Visual Studio Code

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Note: Visual Studio Code is unfree, its license prohibits distribution. See the FAQ/unfree page to install unfree software.

Visual Studio Code is a cross-platform text editor developed by Microsoft, built on the Electron framework.

For the free distribution of the VS Code codebase (without MS branding/telemetry) see VSCodium.



environment.systemPackages = with pkgs; [ vscode ];

Extensions can be managed using the 'vscode-with-extensions' package:

environment.systemPackages = with pkgs; [
  (vscode-with-extensions.override {
    vscodeExtensions = with vscode-extensions; [
    ] ++ pkgs.vscode-utils.extensionsFromVscodeMarketplace [
        name = "remote-ssh-edit";
        publisher = "ms-vscode-remote";
        version = "0.47.2";
        sha256 = "1hp6gjh4xp2m1xlm1jsdzxw9d8frkiidhph6nvl24d0h8z34w49g";

Some examples here: GitHub search for "extensionFromVscodeMarketplace"

extensionsFromVscodeMarketplace is a manual way to fetch extensions. However, to keep updated from upstream, nix-community/nix-vscode-extensions provides the Nix expressions for the majority of available extensions from Open VSX and VSCode Marketplace. A GitHub Action updates the extensions daily.

It's also possible to install VS Code via Home Manager:

programs.vscode = {
  enable = true;
  extensions = with pkgs.vscode-extensions; [


$ nix-env -iA nixos.vscode

Use VS Code extensions without additional configuration

With the package vscode.fhs, the editor launches inside a FHS compliant chroot environment using buildFHSUserEnv. This reintroduces directories such as /bin, /lib, and /usr, which allows for extensions which ship pre-compiled binaries to work with little to no additional nixification.

Note: From a philosophical view, use of buildFHSUserEnv allows for ease-of-use at the cost of some impurity and non-reproducibility. If you prioritize purely-declarative configurations, please stay with the above guidance.

Example usage:

environment.systemPackages = with pkgs; [ vscode.fhs ];


programs.vscode = {
  enable = true;
  package = pkgs.vscode.fhs;

Adding extension-specific dependencies, these will be added to the FHS environment:

# needed for rust lang server and rust-analyzer extension
programs.vscode.package = pkgs.vscode.fhsWithPackages (ps: with ps; [ rustup zlib pkg-config ]);

Insiders Build

If you need to test a recent code change, you can run the insiders build. It is designed to run alongside the main build, with a separate code-insiders command and a different config path, so you can leave your main VS Code instance installed/running.

The following derivation thanks to @jnoortheen, which you can add to home.packages (HM), environment.systemPackages (NixOS), etc., builds a package with the latest insiders.

(pkgs.vscode.override { isInsiders = true; }).overrideAttrs (oldAttrs: rec {
  src = (builtins.fetchTarball {
    url = "";
  version = "latest";

  buildInputs = oldAttrs.buildInputs ++ [ pkgs.krb5 ];

Updating insiders placeholder sha256:

You will need to update the placeholder sha256 value for each new Insiders build.

The new value will appear in a validation error when you try to build.

Put an arbitrary placeholder value in the sha256 field, try to build and you'll get an error message regarding the sha256 value.

If insiders error contains sha256:, follow these instructions:
//-- ...
       error: hash mismatch in file downloaded from '':
         got:       sha256:16fzxqs6ql4p2apq9aw7l10h4ag1r7jwlfvknk5rd2zmkscwhn6z
//-- ...

Take that last line and input it where your placeholder was, 'sha256:' in the beginning should be removed.

If insiders error contains sha256-, follow these instructions:
//-- ...
        error: hash mismatch in fixed-output derivation '/nix/store/path':
            got:    sha256-aQvTtZdPU2F1UjkFxiLs4A+60A4qc9bXKwKriNsCDPg=
//-- ...

Take that last line and run the following python script (you can search for an online python interpreter if it's not installed), the output will give you the correct value:

import base64
# The 'sha256-' in the beginning should be removed
text = b'aQvTtZdPU2F1UjkFxiLs4A+60A4qc9bXKwKriNsCDPg='

Take the output from this command and input it where your placeholder was.

Creating development environments using nix-shell

Instead of using configuration.nix to add packages (e.g. Python or NodeJS) for developing code on VSCode, you can instead use nix-shell. This will allow you to seamlessly create development environments with the correct packages for your project, without rebuilding and restarting NixOS. See this page for further instructions in building nix-shell development environments.

Automatically switch nix shells when switching projects

You can do this by using nix-direnv and the VSCode extension direnv for integration. View the nix-direnv github page linked for a guide on setting it up.

Alternative for manually switching shells

The extension nix-env-selector will make switching between different nix-shell environments within VSCode so you can switch between different coding projects easily and manually. It has a guide for setting up nix-shell environments for VSCode.


