How would you pitch Nix(Os) if you had 5 minutes?

If someone asked you to explain Nix(OS) with just a few minutes how would you sell it? Lets assume you have a (technical) audience that is eager to have the “whole thing” explained to them.

I think it might be helpful to understand the different angles people use to pitch Nix(OS) and exchange success stories that got people into considering it. Also stories of failures and their causes could help us identify what to improve upon.



I have a draft of a pitch (that could eventually perhaps go into the manual) here: · GitHub

It’s still a little more excited than I’d like, and there’s a few TODO markers left, and some things probably need changing… but so far, I’ve gotten mostly positive responses from the (non-NixOS) people I’ve showed it to.


This is what I used at our FOSDEM stand a couple of years ago: Sander van der Burg's blog: A sales pitch explanation of NixOS

From my experience, advertising NixOS is hard, because it depends on the background of your audience. That’s why I have three kinds of explanation recipes :slight_smile:

I like how you explained the learning curve and that people have to invest time. That’s something i always tell people, so they know what to expect.

One thing i missed was the term “purely functional”. Maybe that’s just an implementation detail a user don’t need to know, but then we might need a new claim for NixOS.

Yep, that is intentional. While this comes across as a positive attribute towards people who are already functional programmers, I don’t think it’s a good pitch to a more general public - arguable it’s a bit misleading (given the lumps of impurity and imperative configuration in current-day NixOS), and it’s a term that just doesn’t mean anything to a lot of people, other than “those academic people”.

I think there’s a lot more value in describing the consequences of Nix’ design for end users, and leaving the ‘specialized’ term for it up in the air. This sidesteps preconceived notions, and attracts interest from people who aren’t familiar with the term or paradigm at all, but who might nevertheless appreciate the qualities afforded by it.

I’d apply this even to a single-line slogan; rather than “the purely functional OS”, for example, “the reliable and customizable OS” (or something along those lines) might be a better pitch - because it immediately communicates to people why they should care, regardless of their existing background.

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The pitch should also depends on who you are talking to. A sysadmin might be more interested in avoiding configuration drift, system rollbacks and just general control on what is being installed on a machine. Whereas a developer might be more interested in having shared developer environment, per project package versions and generating composable docker images. And a business person some more general attributes like auditability if they are in a regulated industry like banks.

One thing I tend to ask first is whenever they have a hard dependency on windows. Otherwise I have seen the pitch get their interest and then being killed as soon as I mention that it doesn’t work on Windows.

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