Guix is a package manager. It is based on the Nix package manager with Guile Scheme APIs and specializes in providing exclusively free software.



Installing packages

Installing specific packages

To install a single package or list of packages, including dependencies, issue the following command:

$ guix package -i package-name1 package-name2 ...
Install specific package version

Removing packages

To remove a single package:

$ guix package -r package-name

Upgrading packages

The following command synchronizes the repository channels and updates the system package references, excluding “local” packages that are not in the configured repositories:

Get updates

$ guix pull

To update to a specific commit:

$ guix pull --commit=commit

To update to a specific branch:

$ guix pull --branch=branch

To update from specific channels, from file:

$ guix pull -C file

Apply updates

To update a single package:

$ guix package -u package-name

Upgrading the system

To perform a system update:

$ guix system reconfigure /etc/config.scm

Roll-back a system upgrade

To roll back your system, list the available system generations:

$ guix system list-generations

and initiate a roll-back, to the desired generation:

$ guix system switch-generation number

Search for Package in Channels

Guix can search for packages in the channel, searching both in packages’ names and descriptions:

$ guix package -s package-name

To show more information about an individual package:

$ guix package --show=package-name

Add a new package channel

Channels specify Git repositories where guix pull looks for updates to Guix and external package repositories. By default guix pull reads %default-channels variable to load channels, we can alternatively can set ~/.config/guix/channels.scm for user defined channels or /etc/guix/channels.scm for system-wide channel customization, we also are able to pass custom channel definition file to the guix pull command using --channels switch. channel specifications file looks like this:

(cons (channel
       (name guix-hpc)
       (url "")
       (branch "master"))

the order that guix looks for channel definitions is:

  1. the --channels option;
  2. the user’s ~/.config/guix/channels.scm file;
  3. the system-wide /etc/guix/channels.scm file;
  4. the built-in default channels specified in the %default-channels variable.

Reference: Invoking guix pull (Official Guix Documenst)

Cleaning the package cache

Guix stores its downloaded packages in /gnu/store/ and does not remove the old or uninstalled versions automatically. This has some advantages:

  • It allows to downgrade a package without the need to retrieve the previous version
  • A package that has been uninstalled can easily be reinstalled directly from the cache folder

However, it is necessary to deliberately clean up the cache periodically to prevent the folder to grow indefinitely in size.

To collect remove all old or uninstalled versions:

$ guix gc

To remove n GB of packages:

$ guix gc -C nG

To ensure that n GB of space are available:

$ guix gc -F nG

To remove generations (packages) older than - e.g. 1m for one month

guix package -d duration

Cleaning th substitutes cache

in some cases, we might need to refresh the substitute list cached in our local machine, for this we can delete substitute cache folder located in: /var/guix/substitute/cache

Additional commands

Developing Packages

To view package definitions:

$ guix edit package-name

To build packages:

$ guix build package-name1 package-name2

To view the build log:

$ guix build --log-file package-name

To build packages and keep result on failure:

$ guix build -K package-name

To obtain the source code:

$ guix build -S package-name

To rebuild the package:

$ guix build --check package-name

To ross-compile to triplet—e.g., arm-linux-gnueabihf:

$ guix build --target=triplet ...

To download from URL and print it’s SHA256 hash

$ guix download URL

To print the hash of file:

$ guix hash file

To view dependencies:

$ guix graph package-name

To count dependent packages:

$ guix refresh -l package-name

To update package definition:

$ guix refresh package-name

To import JSON package metadata from file:

$ guix import json file

To import package from repo:

$ guix import repo package

To lint packages:

$ guix lint package-name

Creating Application Bundles

  • The guix pack command creates a shrink-wrapped pack or software bundle: it creates a tarball or some other archive containing the binaries of the software you’re interested in, and all its dependencies.
  • The resulting archive can be used on any machine that does not have Guix, and people can run the exact same binaries as those you have with Guix.

To create a tarball:

$ guix pack spec ...

The result here is a tarball containing a /gnu/store directory with all the relevant packages.
Note 1 Users of this pack would have to run /gnu/store/…-profile/bin/guile to run Guile

To create a Docker image:

$ guix pack -f docker spec ...

To create a Singularity image:

$ guix pack -f squashfs spec ...

To create a relocatable tarball:

$ guix pack --relocatable spec ...

To create a tarball where /bin symlinks to the packages bin directory (To work around Note 1):

$ guix pack -S /bin=bin spec ...

That way, users can happily type /opt/gnu/bin/guile and enjoy.

To create a package from manifest in file:

$ guix pack -m file

Creating Environments

To create an environment containing spec …:

$ guix environment --ad-hoc spec...

