/hello-2.10.tar.gz
Starting download of /tmp/guix-file.JLYgL7
From https://ftpmirror.gnu.org/gnu/hello/hello-2.10.tar.gz...
following redirection to `https://mirror.ibcp.fr/pub/gnu/hello/hello-2.10.tar.gz'...
…10.tar.gz 709KiB 2.5MiB/s 00:00 [##################] 100.0%
@end example
In this specific case the output tells us which mirror was chosen.
If the result of the above command is not the same as in the above snippet,
update your @code{my-hello} declaration accordingly.
Note that GNU package tarballs come with an OpenPGP signature, so you
should definitely check the signature of this tarball with `gpg` to
authenticate it before going further:
@c TRANSLATORS: This is example shell output.
@example sh
$ guix download mirror://gnu/hello/hello-2.10.tar.gz.sig
Starting download of /tmp/guix-file.03tFfb
From https://ftpmirror.gnu.org/gnu/hello/hello-2.10.tar.gz.sig...
following redirection to `https://ftp.igh.cnrs.fr/pub/gnu/hello/hello-2.10.tar.gz.sig'...
….tar.gz.sig 819B 1.2MiB/s 00:00 [##################] 100.0%
$ gpg --verify /gnu/store/rzs8wba9ka7grrmgcpfyxvs58mly0sx6-hello-2.10.tar.gz.sig /gnu/store/hbdalsf5lpf01x4dcknwx6xbn6n5km6k-hello-2.10.tar.gz
gpg: Signature made Sun 16 Nov 2014 01:08:37 PM CET
gpg: using RSA key A9553245FDE9B739
gpg: Good signature from "Sami Kerola <kerolasa@@iki.fi>" [unknown]
gpg: aka "Sami Kerola (http://www.iki.fi/kerolasa/) <kerolasa@@iki.fi>" [unknown]
gpg: WARNING: This key is not certified with a trusted signature!
gpg: There is no indication that the signature belongs to the owner.
Primary key fingerprint: 8ED3 96E3 7E38 D471 A005 30D3 A955 3245 FDE9 B739
@end example
You can then happily run
@c TRANSLATORS: Do not translate this command
@example sh
$ guix package --install-from-file=my-hello.scm
@end example
You should now have @code{my-hello} in your profile!
@c TRANSLATORS: Do not translate this command
@example sh
$ guix package --list-installed=my-hello
my-hello 2.10 out
@end example
We've gone as far as we could without any knowledge of Scheme. Before moving
on to more complex packages, now is the right time to brush up on your Scheme
knowledge. @pxref{A Scheme Crash Course} to get up to speed.
@node Setup
@subsection Setup
In the rest of this chapter we will rely on some basic Scheme
programming knowledge. Now let's detail the different possible setups
for working on Guix packages.
There are several ways to set up a Guix packaging environment.
We recommend you work directly on the Guix source checkout since it makes it
easier for everyone to contribute to the project.
But first, let's look at other possibilities.
@node Local file
@subsubsection Local file
This is what we previously did with @samp{my-hello}. With the Scheme basics we've
covered, we are now able to explain the leading chunks. As stated in @code{guix
package --help}:
-f, --install-from-file=FILE
install the package that the code within FILE
evaluates to
@end example
Thus the last expression @emph{must} return a package, which is the case in our
earlier example.
The @code{use-modules} expression tells which of the modules we need in the file.
Modules are a collection of values and procedures. They are commonly called
``libraries'' or ``packages'' in other programming languages.
@node @samp{GUIX_PACKAGE_PATH}
@subsubsection @samp{GUIX_PACKAGE_PATH}
@emph{Note: Starting from Guix 0.16, the more flexible Guix @dfn{channels} are the
preferred way and supersede @samp{GUIX_PACKAGE_PATH}. See next section.}
It can be tedious to specify the file from the command line instead of simply
calling @code{guix package --install my-hello} as you would do with the official
Guix makes it possible to streamline the process by adding as many ``package
declaration directories'' as you want.
Create a directory, say @file{~./guix-packages} and add it to the @samp{GUIX_PACKAGE_PATH}
environment variable:
$ mkdir ~/guix-packages
$ export GUIX_PACKAGE_PATH=~/guix-packages
@end example
To add several directories, separate them with a colon (@code{:}).
Our previous @samp{my-hello} needs some adjustments though:
(define-module (my-hello)
#:use-module (guix licenses)
#:use-module (guix packages)
#:use-module (guix build-system gnu)
#:use-module (guix download))
(define-public my-hello
(name "my-hello")
(version "2.10")
(source (origin
(method url-fetch)
(uri (string-append "mirror://gnu/hello/hello-" version
(build-system gnu-build-system)
(synopsis "Hello, Guix world: An example custom Guix package")
"GNU Hello prints the message \"Hello, world!\" and then exits. It
serves as an example of standard GNU coding practices. As such, it supports
command-line arguments, multiple languages, and so on.")
(home-page "https://www.gnu.org/software/hello/")
(license gpl3+)))
@end lisp
Note that we have assigned the package value to an exported variable name with
@code{define-public}. This is effectively assigning the package to the @code{my-hello}
variable so that it can be referenced, among other as dependency of other
If you use @code{guix package --install-from-file=my-hello.scm} on the above file, it
will fail because the last expression, @code{define-public}, does not return a
package. If you want to use @code{define-public} in this use-case nonetheless, make
sure the file ends with an evaluation of @code{my-hello}:
; ...
(define-public my-hello
; ...
@end lisp
This last example is not very typical.
Now @samp{my-hello} should be part of the package collection like all other official
packages. You can verify this with:
$ guix package --show=my-hello
@end example
@node Guix channels
@subsubsection Guix channels
Guix 0.16 features channels, which is very similar to @samp{GUIX_PACKAGE_PATH} but
provides better integration and provenance tracking. Channels are not
necessarily local, they can be maintained as a public Git repository for
instance. Of course, several channels can be used at the same time.
@xref{Channels,,, guix, GNU Guix Reference Manual} for setup details.
@node Direct checkout hacking
@subsubsection Direct checkout hacking
Working directly on the Guix project is recommended: it reduces the friction
when the time comes to submit your changes upstream to let the community benefit
from your hard work!
Unlike most software distributions, the Guix repository holds in one place both
the tooling (including the package manager) and the package definitions. This
choice was made so that it would give developers the flexibility to modify the
API without breakage by updating all packages at the same time. This reduces
development inertia.
Check out the official @uref{https://git-scm.com/, Git} repository:
$ git clone https://git.savannah.gnu.org/git/guix.git
@end example
In the rest of this article, we use @samp{$GUIX_CHECKOUT} to refer to the location of
the checkout.
Follow the instructions in the manual (@pxref{Contributing,,, guix, GNU Guix
Reference Manual}) to set up the repository environment.
Once ready, you should be able to use the package definitions from the
repository environment.
Feel free to edit package definitions found in @samp{$GUIX_CHECKOUT/gnu/packages}.
