I’m currently running Arch and it’s great, but I’m noticing I’m not staying on the ball in regards to updates. I’ve been reading a bit about Nix and NixOS and thinking of trying it as my daily driver. I’ve got a Lenovo x1 xtreme laptop, I don’t do much gaming (except OSRS), use firefox, jetbrains stuff, bitwarden, remmina, obsidian, and docker.

Is anyone running NixOS as their daily? How are you liking it and are there any pitfalls / stuff you wish you knew before?

  • elltee@lemmy.one
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    1 year ago

    Been daily for a while now, came over from Garuda, and a few other Arch derivative before that. NixOS is 99.9% fantastic. Lenovo carbon X1 Gen 6. Runs great. Newer custom build higher end desktop with AMD 7900RX GPU. Also runs great. I have a feeling it’ll run great on pretty much anything.

    The package store is amazing. The package store absolutely dwarfs the AUR. That being said, it seems a lot of the store packages are support / dependency packages that you wouldn’t install standalone.
    I always had a concern in the back of my mind with the AUR. Is the package trusted by multiple people?
    I’ve not had to rollback much, but it’s SUPER simple, and takes seconds for the most part. A reboot at the most.

    Things I wish I knew: I run declarative for everything, rather than imperative. Therefore, small changes are a tiny bit more of a hassle. Example: changing the hosts file. Rather than a quick hosts file edit and done, it’s a quick edit of the system configuration file, then a nixos-rebuild switch. Nearly any change is like this. (I’ve not moved to flakes yet.)

    if you have any shell scripts, and they’re hard-coded to the env: #!/bin/bash, #!/usr/bin/zsh, etc… you’ll need to port those over to #!/usr/bin/env

    appimages are well supported, but I ran into an issue where a custom appimage that someone else wrote won’t authenticate correctly because the browser isn’t included in the environment. I could t-shoot it more, but just too damn lazy to care.

    The local storage location for apps can get huge rather quickly, as each iteration/change is stored for rollback purposes. Make sure to setup a garbage collection schedule with whatever your comfortable with.

    Would i recommend? Depends on your patience and prior experience. NixOs is VERY VERY different than arch or pretty much any other distro, even other immutable ones. It takes a bit to get your head wrapped around it.

    I saw someone say start with Nix (the package manager) on your current distro, learn the ropes, add in pieces like Flakes and Home Manager as you learn. Learn the Nix language. And then move to NixOS. Probably good advice.

    I ignored all of that. Jumped in head first. Lots of frustration in the beginning. But now… I won’t be going back to a standard linux distro.

    Immutability makes me warm and fuzzy. Being absolutely sure that I can easily recover from a boneheaded mistake. Beautiful. Hard drive shits the bed? Drop in a new one, apply my configs, and I’m right back where I was within 30 minutes, complete with all data, apps installed and configured? Priceless.

    • dinckel@lemmy.world
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      1 year ago

      I attempted to use Nix as a daily driver recently, and while it ran great, and I loved the idea of what it’s doing, I got absolutely destroyed by the config. Since we’re in transition to nix-command right now, a lot of documentation is really confusing, and on top of that, home-manager was not as intuitive ad it sounds. I’ll probably be giving it another shot later, but for now the time investment doesn’t seem to be immediately worth it for my work flow

      • elltee@lemmy.one
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        1 year ago

        This is similar to my story. I installed it on a laptop. Got really frustrated with it, and went back to arco for a while. Took the full plunge a couple months later, and decided I’m just gonna do it, torpedoes be damned. no regrets now.

    • schizosfera@feddit.de
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      1 year ago

      You made me very curious about NixOS and now I’ll have to take a closer look at it. The second to last sentence did it. Thanks

      • elltee@lemmy.one
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        1 year ago

        Awesome. Welcome to the club. Be patient. It’s VERY different. The more you learn Nix (the language) the better off you’ll be. I’m still on that path myself.

    • Linuturk@lemmy.onitato.com
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      1 year ago

      I can understand how the system config can be back in that short amount of time. How does data backup and restore work in Nix? Is it different than other distros?

      • elltee@lemmy.one
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        1 year ago

        Data wise, it’s mostly the same. i use syncthing to a couple different systems, one of which is essentially a storage server. The main difference for me is the app installations. apt install all the apps, then configure each. Kills a whole day for me. I’m sure it can be automated, maybe ansible / salt / . But the way I use it, Nix enforces that I always update my configs in a manner that is easily restorable.
        Copy my backed up system into /etc/nixos/
        Run nixos-rebuild boot. Reboot.
        Setup syncthing. ? Profit

        • theshatterstone54@feddit.uk
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          1 year ago

          Instead of doing nixos-rebuid boot and rebooting, you can just do a nixos-rebuild switch and not reboot.

          Of course, depending on what you’re doing it mifht be a good idea to reboot, but if you’re just adding a package to your config file, it doesn’t matter.

