Any possibility of purely offline GUI installer ISO?

Is there a possibility to support fully-offline GUI installer images? Not all target machines have network access, and proxy support on all current NixOS GUI installers is non-existent at best.
When behind a proxy, NixOS behaves as if there is no network access at all. Environment variables or system proxy settings? Disregarded. Proxychains? DNS resolution failure when “copying channels”.
It’d be appreciated if the installer images can actually install the system without a network connection to benefit all. Unless NixOS doesn’t want to support machines disconnected from the Internet?

Hello, Welcome to nix

The installer doesn’t know which system you’ll be installing. If you add a few packages to you configuration.nix, then those should available in the iso. It will be TB’s of data.

You can build your own ISO fairly trivially, and put whatever configuration and packages you want in it beforehand so that you do not need a network connection at install time. Essentially you import the same modules the official iso uses to enable a special build target which builds the iso in a Nix derivation. Don’t remember the specifics off hand but I’m sure there is a guide somewhere.

Then… Why do almost all other distros offer offline installer images with minimal set of packages to get started, and don’t cost terabytes of data?

Is it possible to use the graphical installer (Calamares) for the install process of the custom-built NixOS image? And since the GUI installer image already has several apps installed, it simply doesn’t make sense not to offer offline installation with the apps already on-board.

You can basically pick your flavor by importing the corresponding module from here:

The GUI installer is for the 90%+ of users we who have a normal desktop (internet, physical access) happy path. For more advanced cases, you’ll want to look into what the others are suggesting such as building your own iso or creating a NixOS Netboot image.

If you’re not on NixOS you may follow setting proxy variables during installation.

The proper way to set proxy settings in NixOS is to use the related NixOS options.

It might be possible to bootstrap the system with the GUI installer by doing a minimal install (no extra packages or services, and only add a user). After the initial install, then try to configure the proxy with the NixOS options mentioned above. If there’s no additional sources/packages needed, it should be able to build the new generation without internet access as the module is only writing to files and environment variables. Once rebuilt, the proxy settings should be applied.

Now that I’ve built a custom GUI installer image, how am I gonna install it to the hard disk without a network connection?

1 Like

I haven’t used the gui installer.
I use the cli and use a 2nd computer which already runs NixOS.
I connect the 2 using a switch or router.

  • make a custom live iso and put it on a thumbdrive
    – enable ssh
    – add you keys
    – avahi

Note: I left parts in here you won’t need:

{ lib
, pkgs
, ...
  imports = [
  isoImage.volumeID = lib.mkForce "my-nixos-live";
  isoImage.isoName = lib.mkForce "my-nixos-live.iso";
  # Use zstd instead of xz for compressing the liveUSB image, it's 6x faster and 15% bigger.
  isoImage.squashfsCompression = "zstd -Xcompression-level 6";

  networking = {
    useDHCP = false;
    hostName = "my-nixos-live"; # default: "nixos"
    usePredictableInterfaceNames = false;
    interfaces.eth0.useDHCP = true;
    # interfaces.eth0.ipv4.addresses = [
    #   {
    #     address = "";
    #     prefixLength = 24;
    #   }
    # ];
    # defaultGateway = "";
    # nameservers = [ "" "" "" ];

  boot.supportedFilesystems = [ "zfs" "f2fs" ];
  boot.zfs.requestEncryptionCredentials = true;
  # serial connection for apu
  boot.kernelParams = [ "console=ttyS0,115200n8" ];

  users.mutableUsers = false;
  users.users.root.openssh.authorizedKeys.keys = [
    "ssh-ed25519 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx"
  users.users = {
    "nixos" = {
      isNormalUser = true;
      home = "/home/nixos";
      password = "";
      uid = 1000;
      extraGroups = [ "systemd-journal" "wheel" ];
      openssh.authorizedKeys.keys = [
        "ssh-ed25519 AAAAC3NzaC1lZDI1NTE5AAAAIOLiUIkiHcw53KVob6Y8aVp3hAUieo+GWDECJyiEcb2K sl@sl-think"

  # sshd
  services.openssh = {
    enable = true;
    settings.PasswordAuthentication = false;
    settings.PermitRootLogin = lib.mkDefault "prohibit-password";
    hostKeys = [
      { type = "rsa"; bits = 4096; path = "/etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key"; }
      { type = "ed25519"; path = "/etc/ssh/ssh_host_ed25519_key"; }

  services.avahi = {
    enable = true;
    nssmdns = true;
    publish.addresses = true;
    publish.domain = true;
    publish.enable = true;
    publish.userServices = true;
    publish.workstation = true;

  # Turn on flakes.
  nix.package = pkgs.nixVersions.stable;
  nix.extraOptions = ''
    experimental-features = nix-command flakes

  # includes this flake in the live iso : "/etc/nixcfg"
  environment.etc.nixcfg.source =
      (path: type:
        baseNameOf path
        != ".git"
        && type != "symlink"
        && !(pkgs.lib.hasSuffix ".qcow2" path)
        && baseNameOf path != "secrets")

  environment.systemPackages = with pkgs; [

  ## FIX for running out of space / tmp, which is used for building
  fileSystems."/nix/.rw-store" = {
    fsType = "tmpfs";
    options = [ "mode=0755" "nosuid" "nodev" "relatime" "size=14G" ];
    neededForBoot = true;

Now from you laptop to the live machine.
You can install is remotely using commands or use nixos-anywhere.

note: I’m currently using my own scripts, I’m looking into replacing some parts with nixos-anywhere.

Your laptop’s nix-store will be used to install the machine.

@PoneyClairDeLune I also wanted this capability, so I created this repo which allows you to build an ISO with the graphical Calamares Gnome installer that can install your configuration completely offline.

Hope you find it useful.