The @samp{$GUIX_CHECKOUT/pre-inst-env} script lets you use @samp{guix} over the package
collection of the repository (@pxref{Running Guix Before It Is
Installed,,, guix, GNU Guix Reference Manual}).
Search packages, such as Ruby:
$ ./pre-inst-env guix package --list-available=ruby
ruby 1.8.7-p374 out gnu/packages/ruby.scm:119:2
ruby 2.1.6 out gnu/packages/ruby.scm:91:2
ruby 2.2.2 out gnu/packages/ruby.scm:39:2
@end example
Build a package, here Ruby version 2.1:
$ ./pre-inst-env guix build --keep-failed ruby@@2.1
@end example
Install it to your user profile:
$ ./pre-inst-env guix package --install ruby@@2.1
@end example
Check for common mistakes:
$ ./pre-inst-env guix lint ruby@@2.1
@end example
@end itemize
Guix strives at maintaining a high packaging standard; when contributing to the
Guix project, remember to
follow the coding style (@pxref{Coding Style,,, guix, GNU Guix Reference Manual}),
and review the check list from the manual (@pxref{Submitting Patches,,, guix, GNU Guix Reference Manual}).
@end itemize
Once you are happy with the result, you are welcome to send your contribution to
make it part of Guix. This process is also detailed in the manual. (@pxref{Contributing,,, guix, GNU Guix Reference Manual})
It's a community effort so the more join in, the better Guix becomes!
@node Extended example
@subsection Extended example
The above ``Hello World'' example is as simple as it goes. Packages can be more
complex than that and Guix can handle more advanced scenarios. Let's look at
another, more sophisticated package (slightly modified from the source):
(define-module (gnu packages version-control)
#:use-module ((guix licenses) #:prefix license:)
#:use-module (guix utils)
#:use-module (guix packages)
#:use-module (guix git-download)
#:use-module (guix build-system cmake)
#:use-module (gnu packages ssh)
#:use-module (gnu packages web)
#:use-module (gnu packages pkg-config)
#:use-module (gnu packages python)
#:use-module (gnu packages compression)
#:use-module (gnu packages tls))
(define-public my-libgit2
(let ((commit "e98d0a37c93574d2c6107bf7f31140b548c6a7bf")
(revision "1"))
(name "my-libgit2")
(version (git-version "0.26.6" revision commit))
(source (origin
(method git-fetch)
(uri (git-reference
(url "https://github.com/libgit2/libgit2/")
(commit commit)))
(file-name (git-file-name name version))
(patches (search-patches "libgit2-mtime-0.patch"))
(modules '((guix build utils)))
(snippet '(begin
;; Remove bundled software.
(delete-file-recursively "deps")
(build-system cmake-build-system)
(outputs '("out" "debug"))
`(#:tests? #t ; Run the test suite (this is the default)
#:configure-flags '("-DUSE_SHA1DC=ON") ; SHA-1 collision detection
(modify-phases %standard-phases
(add-after 'unpack 'fix-hardcoded-paths
(lambda _
(substitute* "tests/repo/init.c"
(("#!/bin/sh") (string-append "#!" (which "sh"))))
(substitute* "tests/clar/fs.h"
(("/bin/cp") (which "cp"))
(("/bin/rm") (which "rm")))
;; Run checks more verbosely.
(replace 'check
(lambda _ (invoke "./libgit2_clar" "-v" "-Q")))
(add-after 'unpack 'make-files-writable-for-tests
(lambda _ (for-each make-file-writable (find-files "." ".*")))))))
`(("libssh2" ,libssh2)
("http-parser" ,http-parser)
("python" ,python-wrapper)))
`(("pkg-config" ,pkg-config)))
;; These two libraries are in 'Requires.private' in libgit2.pc.
`(("openssl" ,openssl)
("zlib" ,zlib)))
(home-page "https://libgit2.github.com/")
(synopsis "Library providing Git core methods")
"Libgit2 is a portable, pure C implementation of the Git core methods
provided as a re-entrant linkable library with a solid API, allowing you to
write native speed custom Git applications in any language with bindings.")
;; GPLv2 with linking exception
(license license:gpl2))))
@end lisp
(In those cases were you only want to tweak a few fields from a package
definition, you should rely on inheritance instead of copy-pasting everything.
See below.)
Let's discuss those fields in depth.
@subsubsection @code{git-fetch} method
Unlike the @code{url-fetch} method, @code{git-fetch} expects a @code{git-reference} which takes
a Git repository and a commit. The commit can be any Git reference such as
tags, so if the @code{version} is tagged, then it can be used directly. Sometimes
the tag is prefixed with a @code{v}, in which case you'd use @code{(commit (string-append
"v" version))}.
To ensure that the source code from the Git repository is stored in a
directory with a descriptive name, we use @code{(file-name (git-file-name name
The @code{git-version} procedure can be used to derive the
version when packaging programs for a specific commit, following the
Guix contributor guidelines (@pxref{Version Numbers,,, guix, GNU Guix
Reference Manual}).
How does one obtain the @code{sha256} hash that's in there, you ask? By
invoking @command{guix hash} on a checkout of the desired commit, along
these lines:
git clone https://github.com/libgit2/libgit2/
cd libgit2
git checkout v0.26.6
guix hash -rx .
@end example
@command{guix hash -rx} computes a SHA256 hash over the whole directory,
excluding the @file{.git} sub-directory (@pxref{Invoking guix hash,,,
guix, GNU Guix Reference Manual}).
In the future, @command{guix download} will hopefully be able to do
these steps for you, just like it does for regular downloads.
@subsubsection Snippets
Snippets are quoted (i.e. non-evaluated) Scheme code that are a means of patching
the source. They are a Guix-y alternative to the traditional @file{.patch} files.
Because of the quote, the code in only evaluated when passed to the Guix daemon
for building. There can be as many snippets as needed.
Snippets might need additional Guile modules which can be imported from the
@code{modules} field.
@subsubsection Inputs
First, a syntactic comment: See the quasi-quote / comma syntax?
`(("pkg-config" ,pkg-config)))
@end lisp
is equivalent to
(list (list "pkg-config" pkg-config)))
@end lisp
You'll mostly see the former because it's shorter.
There are 3 different input types. In short:
@table @asis
@item native-inputs
Required for building but not runtime -- installing a package
through a substitute won't install these inputs.
@item inputs
Installed in the store but not in the profile, as well as being
present at build time.
@item propagated-inputs
Installed in the store and in the profile, as well as
being present at build time.
@end table
@xref{Package Reference,,, guix, GNU Guix Reference Manual} for more details.
The distinction between the various inputs is important: if a dependency can be
handled as an @emph{input} instead of a @emph{propagated input}, it should be done so, or
else it ``pollutes'' the user profile for no good reason.
For instance, a user installing a graphical program that depends on a
command line tool might only be interested in the graphical part, so there is no
need to force the command line tool into the user profile. The dependency is a
concern to the package, not to the user. @emph{Inputs} make it possible to handle
dependencies without bugging the user by adding undesired executable files (or
libraries) to their profile.
