6 Matching Annotations
  1. Mar 2021
  2. Feb 2021
    1. The command nix-shell will build the dependencies of the specified derivation, but not the derivation itself. It will then start an interactive shell in which all environment variables defined by the derivation path have been set to their corresponding values, and the script $stdenv/setup has been sourced. This is useful for reproducing the environment of a derivation for development.

      QUESTION: What exactly does nix-shell execute from the Nix expression (i.e., shell.nix, default.nix, etc.)?

      ANSWER: Based on my current understanding, the answer is everything. It calls $stdenv/setup (see annotation below) to set up the most basic environment variables (TODO: expand on this), and "injects" the most common tools (e.g., gcc, sed) into it.

      It also defines the phases (TODO: verify this) and builder functions, such as genericBuilder. For example, the default builder is just two lines:

      source $stdenv/setup

      TODO: pkgs/stdenv/generic/builder.sh is a mystery though.

      QUESTION: Once dropping into nix-shell, how do I know what phases to execute by looking at a default.nix? (E.g., [..]freeswitch/default.nix)

      ANSWER: As far as I can tell, one can override the phases in their Nix build expression (to build the derivation, see at the bottom), but they won't get executed as only the $stdenv/setup (see above) will get sourced, and no builders are called that, in return, invoke the phases (again, see above).

      So if one is using nix-shell

      • to create/hack on a package, the person has to manually invoke the builder or phases (TODO: still fuzzy on this subject)

      • to set up an environment, then one doesn't even have to worry about builders/phases because we just use nix-shell to clear the environment and to inject tools that we need for a given task

      QUESTION: When dropping into nix-shell, is this Nix expression (i.e., freeswitch/default.nix) executed? Or just parts of it?

      ANSWER: As stated above, all of the input Nix expression is evaluated, but no builders and build phases are called; although, nothing prevents one to override the phases, in case they are creating/hacking on a package.


      The command nix-shell will build the dependencies of the specified derivation, but not the derivation itself.

      What is the "derivation" here exactly? I know that it is a build expression, but does that mean the default.nix (or other Nix expression) nix-shell is invoked with?

      <sup>This statement also seems like a contradiction with how `nix-shell` works (i.e., if one issues `nix-shell -p curl`, then `curl` will be available in that sub-shell), but `-p` acts like a shortcut to as if `curl` had been listed in `buildInputs` so this is not the case.</sup>

      ANSWER: I have the feeling my confusion comes from the fact that the term "derivation" is used ambiguously in the manuals, sometimes to mean multiple things (see list below).

      TODO: Substantiate this claim, and make sure that it not coming from my misunderstanding certain topics.

      • Nix build expression (such as default.nix) whose output is going to become the store derivation itself (see last item at the bottom about the Nix manual's glossary definition)

      • store derivation.

      Had multiple cracks at unambiguously define what a derivation is, and here's a list of these:

    2. C.12. Release 1.6 (2013-09-10)In addition to the usual bug fixes, this release has several new features:The command nix-build --run-env has been renamed to nix-shell.
    1. example: get an environment which is used to build irssi (also see nix-shell) $ nix-build $NIXPKGS --run-env -A irssi example: get a persistent environment which is used to build irssi $ nix-build $NIXPKGS --run-env -A irssi --add-root

      nix-build <path> --run-env has been superseded by nix-shell. From Nix manual section C.12. Release 1.6 (2013-09-10):

      The command nix-build --run-env has been renamed to nix-shell.

  3. Jul 2020
    1. The most commonly supported tool for this is kerl. Kerl is a wrapper around downloading, compiling, and loading various Erlang/OTP versions on a single system, and will abstract away most annoying operations.
  4. Dec 2018