Nix: Derivation VS Flake - What to use?

by|inArticles||2 min read
Derivation VS Flakes<br>
Derivation VS Flakes<br>

In the context of Nix, a package manager and system configuration tool for Linux and other Unix systems, the concepts of "derivation" and "flake" represent two different but related elements. Let's explore their differences:

Nix Derivation

  • A Nix derivation is a basic building block in the Nix packaging system.
  • It is essentially a recipe for building a package or a piece of software.
  • A derivation describes everything needed to build the package, including its source code, dependencies, build scripts, and environment variables.
  • The outcome of a derivation is a "store path," a unique path in the Nix store (/nix/store) where the built package resides. This path includes a hash of all inputs to ensure immutability and reproducibility.
  • Derivations are typically written in the Nix language and are processed by the Nix build system to create the final software package.

Nix Flake

  • Introduced in more recent versions of Nix, a flake is a new way to manage Nix packages and configurations.
  • A flake is a self-contained package of Nix expressions that can produce reproducible builds.
  • It is designed to improve upon some of the limitations of the traditional Nix expressions, such as the lack of a standardized structure and difficulty in referring to packages from other repositories.
  • A flake can contain a collection of Nix packages, NixOS modules, NixOS system configurations, or other artifacts.
  • It provides a more declarative way to manage system configurations and dependencies, with improved reproducibility and easier sharing across different systems.
  • Flakes have a defined API and can reference other flakes, allowing for more modular and reusable configurations.

In summary, while a Nix derivation is a recipe for building an individual package, a Nix flake is a more holistic, structured, and reproducible way to manage Nix packages and configurations. Flakes aim to standardize and simplify the way Nix users share and deploy software and configurations.

Thank you for reading this far! Let’s connect. You can @ me on X (@debilofant) with comments, or feel free to follow. Please like/share this article so that it reaches others as well.

Related Articles

© Copyright 2024 - - All rights reservedVer. 415