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Practical NixOS: the Book


Practical NixOS

I am in the making of a book about NixOS. The key thing I want for this book is to make it approachable by the wider audience. At best, the book would be easily understood by a person who had never had any experience with Linux whatsoever.

There is quite a lot written about nix and NixOS already in the form of documentation and blog posts, but there are actually no books - at all! I think the advantage of having a book is that you can keep up with the complexity being thrown at you in a linear fashion, instead of having to dive into countless rabbit holes without a known roadmap.

There are several topics which I have already drafted and they are going to make it into the book:

  • "Advanced basics" of the Nix expression language (there is still no good introduction out there, after all these years!)
  • What do cryptic vars like lib, config, etc mean at the top of a .nix file
  • Hitchhiker's guide to nix ecosystem
  • Installing NixOS
  • Using Flakes
  • Channels vs Overlays vs Overrides
  • Having ecnrypted root volumes
  • Adding homemanager and using it for VSCode configuration
  • Using NixOS for development environments
  • Different development strategies: Rust, TypeScript & Node, Python, Go
    • Integrating tooling that you are used to without NixOS: livereload functionality, short compilation times, all the language's packages out there
    • Data Science and AI Research environments with Python
  • Community-developed tools and utilities for NixOS which would make your life simpler
  • Installing pre-compiled binaries as parts of NixOS configuration
  • One codebase as single source of truth configuration for different nix-enabled hosts
  • Rocking Wayland as daily driver
  • Containerizing apps the NixOS way
  • Nix-enabled Linux and MacOS with declarative management
  • Reducing build times and storage usage
  • Hardware drivers that simply just work, incl. CUDA and GPU Pass-through
  • Multiple monitor setup
  • Gaming, of course

This list is not complete, but it gives your the rough understand of what to expect.

There are also posts on my blog, which are serving as a kind of preview for the book:

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