Same goes for @emph{native-inputs}: once the program is installed, build-time
dependencies can be safely garbage-collected.
It also matters when a substitute is available, in which case only the @emph{inputs}
and @emph{propagated inputs} will be fetched: the @emph{native inputs} are not required to
install a package from a substitute.
@subsubsection Outputs
Just like how a package can have multiple inputs, it can also produce multiple
Each output corresponds to a separate directory in the store.
The user can choose which output to install; this is useful to save space or
to avoid polluting the user profile with unwanted executables or libraries.
Output separation is optional. When the @code{outputs} field is left out, the
default and only output (the complete package) is referred to as @code{"out"}.
Typical separate output names include @code{debug} and @code{doc}.
It's advised to separate outputs only when you've shown it's worth it: if the
output size is significant (compare with @code{guix size}) or in case the package is
@subsubsection Build system arguments
The @code{arguments} is a keyword-value list used to configure the build process.
The simplest argument @code{#:tests?} can be used to disable the test suite when
building the package. This is mostly useful when the package does not feature
any test suite. It's strongly recommended to keep the test suite on if there is
Another common argument is @code{:make-flags}, which specifies a list of flags to
append when running make, as you would from the command line. For instance, the
following flags
#:make-flags (list (string-append "prefix=" (assoc-ref %outputs "out"))
@end lisp
translate into
$ make CC=gcc prefix=/gnu/store/...-<out>
@end example
This sets the C compiler to @code{gcc} and the @code{prefix} variable (the installation
directory in Make parlance) to @code{(assoc-ref %outputs "out")}, which is a build-stage
global variable pointing to the destination directory in the store (something like
Similarly, it's possible to set the configure flags:
#:configure-flags '("-DUSE_SHA1DC=ON")
@end lisp
The @code{%build-inputs} variable is also generated in scope. It's an association
table that maps the input names to their store directories.
The @code{phases} keyword lists the sequential steps of the build system. Typically
phases include @code{unpack}, @code{configure}, @code{build}, @code{install} and @code{check}. To know
more about those phases, you need to work out the appropriate build system
definition in @samp{$GUIX_CHECKOUT/guix/build/gnu-build-system.scm}:
(define %standard-phases
;; Standard build phases, as a list of symbol/procedure pairs.
(let-syntax ((phases (syntax-rules ()
((_ p ...) `((p . ,p) ...)))))
(phases set-SOURCE-DATE-EPOCH set-paths install-locale unpack
patch-source-shebangs configure patch-generated-file-shebangs
build check install
patch-shebangs strip
@end lisp
Or from the REPL:
(add-to-load-path "/path/to/guix/checkout")
,use (guix build gnu-build-system)
(map first %standard-phases)
@result{} (set-SOURCE-DATE-EPOCH set-paths install-locale unpack bootstrap patch-usr-bin-file patch-source-shebangs configure patch-generated-file-shebangs build check install patch-shebangs strip validate-runpath validate-documentation-location delete-info-dir-file patch-dot-desktop-files install-license-files reset-gzip-timestamps compress-documentation)
@end lisp
If you want to know more about what happens during those phases, consult the
associated procedures.
For instance, as of this writing the definition of @code{unpack} for the GNU build
system is
(define* (unpack #:key source #:allow-other-keys)
"Unpack SOURCE in the working directory, and change directory within the
source. When SOURCE is a directory, copy it in a sub-directory of the current
working directory."
(if (file-is-directory? source)
(mkdir "source")
(chdir "source")
;; Preserve timestamps (set to the Epoch) on the copied tree so that
;; things work deterministically.
(copy-recursively source "."
#:keep-mtime? #t))
(if (string-suffix? ".zip" source)
(invoke "unzip" source)
(invoke "tar" "xvf" source))
(chdir (first-subdirectory "."))))
@end lisp
Note the @code{chdir} call: it changes the working directory to where the source was
Thus every phase following the @code{unpack} will use the source as a working
directory, which is why we can directly work on the source files.
That is to say, unless a later phase changes the working directory to something
We modify the list of @code{%standard-phases} of the build system with the
@code{modify-phases} macro as per the list of specified modifications, which may have
the following forms:
@code{(add-before PHASE NEW-PHASE PROCEDURE)}: Run @code{PROCEDURE} named @code{NEW-PHASE} before @code{PHASE}.
@code{(add-after PHASE NEW-PHASE PROCEDURE)}: Same, but afterwards.
@code{(replace PHASE PROCEDURE)}.
@code{(delete PHASE)}.
@end itemize
The @code{PROCEDURE} supports the keyword arguments @code{inputs} and @code{outputs}. Each
input (whether @emph{native}, @emph{propagated} or not) and output directory is referenced
by their name in those variables. Thus @code{(assoc-ref outputs "out")} is the store
directory of the main output of the package. A phase procedure may look like
(lambda* (#:key inputs outputs #:allow-other-keys)
(let (((bash-directory (assoc-ref inputs "bash"))
(output-directory (assoc-ref outputs "out"))
(doc-directory (assoc-ref outputs "doc"))
; ...
@end lisp
The procedure must return @code{#t} on success. It's brittle to rely on the return
value of the last expression used to tweak the phase because there is no
guarantee it would be a @code{#t}. Hence the trailing @code{#t} to ensure the right value
is returned on success.
@subsubsection Code staging
The astute reader may have noticed the quasi-quote and comma syntax in the
argument field. Indeed, the build code in the package declaration should not be
evaluated on the client side, but only when passed to the Guix daemon. This
mechanism of passing code around two running processes is called @uref{https://arxiv.org/abs/1709.00833, code staging}.
@subsubsection Utility functions
When customizing @code{phases}, we often need to write code that mimics the
equivalent system invocations (@code{make}, @code{mkdir}, @code{cp}, etc.)@: commonly used during
regular ``Unix-style'' installations.
Some like @code{chmod} are native to Guile.
@xref{,,, guile, Guile reference manual} for a complete list.
Guix provides additional helper functions which prove especially handy in the
context of package management.
Some of those functions can be found in
@samp{$GUIX_CHECKOUT/guix/guix/build/utils.scm}. Most of them mirror the behaviour
of the traditional Unix system commands:
@table @asis
@item which
Like the @samp{which} system command.
@item find-files
Akin to the @samp{find} system command.
@item mkdir-p
Like @samp{mkdir -p}, which creates all parents as needed.
@item install-file
Similar to @samp{install} when installing a file to a (possibly
non-existing) directory. Guile has @code{copy-file} which works
like @samp{cp}.
@item copy-recursively
Like @samp{cp -r}.
@item delete-file-recursively
Like @samp{rm -rf}.
@item invoke
Run an executable. This should be used instead of @code{system*}.
@item with-directory-excursion
Run the body in a different working directory,
then restore the previous working directory.
@item substitute*
A ``@command{sed}-like'' function.
