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Re: Overlays

From: Amirouche Boubekki
Subject: Re: Overlays
Date: Sat, 31 Aug 2013 12:56:15 +0200

2013/8/30 Ludovic Courtès <address@hidden>
> Nikita Karetnikov <address@hidden> skribis:
> >> So I think Guix nearly supports overlays, no?  :-)
> >
> > What do NixOS people mean by “overlay”?
> Well, I don’t think that wiki page has much authority.  ;-)
> “Overlay” is not a term that is used in NixOS circles.  My guess is that
> the Ruby and Haskell overlays mentioned at
> <> are used
> by a single person, and I’m not sure what they do.

I don't recall how I heard about those overlay.

> > Is it a remote collection of recipes?  Does NixOS allow to use them
> > without copying to the local storage (like ‘gnu/packages’)?
> >
> > I believe that the question was about these issues.
> I’m not sure what the issues are.

The issue I see is that some one wants to distribute recipes but
doesn't want to contribute them in the guix repository. One way to do
that is to fork the guix repository and merge once in a while and then
ask the users to install packages using the command used during
development from the forked repository. Otherwise, if overlays were
supported users would just have to install overlays somewhat like apt
sources and use the same command as with guix distribution recipes.

I see they are quite useful in Gentoo for forked distributions.

> In Guix, third parties could distribute their own Guile modules that
> define packages. Guix would need a way to nicely deal with them at the
> command line, but otherwise it’s just Guile modules.

IIRC in nixos one just has to use the command «nix-env -i
path/to/nix/package» to install a recipe out of nixpkg tree, I'm not
sure it's supported by guix.

Anyway, the reason I raised now this feature is because:

- I find it a useful feature, but the features you proposed for 0.4
are way more interesting for the time being
- One user complained on IRC that overlays could *streamline* recipes
contributions that said contributing packages is not difficult using
the guix repository

So what I propose is to put this feature request in a TODO to avoid
future loosly backed request like mine (except if someone wants to
work on this) and focus on the 0.4 roadmap :)

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