I am an arch linux user btw. I started using linux on 2020. Should I switch to nix os btw ? Is it worth it ? What advantages will I get if I switch to nix os from arch linux ? My friends were telling me to try nixos but I am a little bit hesitant to switch to a new distro because I am very happy with arch linux. Everything “just works” so well on arch linux that I never felt the need to distrohop.
If arch works for you, I wouldn’t recommend you NixOS.
If you want to play with Nix first, you could install Nix on your arch linux, experiment with
nix profile. Maybe even take a look at GitHub - nix-community/home-manager: Manage a user environment using Nix [maintainer=@rycee]
If you feel you want more, you will need NixOS.
The main advantage over arch for a user like you is that, whenever you write something to a file in
/etc or or otherwise install packages and change configuration because you finally figured out how to solve e.g. suspend not working, you will be able to put that change in a git repository.
Next time you install a computer, instead of having to relearn all these little things from the arch wiki and spend months getting everything perfect, you’ll just reinstall your NixOS config and all those little things will just come preconfigured. You can also read your code and leave comments for yourself to understand why and what you did.
I doubt any arch user will have been using the distro for three years without ever making a change they have forgotten about by now; just imagine how hard it would be to get back your current system if your SSD broke. Speaking from experience, you’ll never get it back 100% - NixOS, when used correctly, makes 100% easy.
The downside is that you’ll need to learn a programming language to achieve this, and you’ll have to work around a lot of little paper cuts where NixOS’ unusual nature makes things a bit harder than on traditional distros.
So, personally, I think the answer to “should I use NixOS” - specifically for these personal computer use cases - depends on how much effort you think you’re willing to put into learning (think at least a few months to get comfortable, a year to get confident), how much running into tedious little problems all the time annoys you (NixOS has more of that than other distros, you’ll need to rollup your sleeves occasionally), and how annoying you find it that you can’t easily get a computer in working order again. If you’ve not seen much of the development side of software the learning curve will be even more steep.
Once you understand it, however, NixOS is incredible. No other distro comes close to what NixOS offers to a power user (except the guix semi-fork, I guess). Many who get to that point never want to switch away again: Why did you come to NixOS (if you are using it)?
Keep in mind that if you’ve only ever tried one distro, you won’t really know what you’re missing out on We humans have a tendency to stick with the first thing we learn/try out, it takes effort to actually go beyond that and experiment.
Arch “just works” because you’ve spent the time learning and configuring to make it “just work”, and all the little things that take some effort are already second nature to you. This does make arch more attractive right now, because you don’t need to learn anything new… But maybe you do want to broaden your horizons
Come over to the NixOS side…
As an Arch user, you are probably familiar with reinstalling multiple times (an absolute pain in the neck unless you use
archinstall) , and having to run long sequences of commands and edit dozens of configuration files in several configuration languages. How do I know? I was also once an Arch user.
But as a NixOS user, you will be able to do anything (well, almost everything) with almost no commands and (at minimum), one configuration file (
/etc/nixos/configuration.nix) in one language (Nix), and a reproducible system in which you can provision as many identical systems as you want, and synchronise them to a Git repository and (while putting your secrets in a seperate
.gitignore’d file), publish your configurations publicly for other NixOS users to use and fork.
Each time you reboot, you can set up your system to purge all but the vital directories (
/nix are the only ones needed to boot) and your precious work and files. By Cleansing Your System
With Fire™, you can instantly remove all decay and gunk that has built up in your system and make sure everything works exactly as you intended in your configurations, nothing more or less.
You can install almost any program you would ever need with Nixpkgs, the biggest package repository of all time, period. Just look at the top right corner:
And if you still want more (*gasp*), there are still the third-party flakes that some nix-related projects package themselves in.
And if you still want more, there are still the Nix User Repositories to look through…
NixOS doesn’t provide enough configuration options? You can install third-party configuration systems that fit perfectly into a NixOS system. You want to manage your home environment? Home Manager to the rescue! You want to configure Neovim more powerfully? Use NixVim! You want something else, but nobody else made it? You can make it DIY and share it with everybody else!
And I could go on, but I think that you get the idea!
Like always, it depends
- have you tried it in a VM?
- do you want to invest (any) time it?
check if your (main) use case has a proper coverage in NixOS
- e.g. if it is about python and complex environments (perhaps “wait” for dream2nix [or use the unmaintained mach-nix which still gets the some jobs done])
- if you are using a DM like plasma and a NVIDIA gpu, you could get issues with flickering windows …
If you have learned Arch and it works for your needs and you have one or two PCs and you change them when they break (once in a decade) — learning effort and disruption of changing to NixOS that does everything slightly differently will probably never pay off.