@end table
@subsubsection Module prefix
The license in our last example needs a prefix: this is because of how the
@code{license} module was imported in the package, as @code{#:use-module ((guix licenses)
#:prefix license:)}. The Guile module import mechanism
(@pxref{Using Guile Modules,,, guile, Guile reference manual})
gives the user full control over namespacing: this is needed to avoid
clashes between, say, the
@samp{zlib} variable from @samp{licenses.scm} (a @emph{license} value) and the @samp{zlib} variable
from @samp{compression.scm} (a @emph{package} value).
@node Other build systems
@subsection Other build systems
What we've seen so far covers the majority of packages using a build system
other than the @code{trivial-build-system}. The latter does not automate anything
and leaves you to build everything manually. This can be more demanding and we
won't cover it here for now, but thankfully it is rarely necessary to fall back
on this system.
For the other build systems, such as ASDF, Emacs, Perl, Ruby and many more, the
process is very similar to the GNU build system except for a few specialized
@xref{Build Systems,,, guix, GNU Guix Reference Manual}, for more
information on build systems, or check the source code in the
@samp{$GUIX_CHECKOUT/guix/build} and
@samp{$GUIX_CHECKOUT/guix/build-system} directories.
@node Programmable and automated package definition
@subsection Programmable and automated package definition
We can't repeat it enough: having a full-fledged programming language at hand
empowers us in ways that reach far beyond traditional package management.
Let's illustrate this with some awesome features of Guix!
@node Recursive importers
@subsubsection Recursive importers
You might find some build systems good enough that there is little to do at all
to write a package, to the point that it becomes repetitive and tedious after a
while. A @emph{raison d'être} of computers is to replace human beings at those
boring tasks. So let's tell Guix to do this for us and create the package
definition of an R package from CRAN (the output is trimmed for conciseness):
$ guix import cran --recursive walrus
(define-public r-mc2d
; ...
(license gpl2+)))
(define-public r-jmvcore
; ...
(license gpl2+)))
(define-public r-wrs2
; ...
(license gpl3)))
(define-public r-walrus
(name "r-walrus")
(version "1.0.3")
(method url-fetch)
(uri (cran-uri "walrus" version))
(build-system r-build-system)
`(("r-ggplot2" ,r-ggplot2)
("r-jmvcore" ,r-jmvcore)
("r-r6" ,r-r6)
("r-wrs2" ,r-wrs2)))
(home-page "https://github.com/jamovi/walrus")
(synopsis "Robust Statistical Methods")
"This package provides a toolbox of common robust statistical
tests, including robust descriptives, robust t-tests, and robust ANOVA.
It is also available as a module for 'jamovi' (see
<https://www.jamovi.org> for more information). Walrus is based on the
WRS2 package by Patrick Mair, which is in turn based on the scripts and
work of Rand Wilcox. These analyses are described in depth in the book
'Introduction to Robust Estimation & Hypothesis Testing'.")
(license gpl3)))
@end example
The recursive importer won't import packages for which Guix already has package
definitions, except for the very first.
Not all applications can be packaged this way, only those relying on a select
number of supported systems. Read about the full list of importers in
the guix import section of the manual
(@pxref{Invoking guix import,,, guix, GNU Guix Reference Manual}).
@node Automatic update
@subsubsection Automatic update
Guix can be smart enough to check for updates on systems it knows. It can
report outdated package definitions with
$ guix refresh hello
@end example
In most cases, updating a package to a newer version requires little more than
changing the version number and the checksum. Guix can do that automatically as
$ guix refresh hello --update
@end example
@node Inheritance
@subsubsection Inheritance
If you've started browsing the existing package definitions, you might have
noticed that a significant number of them have a @code{inherit} field:
(define-public adwaita-icon-theme
(package (inherit gnome-icon-theme)
(name "adwaita-icon-theme")
(version "3.26.1")
(source (origin
(method url-fetch)
(uri (string-append "mirror://gnome/sources/" name "/"
(version-major+minor version) "/"
name "-" version ".tar.xz"))
`(("gtk-encode-symbolic-svg" ,gtk+ "bin")))))
@end lisp
All unspecified fields are inherited from the parent package. This is very
convenient to create alternative packages, for instance with different source,
version or compilation options.
@node Getting help
@subsection Getting help
Sadly, some applications can be tough to package. Sometimes they need a patch to
work with the non-standard filesystem hierarchy enforced by the store.
Sometimes the tests won't run properly. (They can be skipped but this is not
recommended.) Other times the resulting package won't be reproducible.
Should you be stuck, unable to figure out how to fix any sort of packaging
issue, don't hesitate to ask the community for help.
See the @uref{https://www.gnu.org/software/guix/contact/, Guix homepage} for information on the mailing lists, IRC, etc.
@node Conclusion
@subsection Conclusion
This tutorial was a showcase of the sophisticated package management that Guix
boasts. At this point we have mostly restricted this introduction to the
@code{gnu-build-system} which is a core abstraction layer on which more advanced
abstractions are based.
Where do we go from here? Next we ought to dissect the innards of the build
system by removing all abstractions, using the @code{trivial-build-system}: this
should give us a thorough understanding of the process before investigating some
more advanced packaging techniques and edge cases.
Other features worth exploring are the interactive editing and debugging
capabilities of Guix provided by the Guile REPL@.
Those fancy features are completely optional and can wait; now is a good time
to take a well-deserved break. With what we've introduced here you should be
well armed to package lots of programs. You can get started right away and
hopefully we will see your contributions soon!
@node References
@subsection References
The @uref{https://www.gnu.org/software/guix/manual/en/html_node/Defining-Packages.html, package reference in the manual}
@uref{https://gitlab.com/pjotrp/guix-notes/blob/master/HACKING.org, Pjotr’s hacking guide to GNU Guix}
@uref{https://www.gnu.org/software/guix/guix-ghm-andreas-20130823.pdf, ``GNU Guix: Package without a scheme!''}, by Andreas Enge
@end itemize
@c *********************************************************************
@node System Configuration
@chapter System Configuration
Guix offers a flexible language for declaratively configuring your Guix
System. This flexibility can at times be overwhelming. The purpose of this
chapter is to demonstrate some advanced configuration concepts.
@pxref{System Configuration,,, guix, GNU Guix Reference Manual} for a complete
* Customizing the Kernel:: Creating and using a custom Linux kernel on Guix System.
* Connecting to Wireguard VPN:: Connecting to a Wireguard VPN.
* Customizing a Window Manager:: Handle customization of a Window manager on Guix System.
* Setting up a bind mount:: Setting up a bind mount in the file-systems definition.
* Getting substitutes from Tor:: Configuring Guix daemon to get substitutes through Tor.
@end menu
@node Customizing the Kernel
@section Customizing the Kernel
Guix is, at its core, a source based distribution with substitutes
(@pxref{Substitutes,,, guix, GNU Guix Reference Manual}), and as such building
packages from their source code is an expected part of regular package
installations and upgrades. Given this starting point, it makes sense that
efforts are made to reduce the amount of time spent compiling packages, and
recent changes and upgrades to the building and distribution of substitutes
continues to be a topic of discussion within Guix.
