Nix Installation Guide

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This guide describes various methods for installing Nix.

Single-user install

To install Nix from any Linux distribution, use the following two commands. (Note: This assumes you have the permission to use sudo, and you are logged in as the user you want to install Nix for.)

$ sudo install -d -m755 -o $USER -g $USER /nix
$ curl https://nixos.org/nix/install | sh

After that being done, you can use all Nix commands as a normal user without any special permissions (for example by using sudo).

Installing without root permissions

By using nix-user-chroot or PRoot, you can use Nix on systems where you have no permission to create the `/nix` directory. nix-user-chroot is the preferred and faster option. However, it might not run on older Linux kernels, or kernels without user namespace support. With the following command, you can test whether your system supports user namespaces:

$ unshare --user --pid echo YES

The output should be YES. If the command is absent, an alternative is to check the kernel compile options:

$ zgrep CONFIG_USER_NS /proc/config.gz

On some systems, like Debian or Ubuntu, the kernel configuration is in a different place, so instead use:

$ grep CONFIG_USER_NS /boot/config-$(uname -r)

If the output of this command is CONFIG_USER_NS=y, then your system supports user namespaces.

nix-user-chroot

nix-user-chroot will create an environment in which you can bind mount an directory to /nix. The mountpoint will be only visible within this environment.

nix-user-chroot can be built the following way. (Note: This assumes a C compiler, make and gitare installed.)

$ git clone https://github.com/lethalman/nix-user-chroot.git
$ cd nix-user-chroot
$ make

The last step creates an executable called nix-user-chroot.

nix-user-chroot can now be used to install Nix. In this example, the Nix store will be installed to ~/.nix:

$ mkdir -m 0755 ~/.nix
$ ./nix-user-chroot/nix-user-chroot ~/.nix bash

This will start a new shell in which you can run the install script of Nix:

$ curl https://nixos.org/nix/install | sh

Note that you can only use Nix and the installed programs within the shell started by nix-user-chroot.

PRoot

Precompiled PRoot binaries can be downloaded from here

The following commands will install Nix the Nix store to ~/.nix

# first make sure the executable bit is set on the binary
$ chmod +x proot_5.1.1_x86_64_rc2--no-seccomp
$ mkdir ~/.nix
$ ./proot_5.1.1_x86_64_rc2--no-seccomp ~/.nix

This will start a new shell, where Nix can be installed:

$ curl https://nixos.org/nix/install | sh

Note that you can only use Nix and the installed programs within the shell started by PRoot.