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Notes on "Guix Reference Manual," Sections 1-3

I’ve just installed the Guix System Distribution on my desktop, and in an attempt to learn it fully I am going to read the manual and record notes here.

The full text of the documentation is available at

The manual says GNU Guix is a package management tool, letting unprivileged users manage packages. It can be installed on an existing GNU/Linux system, or as a standalone operating system, Guix System. That’s what I’m doing.

Guix implements the “‘functional package management’ discipline,” apparently pioneered by Nix, another Linux distribution.

The package build/install process is a fuction. Its inputs are the build script, the compiler, dependent libraries, and it returns an installed package.

Packages can only refer to packages and such that were passed as inputs, and can’t modify a system outside of its build and installation directories.

The results of package build functions is cached in “the Store,” under a folder that has a hash of all the inputs, so it’s appropriately unique. That’s pretty clever! It’s, by default, under /gnu/store/.

So, on to the Guix System. It comes with some core packages…

You “declare all aspects of the operating system configuration and Guix takes care of instantiating the configuration in a transactional, reproducible, and stateless fashion.”

What… does that mean? Is it like Emacs, where you write an initialization file and that gets loaded on startup? And then… it checks the hash that the inputs of your build function calls against the packages that are there to see if things need to be installed?

Maybe I’m wrong, but I think that might be it. So, I’ve installed a few packages since I started up the system… I wonder where my system init is.

(Also, isn’t that how Arch used to work, back when? A series of startup scripts that you could just… edit? I miss that; I had a very speedy netbook because of it.)

The next section of the manual is for how to install Guix ontop of another Linux, so I’ll skip it for now; hopefuly that’s fine.

The next section I already read before installing the system, because it’s how to install the Guix System.

Well… I didn’t read it, as such. I skimmed it. Let me read it thoroughly now.

So, it starts off with some limitations - that’s a good idea. I should start off my project installation guides with disclosing limitations/failures of the project. Logical Volume Management is missing, but I don’t know what that is and so I don’t think I’ll miss it. KDE is also missing. That’s fine, it’s never been my preferred window manager. I’m using MATE right now; I made it all gray and blue to look like old-school Windows.

It also warns me that wifi support is ify. My wifi chip does work, but I’m also wired into the router so that’s irrelevant to me.

Okay, blah blah, more installation instructions. Nothing that seems too important: I think I’m ready to start using the system.

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