The kernel, while not requiring an overabundance of RAM to build, does take a
rather long time on an average machine. The official kernel configuration, as
is the case with many GNU/Linux distributions, errs on the side of
inclusiveness, and this is really what causes the build to take such a long
time when the kernel is built from source.
The Linux kernel, however, can also just be described as a regular old
package, and as such can be customized just like any other package. The
procedure is a little bit different, although this is primarily due to the
nature of how the package definition is written.
The @code{linux-libre} kernel package definition is actually a procedure which
creates a package.
(define* (make-linux-libre version hash supported-systems
;; A function that takes an arch and a variant.
;; See kernel-config for an example.
(extra-version #f)
(configuration-file #f)
(defconfig "defconfig")
(extra-options %default-extra-linux-options)
(patches (list %boot-logo-patch)))
@end lisp
The current @code{linux-libre} package is for the 5.1.x series, and is
declared like this:
(define-public linux-libre
(make-linux-libre %linux-libre-version
'("x86_64-linux" "i686-linux" "armhf-linux" "aarch64-linux")
#:patches %linux-libre-5.1-patches
#:configuration-file kernel-config))
@end lisp
Any keys which are not assigned values inherit their default value from the
@code{make-linux-libre} definition. When comparing the two snippets above,
you may notice that the code comment in the first doesn't actually refer to
the @code{#:extra-version} keyword; it is actually for
@code{#:configuration-file}. Because of this, it is not actually easy to
include a custom kernel configuration from the definition, but don't worry,
there are other ways to work with what we do have.
There are two ways to create a kernel with a custom kernel configuration. The
first is to provide a standard @file{.config} file during the build process by
including an actual @file{.config} file as a native input to our custom
kernel. The following is a snippet from the custom @code{'configure} phase of
the @code{make-linux-libre} package definition:
(let ((build (assoc-ref %standard-phases 'build))
(config (assoc-ref (or native-inputs inputs) "kconfig")))
;; Use a custom kernel configuration file or a default
;; configuration file.
(if config
(copy-file config ".config")
(chmod ".config" #o666))
(invoke "make" ,defconfig))
@end lisp
Below is a sample kernel package. The @code{linux-libre} package is nothing
special and can be inherited from and have its fields overridden like any
other package:
(define-public linux-libre/E2140
(inherit linux-libre)
`(("kconfig" ,(local-file "E2140.config"))
,@@(alist-delete "kconfig"
(package-native-inputs linux-libre))))))
@end lisp
In the same directory as the file defining @code{linux-libre-E2140} is a file
named @file{E2140.config}, which is an actual kernel configuration file. The
@code{defconfig} keyword of @code{make-linux-libre} is left blank here, so the
only kernel configuration in the package is the one which was included in the
@code{native-inputs} field.
The second way to create a custom kernel is to pass a new value to the
@code{extra-options} keyword of the @code{make-linux-libre} procedure. The
@code{extra-options} keyword works with another function defined right below
(define %default-extra-linux-options
`(;; https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/guix-devel/2014-04/msg00039.html
;; Modules required for initrd:
("CONFIG_NET_9P" . m)
("CONFIG_9P_FS" . m)))
(define (config->string options)
(string-join (map (match-lambda
((option . 'm)
(string-append option "=m"))
((option . #t)
(string-append option "=y"))
((option . #f)
(string-append option "=n")))
@end lisp
And in the custom configure script from the `make-linux-libre` package:
;; Appending works even when the option wasn't in the
;; file. The last one prevails if duplicated.
(let ((port (open-file ".config" "a"))
(extra-configuration ,(config->string extra-options)))
(display extra-configuration port)
(close-port port))
(invoke "make" "oldconfig"))))
@end lisp
So by not providing a configuration-file the @file{.config} starts blank, and
then we write into it the collection of flags that we want. Here's another
custom kernel:
(define %macbook41-full-config
(append %macbook41-config-options
(@@@@ (gnu packages linux) %default-extra-linux-options)))
(define-public linux-libre-macbook41
;; XXX: Access the internal 'make-linux-libre' procedure, which is
;; private and unexported, and is liable to change in the future.
((@@@@ (gnu packages linux) make-linux-libre) (@@@@ (gnu packages linux) %linux-libre-version)
(@@@@ (gnu packages linux) %linux-libre-hash)
#:extra-version "macbook41"
#:patches (@@@@ (gnu packages linux) %linux-libre-5.1-patches)
#:extra-options %macbook41-config-options))
@end lisp
In the above example @code{%filesystems} is a collection of flags enabling
different filesystem support, @code{%efi-support} enables EFI support and
@code{%emulation} enables a x86_64-linux machine to act in 32-bit mode also.
@code{%default-extra-linux-options} are the ones quoted above, which had to be
added in since they were replaced in the @code{extra-options} keyword.
This all sounds like it should be doable, but how does one even know which
modules are required for a particular system? Two places that can be helpful
in trying to answer this question is the
@uref{https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Handbook:AMD64/Installation/Kernel, Gentoo
Handbook} and the
documentation from the kernel itself}. From the kernel documentation, it
seems that @code{make localmodconfig} is the command we want.
In order to actually run @code{make localmodconfig} we first need to get and
unpack the kernel source code:
@example shell
tar xf $(guix build linux-libre --source)
@end example
Once inside the directory containing the source code run @code{touch .config}
to create an initial, empty @file{.config} to start with. @code{make
localmodconfig} works by seeing what you already have in @file{.config} and
letting you know what you're missing. If the file is blank then you're
missing everything. The next step is to run:
@example shell
guix environment linux-libre -- make localmodconfig
@end example
and note the output. Do note that the @file{.config} file is still empty.
The output generally contains two types of warnings. The first start with
"WARNING" and can actually be ignored in our case. The second read:
@example shell
module pcspkr did not have configs CONFIG_INPUT_PCSPKR
@end example
For each of these lines, copy the @code{CONFIG_XXXX_XXXX} portion into the
@file{.config} in the directory, and append @code{=m}, so in the end it looks
like this:
@example shell
@end example
After copying all the configuration options, run @code{make localmodconfig}
again to make sure that you don't have any output starting with ``module''.
After all of these machine specific modules there are a couple more left that
are also needed. @code{CONFIG_MODULES} is necessary so that you can build and
load modules separately and not have everything built into the kernel.
@code{CONFIG_BLK_DEV_SD} is required for reading from hard drives. It is
possible that there are other modules which you will need.
This post does not aim to be a guide to configuring your own kernel however,
so if you do decide to build a custom kernel you'll have to seek out other
guides to create a kernel which is just right for your needs.
The second way to setup the kernel configuration makes more use of Guix's
features and allows you to share configuration segments between different
kernels. For example, all machines using EFI to boot have a number of EFI
configuration flags that they need. It is likely that all the kernels will
share a list of filesystems to support. By using variables it is easier to
see at a glance what features are enabled and to make sure you don't have
features in one kernel but missing in another.
Left undiscussed however, is Guix's initrd and its customization. It is
likely that you'll need to modify the initrd on a machine using a custom
kernel, since certain modules which are expected to be built may not be
available for inclusion into the initrd.
