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420 Stars 85 Forks GNU General Public License v3.0 99 Commits 13 Opened issues


[GPLv3+] install nixos over the existing OS in a DigitalOcean droplet (and others with minor modifications)

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What is this?

A script to install NixOS on non-NixOS hosts.

NixOS-Infect is so named because of the high likelihood of rendering a system inoperable. Use with extreme caution and preferably only on newly provisioned systems.

This script has successfully been tested on at least the follow hosting providers and plans:

Should you find that it works on your hoster, feel free to update this README and issue a pull request.


Motivation for this script: nixos-assimilate should supplant this script entirely, if it's ever completed. nixos-in-place was quite broken when I tried it, and also took a pretty janky approach that was substantially more complex than this (although it supported more platforms): it didn't install to root (/nixos instead), left dregs of the old filesystem (almost always unnecessary since starting from a fresh deployment), and most importantly, simply didn't work for me! (old system was being because grub wasnt properly reinstalled)

How do I use it?

0) Read and understand the the script 1) Deploy any custom configuration you want on your host 2) Deploy your host as non-Nix Operating System. 3) Deploy an SSH key for the root user.

NB: This step is important. The root user will not have a password when nixos-infect runs to completion. To enable root login, you must have an SSH key configured.

4) run the script with:

  curl | NIX_CHANNEL=nixos-21.05 bash -x

NB: This script wipes out the targeted host's root filesystem when it runs to completion. Any errors halt execution. A failure will leave the system in an inconsistent state, and so it is advised to run with

bash -x

Hoster notes:

Digital Ocean

You may utilize Digital Ocean's "user data" mechanism (found in the Web UI or HTTP API), and supply to it the following example yaml stanzas:



Potential tweaks:

  • /etc/nixos/{,hardware-}configuration.nix
    : rudimentary mostly static config
  • /etc/nixos/networking.nix
    : networking settings determined at runtime tweak if no ipv6, different number of adapters, etc.
- path: /etc/nixos/host.nix
  permissions: '0644'
  content: |
    {pkgs, ...}:
      environment.systemPackages = with pkgs; [ vim ];
  - curl | PROVIDER=digitalocean NIXOS_IMPORT=./host.nix NIX_CHANNEL=nixos-21.05 bash 2>&1 | tee /tmp/infect.log

Tested on

|Distribution| Name | Status | test date| |------------|-----------------|-----------|----------| |CentOS |6.9 x32 | failure |2020-03-30| |CentOS |6.9 x64 | failure |2020-03-30| |CentOS |7.6 x64 | failure |2020-03-30| |CentOS |8.1 x64 |success|2020-03-30| |CoreOS |2345.3.0 (stable)| unable |2020-03-30| |CoreOS |2411.1.0 (beta) | unable |2020-03-30| |CoreOS |2430.0.0 (alpha) | unable |2020-03-30| |Debian |10.3 x64 |success|2020-03-30| |Debian |9.12 x64 |success|2020-03-30| |Fedora |30 x64 |success|2020-03-30| |Fedora |31 x64 |success|2020-03-30| |FreeBSD |11.3 x64 ufs | failure |2020-03-30| |FreeBSD |11.3 x64 zfs | failure |2020-03-30| |FreeBSD |12.1 x64 ufs | failure |2020-03-30| |FreeBSD |12.1 x64 zfs | failure |2020-03-30| |RancherOS |v1.5.5 | unable |2020-03-30| |Ubuntu |16.04.6 (LTS) x32|success|2020-03-30| |Ubuntu |16.04.6 (LTS) x64|success|2020-03-30| |Ubuntu |18.04.3 (LTS) x64|success|2020-03-30| |Ubuntu |19.10 x64 |success|2020-03-30|


To set up a NixOS Vultr server, instantiate an Ubuntu box with the following "Startup Script":


curl | NIX_CHANNEL=nixos-21.05 bash

Allow for a few minutes over the usual Ubuntu deployment time for NixOS to download & install itself.

Tested on

|Distribution| Name | Status | test date| Slug | ID | |------------|-----------------|-----------|----------|------------------|---------| | Ubuntu | 18.10 x64 |success|(Unknown) | (Unknown) |(Unknown)|

Hetzner cloud

Hetzner cloud works out of the box. When creating a server provide the following script as "User data":


curl | NIX_CHANNEL=nixos-21.05 bash 2>&1 | tee /tmp/infect.log

Tested on

|Distribution| Name | Status | test date| |------------|-----------------|-----------|----------| |Ubuntu | 20.04 x64 |success|(Unknown) |

InterServer VPS

Tested on

|Distribution| Name | Status | test date| |------------|-----------------|-----------|----------| |Debian | 9 |success|2021-01-29| |Debian | 10 |success|2021-01-29| |Ubuntu | 20.04 |success|2021-01-29| |Ubuntu | 18.04 |success|2021-01-29| |Ubuntu | 14.04 |success|2021-01-29|

Tencent Cloud Lighthouse

Tencent Cloud Lighthouse Hong Kong Region Works out of the box.

Other Regions in China may not work because of the unreliable connection between China and global Internet or GFW.

Tested on

|Distribution| Name | Status | test date| |------------|-----------------|-----------|----------| |Debian | 10 |success|2021-03-11|


Before executing the install script, you may need to check your mounts with

df -h
. By default, OVH adds a relatively short in memory
mount on the
folder, so the install script runs short in memory and fails. Just execute
umount /tmp
before launching the install script. Full install process described here

|Distribution| Name | Status | test date| |------------|-------------------|-----------|----------| |Arch Linux | Arch Linux x86-64 |success|2021-03-25| |Debian | 10 |success|2021-04-29|

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Tested for both VM.Standard.E2.1.Micro (x86) and VM.Standard.A1.Flex (AArch64) instances.

Tested on

|Distribution| Name | Status | test date| |------------|-----------------|-----------|----------| |Oracle Linux| 7.9 |success|2021-05-31|

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