Rootless nix profile

How can I install and use Nix packages like normal commands without root?

For example, I’d like to be able to run:

$ emacs

instead of:

$ ./nix run 'nixpkgs/release-23.11#emacs29-nox'

I have gotten as far as copying the nix command from ci build like:

$ curl -L > nix

And my ~/.config/nix/nix.conf looks like:

experimental-features = nix-command flakes
ssl-cert-file = /etc/ssl/certs/ca-bundle.crt
store = $HOME/.local/share/nix/root

With this setup, I can run something like:

$ ./nix run 'nixpkgs/release-23.11#emacs29-nox'

which is ok, except it is cumbersome and it often seems to be re-downloading and can take a few minutes.

I thought there might be a way to install to a profile so I could run with a “normal” command and get it to just use the package in my local/non-root store without updating/downloading all the time.

Is this possible? How would I do it?

If I try to do this:

$ ./nix profile install 'nixpkgs/release-23.11#emacs29-nox'

I get:

error: opening directory '/nix/store/za63...-emacs-nox-29.2': No such file or directory

Here I was hoping ./nix profile would do some of the same user namespace magic as what seems to be happening with ./nix run.

Are you using GitHub - DavHau/nix-portable: Nix - Static, Permissionless, Installation-free, Pre-configured ? If so, you still need to be in that chroot to install stuff with nix profile, see the readme.

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