Hi all! I am a recent user of NixOS and I had the chance to use it in a virtual machine as well as in the main system as a second operating system.
I really like the ideas behind it. The recently added installer allowed me to get to know the system without actively reading the documentation in the beginning which I think is a big plus.
Description of problems and possible solutions
Here I will describe what I personally noticed. I have tried to take everything into account, but if there is anything missing, I will be glad to hear your comments.
Graphical software management. As far as I understood, there are 2 ways - to finish compatibility with packagekit or develop a separate store.
Packagekit. It seems more limited to me. NixOS has several options to install software such as
configuration.nix. The second one is system-wide and the first one is very good for unprivileged users. I have not yet figured out how to implement this neatly without creating a lot of extra code. On the other hand, the configured packagekit backend is more versatile and will probably work in both Discover and GNOME Software.
Separate store. In general, there are already such developments that look very for GNOME which really good. However, considering the hard work that this good man has put into creating a standalone store, I realize that it’s still less likely to do the same for at least KDE than an off-the-shelf packagekit.
Graphical config editor.
Of those that are actively supported, I would like to highlight this graphical config editor (from the same creator who wrote the separate Nix package store for GNOME).
I would also like to know if there is a possibility that such utilities, when already mature enough, could be included in
nixpkgsor even in the basic application suite when installed with the graphical environment?
I understand that some users style their configurations in a special way. However, these utilities can either try to be more universal for everyone, or make them more linear in config modifications and display a warning if the config is “non-standard”.
Default binary launcher.
Although, considering the huge set of
nixpkgspackages, some may need to run non-NixOS bin/appaimages.
Assuming it is possible to add context menus
nautilus/dolphin/pcmanfm/etc. to run such files via
steam-run/appimage-run, does the NixOS philosophy allow to add this by default/by-choice or is this excluded?
Incompatible graphical settings/actions. Some items and system settings like time settings, default mountpoints in Gparted, etc. do not work because the OS relies on a declarative approach to their configuration.
Here, in fact, I see only one approach - in every way either to remove such clauses, or to make it clear that they do not work.
Conclusion (and what was I trying to say)
There are still questions on how to organize the garbage collector in a more automated/user friendly way, but I think that requires a separate discussion.
With this list and my thoughts, I would like to convey how I (and I am sure I am not the only one) would like to see NixOS.
And by posting these thoughts I would like to know what the community (especially the dignitaries and decision makers in the project) think about this and if there is a chance to make NixOS as user friendly as the usual Ubuntu/Fedora/Manjaro.