@node Connecting to Wireguard VPN
@section Connecting to Wireguard VPN
To connect to a Wireguard VPN server you need the kernel module to be
loaded in memory and a package providing networking tools that support
it (e.g. @code{wireguard-tools} or @code{network-manager}).
Here is a configuration example for Linux-Libre < 5.6, where the module
is out of tree and need to be loaded manually---following revisions of
the kernel have it built-in and so don't need such configuration:
(use-modules (gnu))
(use-service-modules desktop)
(use-package-modules vpn)
;; …
(services (cons (simple-service 'wireguard-module
(packages (cons wireguard-tools %base-packages))
(kernel-loadable-modules (list wireguard-linux-compat)))
@end lisp
After reconfiguring and restarting your system you can either use
Wireguard tools or NetworkManager to connect to a VPN server.
@subsection Using Wireguard tools
To test your Wireguard setup it is convenient to use @command{wg-quick}.
Just give it a configuration file @command{wg-quick up ./wg0.conf}; or
put that file in @file{/etc/wireguard} and run @command{wg-quick up wg0}
@quotation Note
Be warned that the author described this command as a: “[…] very quick
and dirty bash script […]�.
@end quotation
@subsection Using NetworkManager
Thanks to NetworkManager support for Wireguard we can connect to our VPN
using @command{nmcli} command. Up to this point this guide assumes that
you're using Network Manager service provided by
@code{%desktop-services}. Ortherwise you need to adjust your services
list to load @code{network-manager-service-type} and reconfigure your
Guix system.
To import your VPN configuration execute nmcli import command:
@example shell
# nmcli connection import type wireguard file wg0.conf
Connection 'wg0' (edbee261-aa5a-42db-b032-6c7757c60fde) successfully added
@end example
This will create a configuration file in
@file{/etc/NetworkManager/wg0.nmconnection}. Next connect to the
Wireguard server:
@example shell
$ nmcli connection up wg0
Connection successfully activated (D-Bus active path: /org/freedesktop/NetworkManager/ActiveConnection/6)
@end example
By default NetworkManager will connect automatically on system boot. To
change that behaviour you need to edit your config:
@example shell
# nmcli connection modify wg0 connection.autoconnect no
@end example
For more specific information about NetworkManager and wireguard
this post by thaller}.
@node Customizing a Window Manager
@section Customizing a Window Manager
@cindex wm
@node StumpWM
@subsection StumpWM
@cindex stumpwm
You could install StumpWM with a Guix system by adding
@code{stumpwm} and optionally @code{`(,stumpwm "lib")}
packages to a system configuration file, e.g.@: @file{/etc/config.scm}.
An example configuration can look like this:
(use-modules (gnu))
(use-package-modules wm)
;; …
(packages (append (list sbcl stumpwm `(,stumpwm "lib"))
@end lisp
@cindex stumpwm fonts
By default StumpWM uses X11 fonts, which could be small or pixelated on
your system. You could fix this by installing StumpWM contrib Lisp
module @code{sbcl-ttf-fonts}, adding it to Guix system packages:
(use-modules (gnu))
(use-package-modules fonts wm)
;; …
(packages (append (list sbcl stumpwm `(,stumpwm "lib"))
sbcl-ttf-fonts font-dejavu %base-packages)))
@end lisp
Then you need to add the following code to a StumpWM configuration file
(require :ttf-fonts)
(setf xft:*font-dirs* '("/run/current-system/profile/share/fonts/"))
(setf clx-truetype:+font-cache-filename+ (concat (getenv "HOME") "/.fonts/font-cache.sexp"))
(set-font (make-instance 'xft:font :family "DejaVu Sans Mono" :subfamily "Book" :size 11))
@end lisp
@node Session lock
@subsection Session lock
@cindex sessionlock
Depending on your environment, locking the screen of your session might come built in
or it might be something you have to set up yourself. If you use a desktop environment
like GNOME or KDE, it's usually built in. If you use a plain window manager like
StumpWM or EXWM, you might have to set it up yourself.
@node Xorg
@subsubsection Xorg
If you use Xorg, you can use the utility
@uref{https://www.mankier.com/1/xss-lock, xss-lock} to lock the screen of your session.
xss-lock is triggered by DPMS which since Xorg 1.8 is auto-detected and enabled if
ACPI is also enabled at kernel runtime.
To use xss-lock, you can simple execute it and put it into the background before
you start your window manager from e.g. your @file{~/.xsession}:
xss-lock -- slock &
exec stumpwm
@end example
In this example, xss-lock uses @code{slock} to do the actual locking of the screen when
it determines it's appropriate, like when you suspend your device.
For slock to be allowed to be a screen locker for the graphical session, it needs to
be made setuid-root so it can authenticate users, and it needs a PAM service. This
can be achieved by adding the following service to your @file{config.scm}:
(screen-locker-service slock)
@end lisp
If you manually lock your screen, e.g. by directly calling slock when you want to lock
your screen but not suspend it, it's a good idea to notify xss-lock about this so no
confusion occurs. This can be done by executing @code{xset s activate} immediately
before you execute slock.
@node Setting up a bind mount
@section Setting up a bind mount
To bind mount a file system, one must first set up some definitions
before the @code{operating-system} section of the system definition. In
this example we will bind mount a folder from a spinning disk drive to
@file{/tmp}, to save wear and tear on the primary SSD, without
dedicating an entire partition to be mounted as @file{/tmp}.
First, the source drive that hosts the folder we wish to bind mount
should be defined, so that the bind mount can depend on it.
(define source-drive ;; "source-drive" can be named anything you want.
(device (uuid "UUID goes here"))
(mount-point "/path-to-spinning-disk-goes-here")
(type "ext4"))) ;; Make sure to set this to the appropriate type for your drive.
@end lisp
The source folder must also be defined, so that guix will know it's not
a regular block device, but a folder.
(define (%source-directory) "/path-to-spinning-disk-goes-here/tmp") ;; "source-directory" can be named any valid variable name.
@end lisp
Finally, inside the @code{file-systems} definition, we must add the
mount itself.
(file-systems (cons*
...<other drives omitted for clarity>...
source-drive ;; Must match the name you gave the source drive in the earlier definition.
(device (%source-directory)) ;; Make sure "source-directory" matches your earlier definition.
(mount-point "/tmp")
(type "none") ;; We are mounting a folder, not a partition, so this type needs to be "none"
(flags '(bind-mount))
(dependencies (list source-drive)) ;; Ensure "source-drive" matches what you've named the variable for the drive.
...<other drives omitted for clarity>...
@end lisp
@node Getting substitutes from Tor
@section Getting substitutes from Tor
Guix daemon can use a HTTP proxy to get substitutes, here we are
configuring it to get them via Tor.
@quotation Warning
@emph{Not all} Guix daemon's traffic will go through Tor! Only
HTTP/HTTPS will get proxied; FTP, Git protocol, SSH, etc connections
will still go through the clearnet. Again, this configuration isn't
foolproof some of your traffic won't get routed by Tor at all. Use it
at your own risk.
