My progress with NixOS / Hyprland


I’ve got this very old (~ 20 years) Dell pre-build desktop system. It has 4 GB of DDR2, a Core 2 Duo processor, and a new-old AMD graphics card. It should have been put out for scrap a long time ago.

It is currently running NixOS 23.05, and Hyprland / Wayland. For a weak system, it runs it very well. With NixOS active it has 2.7 GB free, and with Firefox up and running it doesn’t use more than half of the available memory. I changed the default shell to KSH, and so was able to use Powerlevel10K to polish the terminal’s appearance.

The problems that I ran into were:

  • using Dolphin, the file & filter icons didn’t appear
  • using grim, slurp and swappy, I got an error saying that there was a problem with the clipboard - although the program worked OK

The biggest problem was the documentation. NixOS is a minority interest, and Hyprland is a minority interest too, so it is not surprising that there wasn’t much on my Dolphin problem. It appears that there is a configuration problem with QT, where I haven’t set the QT_QPA_something environment variable.


Hi Francis,

I am experiencing the same problem with no icons in Dolphin on a fresh install of NixOS and Hyprland (without KDE). I am also experiencing another problem with Dolphin: it takes 5-20 seconds to start (whereas Nautilus or dde-file-manager start in 0-1 seconds).

Are you having this problem too?

Using strace dolphin I observed that during the startup of Dolphin, it is trying to find icons by checking for the existence of 1184818 icon files. That is probably the reason for slowdown.

You should most likely be using qt.platformTheme = "qt5ct" if you aren’t already. Add an icon theme such as breeze-icons and set this as the default icon theme in qt5ct.

Hey @quasigod @jennydaman @Francis, would anyone of you mind to add that answer as a little guide on Then others won’t run into the same problem in the future. Whoever (else) may pick it up, please post a link here so the others know it’s done and won’t duplicate the work.

I tried many combinations of qt theme configurations using home-manager, nothing seemed to work. However, installing dolphin and other KDE applications using flatpak has given me much more reliable results.

I am currently unsure how to fix the problem with dolphin installed from unstable, without KDE. I would love to contribute to the wiki once something comes up!

To you think it is worth mentioning flatpak as an alternative on the wiki?

Sure, why not? As long as it helps people getting work done, I think it should be fine. Ideally you’d make sure to point to resources on how implement your hint. Otherwise you’ll just send users for another round of searching.