To create an environment to develop Python itself:

$ guix environment python

To run Python in a container:

$ guix environment --ad-hoc python -C -- python3

To create an environment for packages in manifest file:

guix environment -m file


guix substitute

guix substitute: error: connect: Network is unreachable (mirror down)

This happens, when either your network is down, or the guix mirror is unreachable.

substitution of /gnu/store/2lc6b2yfa7vkxbfvsf5pjwwp467g9lik-cairo-1.14.10.tar.xz failed
guix substitute: error: connect: Network is unreachable
substitution of /gnu/store/84dgv1gy1cyms37zlmykpsafbpwbm7xr-dbus-1.12.6 failed
guix substitute: error: connect: Network is unreachable
substitution of /gnu/store/hqhzp6d2b396yqdcappqbjk8xz1fm9jl-flex-2.6.1 failed
guix substitute: error: connect: Network is unreachable

To use an alternative guix mirror, you’ll need to authorize it first.

(1) Get the guix mirror public key and save it:

$ nano

The public key for is:

  (curve Ed25519)
  (q #8D156F295D24B0D9A86FA5741A840FF2D24F60F7B6C4134814AD55625971B394#)

(2) Authorize the mirror with Guix:

$ guix archive --authorize < /root/

(2) Use mirror with Guix:

$ guix package -i packagename --substitute-urls=

guix refresh

guix refresh: peer-certificate-status Throw gnutls-error

When guix refresh produces an error, similar to this:

gnu/packages/admin.scm:2452:13: thermald would be upgraded from 1.7.2 to 1.8
          16 (primitive-load "/root/.config/guix/current/bin/guix")
In guix/ui.scm:
  1583:12 15 (run-guix-command _ . _)
In ice-9/boot-9.scm:
    829:9 14 (catch _ _ #<procedure 7f3d05aee458 at guix/ui.scm:615…> …)
    829:9 13 (catch _ _ #<procedure 7f3d05aee470 at guix/ui.scm:733…> …)
In guix/scripts/refresh.scm:
   458:12 12 (_)
In srfi/srfi-1.scm:
    640:9 11 (for-each #<procedure 1557b00 at guix/scripts/refresh.…> …)
In guix/scripts/refresh.scm:
    241:2 10 (check-for-package-update #<package rename@1.00 gnu/pa…> …)
In guix/import/cpan.scm:
    286:2  9 (latest-release #<package rename@1.00 gnu/packages/admi…>)
In guix/import/json.scm:
     50:9  8 (json-fetch-alist _)
In ice-9/boot-9.scm:
    829:9  7 (catch srfi-34 #<procedure 2ce9b80 at guix/import/json…> …)
In guix/import/json.scm:
    42:19  6 (_)
In guix/http-client.scm:
    88:25  5 (http-fetch _ #:port _ #:text? _ #:buffered? _ ## _ ## _ ## …)
In guix/build/download.scm:
    403:4  4 (open-connection-for-uri _ #:timeout _ ## _)
    301:6  3 (tls-wrap #<input-output: socket 25> _ ## _)
In ice-9/boot-9.scm:
    829:9  2 (catch tls-certificate-error #<procedure 2ce9880 at gu…> …)
In guix/build/download.scm:
    220:2  1 (assert-valid-server-certificate #<session 372aea0> "fa…")
In unknown file:
           0 (peer-certificate-status #<session 372aea0>)

ERROR: In procedure peer-certificate-status:
Throw to key `gnutls-error' with args `(#<gnutls-error-enum An unimplemented or disabled feature has been requested.> peer-certificate-status)'.

To fix this, install gnutls with:

$ guix package -i gnutls

guix refresh: X.509 certificate verification issue

When you see an error, similar to this:

$ user@system ~$ guix refresh
          13 (primitive-load "/home/user/.config/guix/current/bin…")
In guix/ui.scm:
  1583:12 12 (run-guix-command _ . _)
In ice-9/boot-9.scm:
    829:9 11 (catch srfi-34 #<procedure 1839a80 at guix/ui.scm:615:…> …)
    829:9 10 (catch system-error #<procedure 1b1c0f0 at guix/script…> …)
In guix/scripts/refresh.scm:
   458:12  9 (_)
In srfi/srfi-1.scm:
    640:9  8 (for-each #<procedure 1839380 at guix/scripts/refresh.…> …)
In guix/scripts/refresh.scm:
    241:2  7 (check-for-package-update #<package acct@6.6.4 gnu/pac…> …)
In guix/gnu-maintenance.scm:
   561:21  6 (latest-gnu-release _)
   546:16  5 (_)
In ice-9/boot-9.scm:
    829:9  4 (catch srfi-34 #<procedure 1b1c0a0 at guix/http-client…> …)
In guix/http-client.scm:
   182:20  3 (_)
    88:25  2 (http-fetch _ #:port _ #:text? _ #:buffered? _ ## _ ## _ ## …)
In guix/build/download.scm:
    403:4  1 (open-connection-for-uri _ #:timeout _ ## _)
    301:6  0 (tls-wrap #<closed: file 3d22380> _ ## _)

guix/build/download.scm:301:6: In procedure tls-wrap:
X.509 certificate of '' could not be verified:

or this:

fatal: unable to access '': Problem with the SSL CA cert (path? access rights?)

