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.

Installation

NixOS

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; [
      bbenoist.nix
      ms-python.python
      ms-azuretools.vscode-docker
      ms-vscode-remote.remote-ssh
    ] ++ 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"

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

programs.vscode = {
  enable = true;
  extensions = with pkgs.vscode-extensions; [
    dracula-theme.theme-dracula
    vscodevim.vim
    yzhang.markdown-all-in-one
  ];
};

Non-NixOS

$ 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 ];

Home-manager:

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 extension
programs.vscode.package = pkgs.vscode.fhsWithPackages (ps: with ps; [ rustup zlib ]);

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 = "https://update.code.visualstudio.com/latest/linux-x64/insider";
    sha256 = "1dajhfsdr55mfnj12clf5apy1d4swr71d3rfwlq2hvvmpxvxsa59";
  });
  version = "latest";
});

You will need to update the sha256 value for each new Insiders build. The new value will appear in a validation error when you try to build.

Wayland

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";

Source

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/update_installed_exts.sh

Example output:

 ./nixpkgs/pkgs/applications/editors/vscode/extensions/update_installed_exts.sh 
... # 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 on host machines.

Note that nix-vscode-server works as of 8/21/21 but is occasionally broken (See https://github.com/msteen/nixos-vscode-server/pull/3, https://github.com/msteen/nixos-vscode-server/pull/4, https://github.com/msteen/nixos-vscode-server/pull/5). 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: https://github.com/microsoft/vscode-remote-release/issues/648#issuecomment-503148523. Note that NodeJS needs to be updated according to VS Code upstream requirements (NodeJS 16 required from 4/2022).

Nix-sourced VS Code to NixOS host

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

Using nix-shell

Some features of VS Code, like the Python package, require linters or other dependencies. The package nix-env-selector makes this easy and does not require overrides on VS Code itself to add dependencies.

Troubleshooting

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):

Breeze-text-x-plain.png
/etc/nixos/configuration.nix
# 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.