Install GNU Guix on Digital Ocean

In this tutorial we want to provide a step-by-step guide to transform an existing DigitalOcean droplet to a Guix System instance.

Refer to px-install for scripts:



In order to Install Guix System on DigitalOcean, we need a fresh droplet with at least 2GB of memory. In this tutorial we use a Debian 9.7 droplet instance as our starting point, and we are installing Guix 1.0.1 binaries on it. using other distributions, you might need to change some parts by yourself.

Installation Process

Login to Droplet

In order to install Guix System, you need to login to your instance with root user:

ssh -i /path/to/ssh_key root@...

Required Packages

We need to install xz-utils package in order to extract the archive file:

apt-get update
apt-get install xz-utils -y

Guix Binaries

you need to downlad Guix binaries from it’s official website, extract and copy them to your instance:

cd /tmp
tar --warning=no-timestamp -xf ~/guix-binary-1.0.1.x86_64-linux.tar.xz
mv var/guix /var/ && mv gnu /

Prepare Guix profile

In order to prepare Guix profile for root user we have to create symlinks in their home directory:

mkdir -p ~root/.config/guix
ln -sf /var/guix/profiles/per-user/root/current-guix ~root/.config/guix/current

export GUIX_PROFILE="`echo ~root`/.config/guix/current" ;
source $GUIX_PROFILE/etc/profile

Guix Users and Group

In order to run guix-daemon we need to create guixbuild system group, and add guixbuilder users to it:

groupadd --system guixbuild
for i in `seq -w 1 10`;
   useradd -g guixbuild -G guixbuild         \
           -d /var/empty -s `which nologin`  \
           -c "Guix build user $i" --system  \

Guix daemon

now we need to run guix-daemon and make it to run on boot:

cp ~root/.config/guix/current/lib/systemd/system/guix-daemon.service /etc/systemd/system/
systemctl start guix-daemon && systemctl enable guix-daemon

Guix Access for all users

now we need to sumlink Guix in order that all users have access to it:

mkdir -p /usr/local/bin
cd /usr/local/bin
ln -s /var/guix/profiles/per-user/root/current-guix/bin/guix

mkdir -p /usr/local/share/info
cd /usr/local/share/info
for i in /var/guix/profiles/per-user/root/current-guix/share/info/* ;
   do ln -s $i; done

Authorize Official Guix Servers

now we need to add official server public keys to Guix:

guix archive --authorize < ~root/.config/guix/current/share/guix/

Guix Packages

now we need to update Guix package repositories and install required packages:

guix pull
guix package -i glibc-utf8-locales
export GUIX_LOCPATH="$HOME/.guix-profile/lib/locale"
guix package -i openssl

System configuration File

now that we have a working Guix Package Manager, we have to setup system configuration file.

first we need to create config.scm in /etc/ path:

touch /etc/config.scm

now we need to add following configuration to our system configuration file and modify our network related details, based on our droplet’s details:

(use-modules (gnu))
(use-service-modules networking ssh)
(use-package-modules screen ssh certs tls)

;; Update your hostname and timezone
  (host-name "guix")
  (timezone "Europe/Berlin")
  (locale "en_US.UTF-8")

  (bootloader (bootloader-configuration
                (bootloader grub-bootloader)
                (targets '("/dev/vda"))))
  (file-systems (cons* (file-system
                        (device "/dev/vda1")
                        (mount-point "/")
                        (type "ext4"))
  ;; Add your user account
  (users (cons (user-account
                (name "username")
                (group "users")
                (supplementary-groups '("wheel"))
                (home-directory "/home/username"))

  ;; Globally-installed packages.
  (packages (cons* screen openssh nss-certs gnutls %base-packages))

  ;; Set your Droplet, static network configuration
  (services (cons* (static-networking-service "eth0" "XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX"
                    #:netmask "XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX"
                    #:gateway "XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX"
                    #:name-servers '("" ""))
                   (service openssh-service-type
                            (permit-root-login 'without-password)))

IMPORTANT NOTE: Don’t forget to replace network related details which is filled by XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX with your droplet’s network related configurations.

Build Guix System

now, we need to build and reconfigure this configuration file using Guix:

guix system build /etc/config.scm
guix system reconfigure /etc/config.scm

since we are installing Guix System on an existing distro, running guix system reconfigure, we will receive following error:

guix system: error: symlink: File exists: "/etc/ssl"

to solve this issue, we need to remove old configurations of distro, and create a new /etc folder for Guix System, with necessary data:

mv /etc /old-etc
mkdir /etc
cp -r /old-etc/{passwd,group,shadow,gshadow,mtab,guix} /etc/

if we run guix system reconfigure again, we will receive Success message:

guix system reconfigure /etc/config.scm


after reboot, we could see that old Debian droplet is gone, and we have a running Guix System instance.


This document is an updated version of previously provided Blog Post. we use Guix Binary Installation and Guix Build Environment Setup documents to update this tutorial to version 1.0.1 of Guix System.

Some other useful references are:

PantherX & (unofficial) GNU Guix Wiki.

Last update: 2024-04-21 10:28:03 +0000 | Apache-2.0

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