Also note that the procedure described here applies only to package
substitution. When you update your guix distribution with
@command{guix pull}, you still need to use @command{torsocks} if
you want to route the connection to guix's git repository servers
through Tor.
@end quotation
Guix's substitute server is available as a Onion service, if you want
to use it to get your substitutes through Tor configure your system as
(use-modules (gnu))
(use-service-module base networking)
(service tor-service-type
(config-file (plain-file "tor-config"
(modify-services %base-services
config => (guix-configuration
(inherit config)
;; ci.guix.gnu.org's Onion service
(substitute-urls "https://bp7o7ckwlewr4slm.onion")
(http-proxy "http://localhost:9250")))))))
@end lisp
This will keep a tor process running that provides a HTTP CONNECT tunnel
which will be used by @command{guix-daemon}. The daemon can use other
protocols than HTTP(S) to get remote resources, request using those
protocols won't go through Tor since we are only setting a HTTP tunnel
here. Note that @code{substitutes-urls} is using HTTPS and not HTTP or
it won't work, that's a limitation of Tor's tunnel; you may want to use
@command{privoxy} instead to avoid such limitations.
If you don't want to always get substitutes through Tor but using it just
some of the times, then skip the @code{guix-configuration}. When you
want to get a substitute from the Tor tunnel run:
sudo herd set-http-proxy guix-daemon http://localhost:9250
guix build --substitute-urls=https://bp7o7ckwlewr4slm.onion …
@end example
@c *********************************************************************
@node Advanced package management
@chapter Advanced package management
Guix is a functional package manager that offers many features beyond
what more traditional package managers can do. To the uninitiated,
those features might not have obvious use cases at first. The purpose
of this chapter is to demonstrate some advanced package management
@pxref{Package Management,,, guix, GNU Guix Reference Manual} for a complete
* Guix Profiles in Practice:: Strategies for multiple profiles and manifests.
@end menu
@node Guix Profiles in Practice
@section Guix Profiles in Practice
Guix provides a very useful feature that may be quite foreign to newcomers:
@emph{profiles}. They are a way to group package installations together and all users
on the same system are free to use as many profiles as they want.
Whether you're a developer or not, you may find that multiple profiles bring you
great power and flexibility. While they shift the paradigm somewhat compared to
@emph{traditional package managers}, they are very convenient to use once you've
understood how to set them up.
If you are familiar with Python's @samp{virtualenv}, you can think of a profile as a
kind of universal @samp{virtualenv} that can hold any kind of software whatsoever, not
just Python software. Furthermore, profiles are self-sufficient: they capture
all the runtime dependencies which guarantees that all programs within a profile
will always work at any point in time.
Multiple profiles have many benefits:
Clean semantic separation of the various packages a user needs for different contexts.
Multiple profiles can be made available into the environment either on login
or within a dedicated shell.
Profiles can be loaded on demand. For instance, the user can use multiple
shells, each of them running different profiles.
Isolation: Programs from one profile will not use programs from the other, and
the user can even install different versions of the same programs to the two
profiles without conflict.
Deduplication: Profiles share dependencies that happens to be the exact same.
This makes multiple profiles storage-efficient.
Reproducible: when used with declarative manifests, a profile can be fully
specified by the Guix commit that was active when it was set up. This means
that the exact same profile can be
set up anywhere and anytime}, with just the commit information. See the
section on @ref{Reproducible profiles}.
Easier upgrades and maintenance: Multiple profiles make it easy to keep
package listings at hand and make upgrades completely friction-less.
@end itemize
Concretely, here follows some typical profiles:
The dependencies of a project you are working on.
Your favourite programming language libraries.
Laptop-specific programs (like @samp{powertop}) that you don't need on a desktop.
@TeX{}live (this one can be really useful when you need to install just one
package for this one document you've just received over email).
@end itemize
Let's dive in the set up!
@node Basic setup with manifests
@subsection Basic setup with manifests
A Guix profile can be set up @emph{via} a so-called @emph{manifest specification} that looks like
;; Version 1.3 of package-2.
;; The "lib" output of package-3.
; ...
@end lisp
@pxref{Invoking guix package,,, guix, GNU Guix Reference Manual}, for
the syntax details.
We can create a manifest specification per profile and install them this way:
mkdir -p "$GUIX_EXTRA_PROFILES"/my-project # if it does not exist yet
guix package --manifest=/path/to/guix-my-project-manifest.scm --profile="$GUIX_EXTRA_PROFILES"/my-project/my-project
@end example
Here we set an arbitrary variable @samp{GUIX_EXTRA_PROFILES} to point to the directory
where we will store our profiles in the rest of this article.
Placing all your profiles in a single directory, with each profile getting its
own sub-directory, is somewhat cleaner. This way, each sub-directory will
contain all the symlinks for precisely one profile. Besides, ``looping over
profiles'' becomes obvious from any programming language (e.g.@: a shell script) by
simply looping over the sub-directories of @samp{$GUIX_EXTRA_PROFILES}.
Note that it's also possible to loop over the output of
guix package --list-profiles
@end example
although you'll probably have to filter out @file{~/.config/guix/current}.
To enable all profiles on login, add this to your @file{~/.bash_profile} (or similar):
for i in $GUIX_EXTRA_PROFILES/*; do
profile=$i/$(basename "$i")
if [ -f "$profile"/etc/profile ]; then
. "$GUIX_PROFILE"/etc/profile
unset profile
@end example
Note to Guix System users: the above reflects how your default profile
@file{~/.guix-profile} is activated from @file{/etc/profile}, that latter being loaded by
@file{~/.bashrc} by default.
You can obviously choose to only enable a subset of them:
for i in "$GUIX_EXTRA_PROFILES"/my-project-1 "$GUIX_EXTRA_PROFILES"/my-project-2; do
profile=$i/$(basename "$i")
if [ -f "$profile"/etc/profile ]; then
. "$GUIX_PROFILE"/etc/profile
unset profile
@end example
When a profile is off, it's straightforward to enable it for an individual shell
without "polluting" the rest of the user session:
GUIX_PROFILE="path/to/my-project" ; . "$GUIX_PROFILE"/etc/profile
@end example
The key to enabling a profile is to @emph{source} its @samp{etc/profile} file. This file
contains shell code that exports the right environment variables necessary to
activate the software contained in the profile. It is built automatically by
Guix and meant to be sourced.
It contains the same variables you would get if you ran:
guix package --search-paths=prefix --profile=$my_profile"
@end example
Once again, see (@pxref{Invoking guix package,,, guix, GNU Guix Reference Manual})
for the command line options.