          • elltee@lemmy.one
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            1 year ago

            Yeah, for the restore process, I install a couple drivers for some USB devices. So a reboot is required. Otherwise, I has an alias for switch.

  • K900A
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    1 year ago

    User/maintainer here. I don’t think NixOS is for everyone, but if you’re the kind of person it’s for, you’ll be stuck with us forever. I would definitely recommend giving it a shot if the concept sounds appealing, and feel free to drop by the Matrix channels if you need any help figuring things out - documentation is currently not our strong suit, though people are working on it.

    • maiskanzler@feddit.de
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      1 year ago

      He, while we’re on the topic of documentation, if people want to help the effort, where should they look for a start? I am still new to Nix but love it so far and in the distant future I could see myself writing docs. Is there a place where people organize doc writing?

      • K900A
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        1 year ago

        #docs:nixos.org on Matrix maybe?

      • SupremeFuzzler@lemmy.world
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        1 year ago

        There’s a “docs team” that hangs out on the NixOS discourse that I’m sure would be happy to have you. They have meeting every couple weeks if you want to say hi & find out what would be a good way to start contributing.

      • K900A
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        1 year ago

        I’m surprised you haven’t noticed me screaming about Lemmy in #offtopic for like three days straight lol

    • flashgnash@lemm.ee
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      11 months ago

      Can attest, this guy is always around in the matrix and has not once failed to help me out

  • siph@lemmy.ml
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    1 year ago

    I’ve been using NixOS for over a year and I can’t imagine using anything else. I originally started using it because I liked the idea of version controlling the entire configuration, but now I use it for everything.

    The most underrated feature of Nix is being able to instantly roll back an update that breaks something that you don’t want to deal with. An update breaks kitty or neovim? If I have something to do I can just roll back and fix it later. Awesome.

    It’s not for everyone. I can’t imagine someone who isn’t at least a hobbyist programmer having the desire to overcome the technical nature of it.

    Heres my config.

      • siph@lemmy.ml
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        1 year ago

        Yeah, btrfs is awesome and it’s easy to use with NixOS as well. The rollback mechanics are different in that Nix isn’t actually rolling back it’s just rebuilding a previous revision (commit) of the config.

  • monk@lemmy.unboiled.info
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    1 year ago

    Of course. There’s just one pitfall: there’s no turning back, once you grasp it, the inferior ways of the past become unbearable.

  • nothendev@sopuli.xyz
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    1 year ago

    Yes. Absolutely.

    For me it shines in the replicability. For example recently (at the time of writing this) I have gone to a different place without the ability to take my pc with me (its not a laptop duh). I prepared my config and pushed it to the git repo. With me I only brought a usb drive with all my ssh keys and another one with the headless NixOS installation environment. I set it up, had to do some UEFI smashing and hardware adjusting but that’s just hardware specific. In like 30 minutes I had my full setup, my hyprland, my doom emacs, and most of that time it was downloading packages.(not to say cache.nixos.org is slow but the internet there was dogsh…)

    Would I recommend? If you are ready to do some table smashing and if you are experienced enough with Linux and the nitty gritty of it, then HECK YEAH. You have to know that NixOS is not for beginners. It is a bulletproof distro for ultra power users that, if you use correctly could lead to a impenetrably stable system, which you could reproduce on ANY other machine. And also rollbacks are awesome.

    Conclusion? NixOS is awesome!

    • theshatterstone54@feddit.uk
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      1 year ago

      It is also amazing for a distrohopper. As one myself, I always keep on looking for something better (Debian, Fedora, Arch, Tumbleweed, Void) etc, but NixOS is like that safe haven I go back to where all of my configurations can be replicated the exact way I want them quickly and efficiently, allowing me to return to Hyprland and my comfy setup.

  • pimeys@lemmy.nauk.io
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    1 year ago

    I’ve been running NixOS for the past four years in all my computers. It’s really, really the end game of Linux distributions for me. But it’s not for everybody. The Nix language can be a tough thing to learn, if you’re not a programmer and haven’t done anything with lazy functional languages before. It’s a dynamic language, with not super great documentation for practical things and missing a good language server that would let you to jump to definitions when learning how nixpkgs work and how to build things.

    Also, what I think is a serious problem, is how flakes are not yet enabled in the default installation. So first you learn with the basic template, and some helpful person comes talking about how great flakes are, and in a few weeks you might have written your own system flake finally and got it working. Flakes are really important to understand as soon as possible, because with them you get the lock file that gives you real reproducibility between computers and full control on which version of packages you get.

    But, when you learn all that, and get your company to go full-on with nix, having flakes in all projects, it’s the best programmer’s operating system out there. Here’s my config to steal stuff.

    • Midas@ymmel.nlOP
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      1 year ago

      Thanks for the config! I’m a developer and that also contributes to my interest - being able to express my configuration like that. Your config is a bit overwhelming, but in a good way, I’ve created a git repo for myself to start off and using yours as a reference since you seem to do a lot of cool shit. Am going to start off with flakes.

