Updating oci-container images?

I recently migrated a bunch of docker services onto NixOS as declarative oci-containers (podman backend). Everything works well, and podman pulled the latest images for each one on the first startup.

Now it’s been a couple weeks, and I know some of those images have updates. Is there a way to get all of them to update again? The NixOS configuration specifies the “latest” tag for each, but a nixos-rebuild doesn’t do anything here.

Do I need to deal directly with podman and update each image individually? Or is there a way to get all containers to rebuild on the latest images again?

I’m pretty new to Nix, but I migrated my ansible playbooks and a couple of scripts for managing/updating my containers for everything but the setup of the service in the NixOS configuration.

You could probably setup a simple systemd service to podman pull each image and restart periodically using Nix if you’re not too concerned about automatically updating latest containers. I prefer a bit more control to prevent inadvertent breakage due to an update…

Thanks! This is what I ended up doing, creating a systemd service/timer to periodically pull the latest image for each container.

My confusion came from the fact that I was able to specify the creation of the containers via virtualisation.oci-containers in the NixOS config, but couldn’t update them from the same source. But, in the end, pulling new images and restarting the services isn’t a big deal.

@nairou I don’t suppose you’d have that systemd service definition handy would you?

Sure. I ended up breaking it out as a script I could run manually if I want to, and then a service to run that.


update-containers = pkgs.writeShellScriptBin "update-containers" ''
	if [[ $(id -u) -ne 0 ]]; then

    images=$($SUDO ${pkgs.podman}/bin/podman ps -a --format="{{.Image}}" | sort -u)

    for image in $images
      $SUDO ${pkgs.podman}/bin/podman pull $image

Systemd timer/service definitions:

systemd.timers = {
  # ...
  updatecontainers = {
    timerConfig = {
      Unit = "updatecontainers.service";
      OnCalendar = "Mon 02:00";
    wantedBy = [ "timers.target" ];
  # ...

systemd.services = {
  # ...
  updatecontainers = {
    serviceConfig = {
      Type = "oneshot";
      ExecStart = "update-containers";
  # ...