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nix modules for darwin

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Nix modules for darwin,

for macOS.


nix-build -A installer

NOTE: the system activation scripts don't overwrite existing etc files, so files like

won't be updated by default. If you didn't use the installer or skipped some of the options you'll have to take care of this yourself. Either modify the existing file to source/import the one from
or remove it. Some examples:
  • mv /etc/bashrc /etc/bashrc.orig
  • echo 'if test -e /etc/static/bashrc; then . /etc/static/bashrc; fi' | sudo tee -a /etc/bashrc
  • echo 'if test -e /etc/static/bashrc; then . /etc/static/bashrc; fi' | tee -a ~/.bashrc


The installer will configure a channel for this repository.

nix-channel --update darwin
darwin-rebuild changelog


There's also an uninstaller if you don't like the project and want to remove the configured files and services.

nix-build -A uninstaller

Example configuration

Check out modules/examples for some example configurations.

{ pkgs, ... }:
  # List packages installed in system profile. To search by name, run:
  # $ nix-env -qaP | grep wget
  environment.systemPackages =
    [ pkgs.vim

Auto upgrade nix package and the daemon service.

services.nix-daemon.enable = true; nix.package = pkgs.nix; }

Flakes (experimental)

There is also preliminary support for building your configuration using a flake. This is mostly based on the flake support that was added to NixOS.

A minimal example of using an existing configuration.nix:

  description = "John's darwin system";

inputs = { nixpkgs.url = "github:nixos/nixpkgs/nixpkgs-20.09-darwin"; darwin.url = "github:lnl7/nix-darwin/master"; darwin.inputs.nixpkgs.follows = "nixpkgs"; };

outputs = { self, darwin, nixpkgs }: { darwinConfigurations."Johns-MacBook" = darwin.lib.darwinSystem { modules = [ ./configuration.nix ]; }; }; }

Inputs from the flake can also be passed to

, these inputs are then accessible as an argument, similar to pkgs and lib inside the configuration.
darwin.lib.darwinSystem {
  modules = [ ... ];
  inputs = { inherit darwin dotfiles nixpkgs; };

Since the installer doesn't work with flakes out of the box yet nix-darwin will need to be to be bootstrapped using the installer or manually. Afterwards the flake based configuration can be built. The

of your system will be used to decide which darwin configuration is applied if it's not specified explicitly in the flake ref.
darwin-rebuild switch --flake ~/.config/darwin

Manual Install

sudo ln -s private/var/run /run

Configure the channel

nix-channel --add darwin nix-channel --update export NIX_PATH=darwin-config=$HOME/.nixpkgs/darwin-configuration.nix:$HOME/.nix-defexpr/channels:$NIX_PATH

Or use a local git repository

git clone [email protected]:LnL7/nix-darwin.git ~/.nix-defexpr/darwin export NIX_PATH=darwin=$HOME/.nix-defexpr/darwin:darwin-config=$HOME/.nixpkgs/darwin-configuration.nix:$NIX_PATH

cp ~/.nix-defexpr/darwin/modules/examples/simple.nix ~/.nixpkgs/darwin-configuration.nix

you can also use this to rebootstrap nix-darwin in case

darwin-rebuild is to old to activate the system.

$(nix-build '' -A system --no-out-link)/sw/bin/darwin-rebuild build $(nix-build '' -A system --no-out-link)/sw/bin/darwin-rebuild switch

. /etc/static/bashrc

... or for

(nix-build '' -A system --no-out-link)/sw/bin/darwin-rebuild build
(nix-build '' -A system --no-out-link)/sw/bin/darwin-rebuild switch

This will create and manage a system profile in

, just like nixos.

The default

in nix-darwin will look for this repository in
and for your configuration in
. If you want to change these you can set your own with
nix.nixPath = [ ];
$ darwin-rebuild switch
building the system configuration...
these derivations will be built:
building path(s) ‘/nix/store/wlq89shja597ip7mrmjv7yzk2lwyh8n0-etc-zprofile’
building path(s) ‘/nix/store/m8kcm1pa5j570h3indp71a439wsh9lzq-etc’
building path(s) ‘/nix/store/l735ffcdvcvy60i8pqf6v00vx7lnm6mz-nixdarwin-system-16.09’
setting up /etc...
setting up launchd services...
writing defaults...
$ darwin-option services.activate-system.enable

Default: false

Example: no example

Description: Whether to activate system at boot time.


Reference documentation of all the options is available here This can also be accessed locally using

man 5 configuration.nix

There's also a small wiki about specific topics, like macOS upgrades.


There are basic tests that run sanity checks for some of the modules, you can run them like this:

nix-build release.nix -A tests.environment-path


Let's make nix on darwin awesome! Don't hesitate to contribute modules or open an issue.

To build your configuration with local changes you can run this. This flag can also be used to override darwin-config or nixpkgs, for more information on the

flag look at the nix-build manpage.
darwin-rebuild switch -I darwin=.

Also feel free to contact me if you have questions, - IRC - LnL, you can find me in #nixos or #nix-darwin on - @lnl7 on twitter

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