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Installed Nix

Posted 01-09-2013 at 01:49 PM by hydraMax
Tags nix

I recently installed the Nix package manager on my system:

Nix is an intriguing idea: a purely functional and deterministic package management system. Nix allows you to install, upgrade, and remove packages on your system without ever having to worry about breaking the dependencies of other packages already installed on your system. This is impossible, by design. Likewise, after installing new packages, you are free to roll back those changes without fear of breaking the system (e.g., if you do not like the changes that you made).

I just started learning about Nix, but as I understand it: Nix accomplishes this by allowing the installation of multiple versions of every software package (in a hashed form, in a special location). When Nix builds a software package, it links directly to the exact version of the dependency required. And package versions are never entirely deleted, so long as there is at least one package that depends on it.

I installed Nix onto my Gentoo system. A cool thing was that I was able to install Nix to a regular (non-root) user account, and I am able to build all the software I wish working as that regular user. This I find very helpful, because it means I might be able to use Nix on Gnu/Linux machines at work, and use software versions other than those provided by the administrator.

I used the unstable package repository, and so far I found a few minor bugs in some of the packages. Usually this involved an application not being able to find one of its run time data files. Since the contents of packages are not installed to global locations, the packaging configuration /must/ be written correctly, or something will not work. However, the dev team has shown to be very responsive to my bug reports and complaints.
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