As of package availability — Nix-on-other-distribution works very well.
nix-shell is a pure addition to your workflow, not a disruption like NixOS, so you might want to see if you can get comfortable using it before curiousity runs out. Having task-specific environments in use at the same time with conflicting packages between the two is sometimes nice.
That’s just nvidia-barely-supports-wayland problems and should apply to non-NixOS distros too, right? The hyprland folks have some patches to wlroots to better work around nvidia bugs if that’s your thing, maybe similar things exist for the kde/gnome backends.
I always recommend to start with something like devbox/devshell/devenv/flox… they have the same mental model of NixOS, it you help you learn, nix language, nix modules, nixpkgs… In the worst cases, you can resort to your actual distro packages to do your development job.
Then, if you are happy with that, home-manager, and/or NixOS.
I have downloaded the graphical installation ISO, and burnt it onto a DVD.
I now have a live version, which doesn’t affect the underlying system, so I can try it out. Then I can install it over my previous OS.
So, you can try it out at no cost or risk.
Is it profitable to add a whinge about the fact that the installer STILL doesn’t hand-hold the Wifi setup for the new user?
Probably not profitable, but it’s a worthwhile comment Does it not at least offer networkmanager?
Last time I checked, you had to manually close calamares, connect via NM, manually open calamares, as there is no way to retrigger the online check after it failed once. And the online check happens immediately after start.
No idea. I am coming fresh from Windows / Mint / Ubuntu. I am a bit overwhelmed right now.
When you try to install it, the software refuses - no network connection. It could have offered to set up the Wifi services.
Looking at the history of this issue, promises have been made, nothing has been done.
I have a cable. I am going to try an installation using a wired network.
Then I’ll have to figure out the Wifi settings.
I have installed NixOS, using a wired connection from the PC desktop network port to the port at the back of the Wifi router. The installation was very easy.
Clicking on the network icon gave me Wifi to connect to. Entering the Wifi password gave me a good connection first time.
Just a few font problems for some reason…
Just a few font problems for some reason…
Which desktop did you pick? Maybe we can help with that…
Just saying, I feel like we should move the troubleshooting to another thread.
All I mean is that we probably should persuade @ctgfsj to switch to NixOS while handling @Francis’s issues on another.
@Francis, if possible, you should probably start a new thread and reference it here.
i have installed NixOS, configured it, and documented what I did.
A new thread on font corruption has been done elsewhere. A mysterious corruption of the fonts, which even more mysteriously fixed itself. I don’t know how to reference the thread on this system.
The font corruption was, I felt, pertinent to the question of whether NixOS is worth switching to. From my experience, so far, NixOS is quite a pleasant system, with a few oddities:
- Mysterious self-fixing fonts
- The WiFi was switched off during installation, so I used a fixed cable, and then configured WiFi on the installed desktop. Most operating systems sort out WiFi during installation…
- NixOS doesn’t provide a default channel on a console, causing me problems with nix-env (now fixed)
Unanswered questions include:
- How to create a virtual machine (I have found some instructions, and will have to try them out)
- Whether I will have problems with installing code that doesn’t have a Nix package
On balance, so far, I would recommend NixOS.
I am an arch linux user btw.
I was an arch user btw.
I started using linux on 2020. Should I switch to nix os btw ?
Is it worth it ?
What advantages will I get if I switch to nix os from arch linux ?
A gazillion more packages than arch.
And a gazillion more packages than aur.
And none of them are “second citizens”.
And time machine - ops - rollback for the system as a whole.
And a whole new way/paradigm/philosophy of installing packages.
My friends were telling me to try nixos
They are certainly crazy. However they have good heart.
but I am a little bit hesitant to switch to a new distro because I am very happy with arch linux. Everything “just works” so well on arch linux that I never felt the need to distrohop.
I am not a fan of distrohop too. I have used only Slackware, Debian and Arch before writing my own expression (the equivalent of PKGBUILD) for mpv and having it merged.
I suggest you to try it on a VM before “abandoning” Arch.
The first thing i do is close the installer conect wifi then run installer . Nixos installer is truely half baked and needs alot of attention like offering a uefi install better partition guide more fs choices .
And no, i wouldn’t recommend nixos itvhas alot of overheads and if your not familiar with garbage maintenance it can gobble up alot of space on each rebuild switch and uodates.
Maybe we should provide a “newbie” module that is automatically enabled when using the GUI installer?
- auto garbage collection
- auto update?
- auto /tmp clean
- auto store optimise once in a while
- anything that could make a new NixOS user’s life easier
A dedicated module for that seems more sensible than changing many defaults that most users would have to track and override.
Lets just remove the GUI installer? It makes “newies” assume NixOS isn’t different from other distros until after its to late…