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Re: GNU Guix 0.2 released

From: Ludovic Courtès
Subject: Re: GNU Guix 0.2 released
Date: Wed, 15 May 2013 20:04:48 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.130005 (Ma Gnus v0.5) Emacs/24.3 (gnu/linux)

(Stripping Cc list.)

Brandon Invergo <address@hidden> skribis:

> Guix, on the other hand, is a full package manager that will eventually
> form the foundation of a GNU distribution.  It has far more features as
> a package manager, including some really novel ones that go above and
> beyond the usual package management functionality (better to let Ludovic
> explain).

Yes.  Basically Guix is two things: a package manager (like, say,
dpkg/APT), and a distribution.

The package manager provides the features tools like APT implement.
>From a user’s viewpoint, in addition to what common package managers
implement, it supports nifty features, detailed at

>From a developer’s viewpoint, its functional approach simplifies
reasoning about package composition, and allows developers to actually
check that packages do build and work together (see
Also, it has a Scheme API that makes packaging relatively easy (see

> The Guix distribution will provide all of the software necessary to
> have a complete, bootable GNU system, including non-GNU packages.  It
> will also handle all the fun "under-the-hood" stuff like system
> configuration and initialization, etc.

Yes.  Currently the distro has ~400 packages, and can only be used atop
a running GNU/Linux system.  In that sense, it’s comparable to GSRC in
that it provides a way to install the latest versions of GNU packages
(though GSRC has more GNU packages, I think.)

But as Brandon notes, the longer-term goal is to build “the GNU System”.
Until now, the GNU Project has been providing many independent packages,
which have been integrated and delivered to final users by others.

In a way, this is great, because it’s a sign that the free software
ideals have expanded way beyond the GNU Project.

However, I believe it’s also detrimental to GNU in several ways.
Distros have been making compromises, in particular to software freedom,
that contradict GNU’s vision.  Integration of GNU software, and cohesion
among the various GNU packages has arguably suffered.  Distros have
contributed to a disconnection between users and developers of GNU
packages.  Distro branding has made GNU, and to some extent its
political message, much less visible to users.  Etc.

Having a GNU distro is an opportunity to fix these problems.  A stronger
GNU Project is good for individual GNU packages, and it’s good for
software freedom.

Let’s build that GNU System!  :-)


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