This issue is related to SSL certificate verification.

To install fix this, install and configure nss-certs:

$ guix package -i nss-certs
$ export SSL_CERT_DIR="$HOME/.guix-profile/etc/ssl/certs"
$ export SSL_CERT_FILE="$HOME/.guix-profile/etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt"

Read more about X.509 Certificates in the Guix Manual.

guix pull

Executing guix pull command on a non-root user we might receive following error:

panther@panther ~$ guix pull
Migrating profile generations to '/var/guix/profiles/per-user/panther'...
guix pull: error: symlink: File exists: "/var/guix/profiles/per-user/panther/current-guix"

This problem is occurred because of an issue when guix tries to create symlink to current profile for user.

a workaround to resolve this issue is to remove current profile symlink, which is located in ~/.config/guix/current and relink that using following command:

ln -s "/var/guix/profiles/per-user/$USER/current-guix" "~/.config/guix/current"

Reference: Help-Guix mailing list

guix archive

guix archive: error: build failed: getting status of `/etc/guix/signing-key.sec’

guix archive: error: build failed: getting status of `/etc/guix/signing-key.sec': No such file or directory

To fix this, generate a new key pair for the daemon. This is a prerequisite before archives can be exported with –export. Note that this operation usually takes time, because it needs to gather enough entropy to generate the key pair. (Source)

$ guix archive --generate-key

guix package

guix package: error: build failed: some substitutes for the outputs of derivation

When you see an error, similar to this:

$ guix package -i python2
substitute: updating substitutes from ''... 100.0%

The following package will be installed:
   python2	2.7.14	/gnu/store/53qclss2ic8lrs4l9778rf4fkr55rg45-python2-2.7.14

substitute: updating substitutes from ''... 100.0%
substitute: updating substitutes from ''... 100.0%
substitute: updating substitutes from ''... 100.0%
substitute: updating substitutes from ''... 100.0%
substitute: updating substitutes from ''... 100.0%
The following derivations will be built:
guix substitute: error: download from '' failed: 504, "Gateway Time-out"
guix package: error: build failed: some substitutes for the outputs of derivation `/gnu/store/yhmbka6gryhl69432k3krvaz73ym8130-python2-2.7.14.drv' failed (usually happens due to networking issues); try `--fallback' to build derivation from source

This could have one of two causes:

  1. The package has been modified but a substitute is not yet available (the source has not been build)
  2. The mirror is failing (Gateway Time-out)

To fallback, to building unavailable packages locally, do:

$ guix package -i python2 --fallback

If that doesn’t work, refresh your package index first:

$ guix pull
$ guix package -u
$ guix package -i python2

guix package: error: unpack failed: tar Operation not permitted issue

starting phase `unpack
tar: .: Cannot utime: Operation not permitted
tar: .: Cannot change mode to rwxr-xr-t: Operation not permitted
tar: Exiting with failure status due to previous errors

This issue could be related tarbomb, and causes when we don’t provide a root folder inside package .tgz archive files.

While creating package archive files is not standard, and forces us to apply manual modifications and additional workarounds to fix upcoming issues, we still could create these package for this type of archives, by using (method url-fetch/tarbomb) instead of (method url-fetch) inside our package definition.

Reference: Help-Guix mailing list

guix package: installation paths

During package installation, each installed file, creates a symbolic link inside ~/.guix-profile/ based on its relative defined path.

For example while ~/.guix-profile/share/guile/site/2.2/ is the base path for installed guile scripts, we need to install our .scm scripts to share/guile/site/2.2 relative path in store. Later during package installation, a symlink will create inside current users guix-profile path.

Reference: Help-Guix mailing list

guix system reconfigure

guix system reconfigure: problem on detecting channels

in some cases, users might face issues related to reading custom channels during system reconfigure:

no code for module (px packages accounts).

we need to check if the channels file is located in ~/.config/guix/channels.scm and it’s accessible by current user (reconfigure needs to be performed by root user). later in order fix we need to perform following steps:

  • login with root user
    • using Vagrant as development environment, you can have root access over ssh using: ssh -p 2222 root@ command
  • remove guix cache folder located in /root/.cache/guix/
  • run guix pull to get a fresh copy of package repositories from server
  • run guix system reconfigure ... to reconfigure the based on system configuration file

relation between sudo command and guix profiles

guix pull command updates the guix command and package definitions only for the user it is ran as no matter to run with sudo or not.This means that if you choose to use guix system reconfigure in root’s login shell, you’ll need to guix pull separately.

Reference: regarding commit in Guix repositories

PantherX & (unofficial) GNU Guix Wiki.

Last update: 2021-10-12 20:09:22 +0000

Inspired by the excellent Arch Linux Wiki