      Not sure if I’m going to jump in with both feet yet (since apart from my work laptop and servers, this is my only machine) but I am going to journey into writing a conifguration properly and testing it on a VM. Already using nix packages on my Arch install.

    • theshatterstone54@feddit.uk
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      1 year ago

      I was just going through the README and I’m definitely stealing the idea chowning the /etc/nixos dir and symlinking it to $HOME/.config/nixpkgs. How did I not think of this myself?

  • Decker108@lemmy.ml
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    1 year ago

    I had a colleague who ran NixOS on his work laptop and loved it. He even held a presentation to the rest of the engineering dept about it. Then IT contacted him and said company policy only allowed running Ubuntu and he had to reinstall.

    He resigned shortly after.

    • flashgnash@lemm.ee
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      1 year ago

      Daily driving it myself but have yet to really use flakes. What’s the benefit of them?

      • I use NixOS btw @lemmy.world
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        1 year ago

        They’re more reproducible, they make dependency management easier, the commands you use with them are easier to use and more readable, and it’s easier to have multiple packages/systems/home-manager profiles in a single git repo. They also make version management easier

        • flashgnash@lemm.ee
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          1 year ago

          I’ve heard of the advantages of using them but still not entirely sure what they’re actually used for? What situation would call for using a flake?

          • I use NixOS btw @lemmy.world
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            1 year ago

            For distributing software (nixpkgs is a flake and many projects have flakes), replacing channels (again, nixpkgs is a flake) or managing configs (check out my repo)

            • flashgnash@lemm.ee
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              1 year ago

              So the only use of flakes is for packaging software? Haven’t started packaging software for NixOS yet only managing my PC

              • iopq@lemmy.ml
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                1 year ago

                No, it’s also for your system to use locked versions of deps, so if you git clone you get a flakes.lock as well with all the versions. When you install from a git repo you get the same system again

  • as long as the existing packages are enough*, it’s really good. if you need to start packaging stuff yourself this is when you’ll usually start hitting the pain points (of both Nix the language and the documentation)

    *: nixpkgs does have a huge number of packages but that count is massively over-inflated by essentially being a meta-repo that also contains all the language-specific dependencies of it’s packages (think pip or npm) and mostly-auto-generated vim plugin packages and whatnot. for things you’d actually want to install “manually” the breadth of the AUR still trumps it in my experience

  • Tilted@programming.dev
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    1 year ago

    I have used it as a daily driver. My biggest issue was the nix language. If I was to go back, I would invest more time in learning nix.

    • flashgnash@lemm.ee
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      11 months ago

      Personally I still don’t have a great idea of how the language works, kinda just took the template and extended it following the same pattern, if it gave me a syntax error trying to do something funky I fix it and learn through trial and error

  • quentangle@lemmy.world
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    1 year ago

    Another daily driver user here (for about a year now). NixOS on all hardware that can run it (desktop, servers). Nix-darwin/home-manager/nix-on-droid everywhere else.

    I don’t see myself going back to anything else, it’s great.

    • flashgnash@lemm.ee
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      11 months ago

      Just having a look at nix on droid, from what I gather it’s basically just termux but with the nix package manager right?

      • quentangle@lemmy.world
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        11 months ago

        More or less, yep. It is integrated well though. For instance, you configure the terminal font with your nix config instead of setting it in the termux theme app.

        • flashgnash@lemm.ee
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          11 months ago

          Oh sweet, would I be a complete maniac for trying to run a DE with and xrdping in from Android as I’ve heard people do with base termux sometimes?

          • quentangle@lemmy.world
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            11 months ago

            I haven’t tried doing that, but it would definitely be possible. You won’t have out of the box support for X-related configuration like you do on NixOS though.

            If you give it a shot, please let me know how you go.

            • flashgnash@lemm.ee
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              11 months ago

              Ahh I’m not sure how I’d do it without being able to use the nix config to be honest was kinda hoping to just use the normal settings for enabling DEs

              Might still have a crack at it but NixOS might not be the right tool for the job

  • acow@beehaw.org
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    1 year ago

    Daily use for several years. Nix the package manager has been the bigger impact for me as I use multiple systems, and they’re not all running NixOS, but my nix configs work across them all. As for NixOS, I would not necessarily recommend it for a non-programmer, but if you’ve ever found yourself thinking about how operating systems are assembled from parts, then NixOS could be a very good fit for you.

  • snek_boi@lemmy.ml
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    1 year ago

    I’ve been daily driving it for six months now. I wish I would’ve know the Nix language well enough before jumping in to attempt declarative configurations. Not that it’s hard.

    I have had issues that have had me temporarily try Pop or Debian, but dependency hell is real and the Nix community is wonderful. I have been able to solve every single one of my handful of problems in less than a day or two (sometimes in minutes) with the community.

    Edit: oh yeah, and documentation is not great… Again, the community has been my source of answers to many questions.

    As many others have said, it’s hard to imagine life without NixOS once you get the hang of it.