To upgrade a profile, simply install the manifest again:
guix package -m /path/to/guix-my-project-manifest.scm -p "$GUIX_EXTRA_PROFILES"/my-project/my-project
@end example
To upgrade all profiles, it's easy enough to loop over them. For instance,
assuming your manifest specifications are stored in
@file{~/.guix-manifests/guix-$profile-manifest.scm}, with @samp{$profile} being the name
of the profile (e.g.@: "project1"), you could do the following in Bourne shell:
for profile in "$GUIX_EXTRA_PROFILES"/*; do
guix package --profile="$profile" --manifest="$HOME/.guix-manifests/guix-$profile-manifest.scm"
@end example
Each profile has its own generations:
guix package -p "$GUIX_EXTRA_PROFILES"/my-project/my-project --list-generations
@end example
You can roll-back to any generation of a given profile:
guix package -p "$GUIX_EXTRA_PROFILES"/my-project/my-project --switch-generations=17
@end example
Finally, if you want to switch to a profile without inheriting from the
current environment, you can activate it from an empty shell:
env -i $(which bash) --login --noprofile --norc
. my-project/etc/profile
@end example
@node Required packages
@subsection Required packages
Activating a profile essentially boils down to exporting a bunch of
environmental variables. This is the role of the @samp{etc/profile} within the
@emph{Note: Only the environmental variables of the packages that consume them will
be set.}
For instance, @samp{MANPATH} won't be set if there is no consumer application for man
pages within the profile. So if you need to transparently access man pages once
the profile is loaded, you've got two options:
Either export the variable manually, e.g.
export MANPATH=/path/to/profile$@{MANPATH:+:@}$MANPATH
@end example
Or include @samp{man-db} to the profile manifest.
@end itemize
The same is true for @samp{INFOPATH} (you can install @samp{info-reader}),
@samp{PKG_CONFIG_PATH} (install @samp{pkg-config}), etc.
@node Default profile
@subsection Default profile
What about the default profile that Guix keeps in @file{~/.guix-profile}?
You can assign it the role you want. Typically you would install the manifest
of the packages you want to use all the time.
Alternatively, you could keep it ``manifest-less'' for throw-away packages
that you would just use for a couple of days.
This way makes it convenient to run
guix install package-foo
guix upgrade package-bar
@end example
without having to specify the path to a profile.
@node The benefits of manifests
@subsection The benefits of manifests
Manifests are a convenient way to keep your package lists around and, say,
to synchronize them across multiple machines using a version control system.
A common complaint about manifests is that they can be slow to install when they
contain large number of packages. This is especially cumbersome when you just
want get an upgrade for one package within a big manifest.
This is one more reason to use multiple profiles, which happen to be just
perfect to break down manifests into multiple sets of semantically connected
packages. Using multiple, small profiles provides more flexibility and
Manifests come with multiple benefits. In particular, they ease maintenance:
When a profile is set up from a manifest, the manifest itself is
self-sufficient to keep a ``package listing'' around and reinstall the profile
later or on a different system. For ad-hoc profiles, we would need to
generate a manifest specification manually and maintain the package versions
for the packages that don't use the default version.
@code{guix package --upgrade} always tries to update the packages that have
propagated inputs, even if there is nothing to do. Guix manifests remove this
When partially upgrading a profile, conflicts may arise (due to diverging
dependencies between the updated and the non-updated packages) and they can be
annoying to resolve manually. Manifests remove this problem altogether since
all packages are always upgraded at once.
As mentioned above, manifests allow for reproducible profiles, while the
imperative @code{guix install}, @code{guix upgrade}, etc. do not, since they produce
different profiles every time even when they hold the same packages. See
@uref{https://issues.guix.gnu.org/issue/33285, the related discussion on the matter}.
Manifest specifications are usable by other @samp{guix} commands. For example, you
can run @code{guix weather -m manifest.scm} to see how many substitutes are
available, which can help you decide whether you want to try upgrading today
or wait a while. Another example: you can run @code{guix pack -m manifest.scm} to
create a pack containing all the packages in the manifest (and their
transitive references).
Finally, manifests have a Scheme representation, the @samp{<manifest>} record type.
They can be manipulated in Scheme and passed to the various Guix @uref{https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Api, APIs}.
@end itemize
It's important to understand that while manifests can be used to declare
profiles, they are not strictly equivalent: profiles have the side effect that
they ``pin'' packages in the store, which prevents them from being
garbage-collected (@pxref{Invoking guix gc,,, guix, GNU Guix Reference Manual})
and ensures that they will still be available at any point in
the future.
Let's take an example:
We have an environment for hacking on a project for which there isn't a Guix
package yet. We build the environment using a manifest, and then run @code{guix
environment -m manifest.scm}. So far so good.
Many weeks pass and we have run a couple of @code{guix pull} in the mean time.
Maybe a dependency from our manifest has been updated; or we may have run
@code{guix gc} and some packages needed by our manifest have been
Eventually, we set to work on that project again, so we run @code{guix environment
-m manifest.scm}. But now we have to wait for Guix to build and install
@end enumerate
Ideally, we could spare the rebuild time. And indeed we can, all we need is to
install the manifest to a profile and use @code{GUIX_PROFILE=/the/profile;
. "$GUIX_PROFILE"/etc/profile} as explained above: this guarantees that our
hacking environment will be available at all times.
@emph{Security warning:} While keeping old profiles around can be convenient, keep in
mind that outdated packages may not have received the latest security fixes.
@node Reproducible profiles
@subsection Reproducible profiles
To reproduce a profile bit-for-bit, we need two pieces of information:
a manifest,
a Guix channel specification.
@end itemize
Indeed, manifests alone might not be enough: different Guix versions (or
different channels) can produce different outputs for a given manifest.
You can output the Guix channel specification with @samp{guix describe
Save this to a file, say @samp{channel-specs.scm}.
On another computer, you can use the channel specification file and the manifest
to reproduce the exact same profile:
mkdir "$GUIX_EXTRA"/my-project
guix pull --channels=channel-specs.scm --profile "$GUIX_EXTRA/my-project/guix"
mkdir -p "$GUIX_EXTRA_PROFILES/my-project"
"$GUIX_EXTRA"/my-project/guix/bin/guix package --manifest=/path/to/guix-my-project-manifest.scm --profile="$GUIX_EXTRA_PROFILES"/my-project/my-project
@end example
It's safe to delete the Guix channel profile you've just installed with the
channel specification, the project profile does not depend on it.
@c *********************************************************************
@node Acknowledgments
@chapter Acknowledgments
Guix is based on the @uref{https://nixos.org/nix/, Nix package manager},
which was designed and
implemented by Eelco Dolstra, with contributions from other people (see
the @file{nix/AUTHORS} file in Guix.) 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.
GNU@tie{}Guix itself is a collective work with contributions from a
number of people. See the @file{AUTHORS} file in Guix for more
information on these fine people. The @file{THANKS} file lists people
who have helped by reporting bugs, taking care of the infrastructure,
providing artwork and themes, making suggestions, and more---thank you!
This document includes adapted sections from articles that have previously
been published on the Guix blog at @uref{https://guix.gnu.org/blog}.
@c *********************************************************************
@node GNU Free Documentation License
@appendix GNU Free Documentation License
@cindex license, GNU Free Documentation License
@include fdl-1.3.texi
@c *********************************************************************
@node Concept Index
@unnumbered Concept Index
@printindex cp
@c Local Variables:
@c ispell-local-dictionary: "american";
@c End: