Because (looking at the end of a random
.nix of mine) this
is so much better than this:
I find it both amusing and sad that people criticize Lisps for the parentheses, when the parentheses are one of the core strengths of Lisps, and people who get over the initial eww and actually use Lisps, end up loving them. For one, the editing experience is so much better precisely because of the parentheses.
I find it almost as sad to see Nix being criticized for inventing its own Turing-complete language, that language having unfamiliar syntax, that language being functional, that language being lazy, and so on.
It’s not being functional or lazy or having a syntax that surprises Java programmers, that makes Nix difficult. It’s the vast vocabulary and the immensely complex, nasty, ugly, concern-cross-cutting problems that it is used to solve, combined with the fact that the documentation is mostly only useful if you already know what you’re doing.
The language itself isn’t a problem at all, so it’s unfortunate that so many people make the mistake of convincing themselves that the language is the cause of their Nix frustrations.
It’s a tragedy if Guix exists (and splits the manpower of the niche-but-absolutely-vital effort to bring declarative system management to the world) because some people thought Nix was a great idea but didn’t like the shape of the balanced delimiters used by the language.
 Anecdote time: That horrible [L]ost [I]n [S]uperfluous [P]arentheses syntax goes by the name of S(ymbolic)-expressions. Originally these were meant to be a low-level intermediate representation used only in the Lisp compiler, not fit for human consumption. The humans were meant to read and write M(eta)-expressions: stuff that non-Lispers would recognize as a programming language. But a couple of clowns implemented something that executed the S-expressions directly, everybody started using them, and decided that they preferred them to the M-expressions, so the the latter were abandoned and Lisp has been famous for its brackets ever since.