Matthew Croughan: What Nix Can Do - SCaLE20x

The mother of all Nix demos by @matthewcroughan (via @pxc)


I’ve seen a lot of introductory Nix videos over the years because I like to track what people are saying about Nix online. (When I started, this was very easy to do, because Nix-related videos were rare!)

This is really outstanding. Thanks @matthewcroughan a ton for putting this talk together, and doing this live in front of people at a great conference like SCaLE!


Is there a particular portion I should watch ?

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i think the bit where the angry docker and yocto mob comes in with burning torches and pitch forks…, and wrestle matt off stage is rather good.


I think you have to watch it completely to get all the joy out of it!
Found it very entertaining and got some insights out of it.
@matthewcroughan Thanks for going on for the whole time, and they didn’t even let you get to the part of your phone!


It’s 15 minutes of presentation and then 1 hour and 45 minutes of demos + Q&A, where questions were generally (always?) answered with little demos.

Some of the individual demos are pretty daring, to the point that they would seem foolish to attempt if you were demoing anything other than Nix. My favorite of these was cross-compiling a full desktop OS image for Raspberry Pi on the Intel laptop being used for the presentation, and then deploying it to real hardware live, complete with automatic connection to the conference’s WiFi. That demo (and a couple others) elicited some spontaneous applause from the audience. :slight_smile:

Autoprovisioned micro VMs on the conference LAN, accessible via SSH, was also a really cool touch. A lot of things like that, and interaction with the audience for basically the whole duration of the talk, just makes the thing feel very lively and accessible.

It’s not going to cover capabilities you’ve never used (or at least heard of) if you’ve been using Nix for a long time, but it’s great to see so many practical uses for Nix make such strong impressions in a single talk. The pacing and breadth of functionality covered are excellent, and @matthewcroughan is dynamic, playful, and responsive to the audience throughout this tour of great ways to use Nix.

It might be worth chopping up and compiling into clips of individual demos, although that would obviously be quite a bit of work.


An hour in but is great.


I sure would like to know how that was setup?


The full source code to the ‘nix construct’ will be printed in ‘The Art of Working Deterministically’ , available from all good book stores.

If you pledge a preorder or 10 , you can get it today!

Not sure what you mean, this is going to become a book on Nix(OS)?

It’s a set of interactive tutorials in the fashion of

it’s not based on docker containers however, as it’s hard to get a full nixos environment in a container… it’s actually not what you should use a container for, as a containers is a process , not a full VM.

I’m going to try an have an some incentive (fame, fortune, felling good) so the best nixxers in this community can submit interactive courses.

Think of nixos tests, but you can play along in a fully functional sandnox, you can even do ‘nixos-rebuild switch’ and practise with some of the cool nixos deployment tools. (deployrs, nixops, nixinate , etc , etc etc , etc ).

The back end is complete, however my front end web skills are… well something to be desired.

If i can find some developers who have like minds, i can get this stood up to a MVP.

The Book is shows a way to self host this platform, so you can use it for yourself, or open it to your
nix curious friends…

I hope that makes sense?


Wish you great succes with this endeavour, sounds good! Although I sometimes have trouble understanding what you really mean when reading your replies.
But that sure has to be because I am getting old and you are from the future :wink:


It’s mainly that i battle with Dyslexia, but i tried to over come.

Here is an example of a ‘hack’ from the highly respected register (biting the hand that is IT). To piece on line, for a small grammatical error in a ‘comment’ thread. not in a Thesis, or Manuscript. We have a word for someone like this at home… I cannot Utter it here. Engineering discourse is discourse, but to make things personal. The odd lunatic i can deal with, but someone claiming to work for a web site that i’ve respected for 30 years?

However, I try to over come.

I’m one of the few native English Europeans…and because of a few shennigans from the powers that be, i’m not even European any more :frowning: . forum. You can learn English, but you’ll never really learn English as it is written and spoken like the queen. :wink:

I’ll try and make my interaction more succinct in the future, and if you do ‘anything’ in open source, your gonna get haters.

I mean, half time i say i use Nix, i get hate even before they know ‘who’ i am.



Then we can shake hands on the D part…
By no means my reply was a attack of some sort at you.
I sure hope you didn’t perceive it that hard as the quoted Register reply sureley is…
So sorry if it did.
English is not my native language so I sometimes miss out on the written English humor, although loving it when seeing and hearing it!
Maybe I should do one of those Railaway trips going west and we could have a drink to clear the air.


The question after all these months is still relevant for me, could you please explain what tech you used with the VM setup?

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Don’t mind it. makes no sense, and it isn’t worth the “brain energy” you spend on it.

If anyone does not mind, a little offtopic:
That conversation was an interesting read.
@RaitoBezarius was awesome, I truly admire such honesty :slight_smile:

But what I actually want to ask was this … hehehe :slight_smile:@matklad wrote:

the state of the system is encoded in one short human-readable file

Heheh … I must be doing something wrong, because my system file, is neither one, nor is it short, and sometimes not very human readable !!! :slight_smile:

Anyway, sorry for the offtopic. If mods feel this is out of place, delete this at will !

Thanks @aJWXSLWNVHRrz , you gotta be thick skinned of the internet.

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A 5 line shell script. If you want to know how, there’s always

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