To use VS Code under Wayland, set the environment variable NIXOS_OZONE_WL=1:

  • temporary fix: run via the terminal:
$ NIXOS_OZONE_WL=1 code ...
  • permanent fix: add to your NixOS configuration:
environment.sessionVariables.NIXOS_OZONE_WL = "1";


Updating extension versions

Nixpkgs contains a script which will run code --list-extensions, then look for the latest available versions of those extensions, and output a list which you can add to your Nix config in a format similar to the above. To use it, clone the nixpkgs repo from GitHub, and run: nixpkgs/pkgs/applications/editors/vscode/extensions/

Example output:

... # it does some fetching and then outputs the list...
{ extensions = [
    name = "project-manager";
    publisher = "alefragnani";
    version = "12.4.0";
    sha256 = "0q6zkz7pqz2prmr01h17h9a5q6cn6bjgcxggy69c84j8h2w905wy";
    name = "githistory";
    publisher = "donjayamanne";
    version = "0.6.18";
    sha256 = "01lc9gpqdjy6himn7jsfjrfz8xrk728c20903lxkxy5fliv232gz";

Remote SSH

The remote-ssh extension works by connecting to a remote host and downloading scripts and pre-built binaries to $HOME/.vscode-server. When first launching remote-ssh for a NixOS host, the connection will fail due to the provided node.js not having been built for a NixOS system (the dynamic libraries aren't in the same place).

Any client to NixOS host

tl;dr Use nix-vscode-server or nix-ld on host machines.


Note that nix-vscode-server works as of 8/21/21 but is occasionally broken (See,, Here's a workaround: Install the nodejs-16_x package on the NixOS host, and then run the following nix-shell script:

#! /usr/bin/env nix-shell
#! nix-shell --pure -i runghc -p "haskellPackages.ghcWithPackages (pkgs: [ pkgs.turtle ])"

{-# LANGUAGE OverloadedStrings #-}
import Turtle

main = sh $ do
  homedir <- home
  subdir <- ls $ homedir </> ".vscode-server/bin/"
  let nodepath = subdir </> "node"
  badnode <- isNotSymbolicLink nodepath
  if badnode
    then do
      mv nodepath (subdir </> "node_backup")
      symlink "/run/current-system/sw/bin/node" nodepath
      echo ("Fixed " <> repr subdir)
    else do
      echo ("Already fixed " <> repr subdir)

If instead you'd prefer to fix the binaries manually and have to do so every time that you upgrade your VS Code version, then you can install the nodejs-16_x package on the NixOS host and replace the VS Code provided version. This workaround is described here: Note that NodeJS needs to be updated according to VS Code upstream requirements (NodeJS 16 required from 4/2022).


Add the following settings to configuration.nix on the NixOS host

  programs.nix-ld.enable = true;

Then run nixos-rebuild switch to enable nix-ld. Unlike the nix-vscode-server solution, the nix-ld solution also enables VSCode extensions even if they include non-Nix binaries.

Nix-sourced VS Code to NixOS host

If vscode-remote is installed from nix ( as above) on the client machine, everything should "just work".

Remote WSL

Similar to SSH hosts, both nix-vscode-server and nix-ld solution allows a VSCode Windows client to connect a NixOS-WSL host. However, by default the VSCode Windows client uses wsl.exe --exec to start the code server, which bypasses NixOS environment variables required by nix-ld, resulting in failures.

As a workaround, search for the following text in all files under the directory $HOME\.vscode\extensions\


Replace it with


Then restart VS Code and your VS Code client should be able to connect to NixOS host

See for the discussion about wsl --exec issue on NixOS-WSL. See about the workaround.


Error after Sign On

If you get such an error after sign on in application:

Writing login information to the keychain failed with error 'The name org.freedesktop.secret was not provided by any .service files'.

Try to add the following setting in your system configuration (even if you don't use Gnome as desktop environment):

# needed for store VS Code auth token 
services.gnome.gnome-keyring.enable = true;

Optional: add gnome.seahorse to environment.systemPackages to install GUI for GNOME Keyring.

Don't forget to perform nixos-rebuild switch and reboot the system.

Server did not start successfully

Server did not start successfully. Full server log at /home/user/.vscode-server/.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.log

server log:
/home/user/.vscode-server/bin/xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx/bin/code-server: line 12: /home/user/.vscode-server/bin/xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx/node: No such file or directory

"No such file or directory" means that libc is not found, see

ldd ~/.vscode-server/bin/*/node

try to run the node binary on the server


if this fails, install node version 16, and try to patch the node binary

nix-env -iA nixos.nodejs-16_x
#! /bin/sh
cd ~/.vscode-server/bin/*
if ! ./node -e "require('process').exit(0)"
  echo patching node binary $(readlink -f node)
  rm node
  ln -s $(which node)
  echo node is working $(readlink -f node)