This discussion article is to cover the usage, internals and configuration of the Nix package manager.
This section provides an overview of common methods for installing Nix on Non-NixOS distributions.
The installation section of the Nix manual describes how to install Nix from binary or source on Linux and Mac systems for a user with root privileges; it is easiest to install Nix for a single user, but steps are also included for setting up a multiuser installation. For an extensive guide on various methods for installing Nix - including how to install Nix without root privileges - see the Nix Installation Guide.
When sandbox builds are enabled, Nix will setup an isolated environment for each build process. It is used to remove further hidden dependencies set by the build environment to improve reproducibility. This includes access to the network during the build outside of
fetch* functions and files outside the Nix store. Depending on the operating system access to other resources are blocked as well (ex. inter process communication is isolated on Linux); see build-use-sandbox in nix manual for details.
Sandboxes are not enabled by default in Nix as there are cases where it makes building packages harder (for example
npm install will not work due missing network access).
In pull requests for nixpkgs people are asked to test builds with sandboxing enabled (see
Tested using sandboxing in the pull request template) because in official hydra builds sandboxing is also used.
To configure Nix for sandboxing set
build-use-sandbox = true; in
/etc/nix/nix.conf; to configure NixOS for sandboxing set
nix.useSandbox = true; in
Bad configuration option: gssapikexalgorithms
Found when using an SSH binary from Nix on typically RPM-based distros like CentOS, Fedora, Scientific Linux, Redhat, etc. The quick fix: Just comment out the configuration option in the ssh config file, you probably don't need it.
Desktop Environment does not find .desktop files
IF your DE does not look in
$HOME/.nix-profile/share for .desktop files.
You need to add that path to the
XDG_DATA_DIRS, the position reflects precedence so files in earlier directories shadow files in later directories. This can be accomplished in various ways depending on your login manager, see Arch wiki: Xprofile for more information.
For example using
~/.xprofile as follows:
$ export XDG_DATA_DIRS=$HOME/.nix-profile/share:/usr/local/share:/usr/share
Notice that you have to include the default locations on your system, otherwise they will be overwritten. Find out the proper paths using
echo $XDG_DATA_DIRS. (Note:
export XDG_DATA_DIRS=$HOME/.nix-profile/share:$XDG_DATA_DIRS did not work, XDG_DATA_DIRS ended up containing only
$HOME/.nix-profile/share: which isn't even a valid path.)