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Call for contribution to the Guix infrastructure

From: Ludovic Courtès
Subject: Call for contribution to the Guix infrastructure
Date: Fri, 24 May 2024 15:51:39 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13)

Since its inception, the Guix project has always valued its autonomy,
and that reflects in its infrastructure: our servers run Guix System and
exclusively free software, none of them is hosted by one of these
transnational companies, and they’re administered by volunteers.

Of course this comes at a cost and this is why we’re sending this call
for contributions.  Our hope is to make infrastructure-related activity
more legible so that maybe you can picture yourself helping in one of
these areas.

  • Coding

    We run many Guix-specific services; this is all lovely Scheme code
    but it tends to receive less attention than Guix itself:

      Build Farm Front-End:
      Goggles (IRC logger):
      Guix Build Coordinator:
      Guix Data Service:
      Guix Packages Website:
      QA Frontpage:

    There is no time constraint on this coding activity: any improvement
    is welcome, whenever it comes.  Most of these code bases are
    relatively small, which should make it easier to get started.

    Prerequisites: Familiarity with Guile, HTTP, and databases.

    If you wish to get started, check out the README of the project of
    your choice and get in touch with guix-devel and the primary
    developer(s) of the tool as per ‘git shortlog -s | sort -k1 -n’.

  • System administration

    Guix System configuration for all our systems is held in this

    The two front-ends are berlin.scm (the machine behind and bayfront.scm (the machine behind,,,,
    and more).  Both connect to a number of build machines and helpers.

    Without even having SSH access to the machine, you can help by
    posting patches to improve the configuration (you can test it with
    ‘guix system vm’).  Here are ways you can help:

      - Improve infra monitoring: set up a dashboard to monitor all the
        infrastructure, and an out-of-band channel to communicate about

      - Implement web site redundancy: should be backed by
        several machines on different sites.  Get in touch with us
        and/or send a patch!

      - Implement substitute redundancy: likewise,
        and should be backed by several head nodes.

      - Improve backup: there’s currently ad-hoc backup of selected
        pieces over rsync between the two head nodes; we can improve on
        that, for example with a dedicated backup site and proper
        testing of recoverability.

      - Support mirroring: We’d like to make it easy for others to
        mirror substitutes from ci.guix and bordeaux.guix, perhaps by
        offering public rsync access.

      - Optimize our web services: Monitor the performance of our
        services and tweak nginx config or whatever it takes to improve

    There is no time constraint on this activity: any improvement is
    welcome, whenever you can work on it.

    Prerequisite: Familiarity with Guix System administration and
    ideally with the infrastructure handbook:

  • Day-to-day system administration

    We’re also looking for people who’d be willing to have SSH access to
    some of the infrastructure to help with day-to-day maintenance:
    restarting a build, restarting the occasional service that has gone
    wild (that can happen :-)), reconfiguring/upgrading a machine,
    rebooting, etc.

    This day-to-day activity requires you to be available some of the
    time (during office hours or not, during the week-end or not),
    whenever is convenient for you, so you can react to issues reported
    on IRC, on the mailing list, or elsewhere, and synchronize with
    other sysadmins.

    Prerequisite: Being a “known” member of the community, familiarity
    with Guix System administration, with some of the services/web sites
    being run, and with the infrastructure handbook:

  • On-site intervention

    The first front-end is currently generously hosted by the Max
    Delbrück Center (MDC), a research institute in Berlin, Germany.
    Only authorized personnel can physically access it.

    The second one,, is hosted in Bordeaux,
    France, in a professional data center shared with non-profit ISP
    Aquilenet.  If you live in the region of Bordeaux and would like to
    help out when we need to go on-site, please make yourself known by

    On-site interventions are rare, but they’re usually in response to
    an emergency.

  • Hosting

    We’re looking for people who can host machines and help out whenever
    physical access is needed.  More specifically:

      - We need hosting of “small” machines such as single-board
        computers (AArch64, RISC-V) for use as build machines.

      - We need hosting for front-ends and x86_64 build machines in a
        data center where they can be racked and where, ideally, several
        local Guix sysadmins can physically access them.

    The machines should be accessible over Wireguard VPN most of the
    time, so longer power or network interruptions should be the

    Prerequisites: Familiarity with installing and remotely
    administering Guix System.

  • Administrative tasks

    The infra remains up and running thanks to crucial administrative
    tasks, which includes:

      - Selecting and purchasing hardware, for example build machines.

      - Renewing domain names.

      - Securing funding, in particular via the Guix Foundation:

    Prerequisites: Familiarity with hardware, and/or DNS registrars,
    and/or sponsorship, and/or crowdfunding.

The more we are, the less any single one of us has to do!

Ludo’, on behalf of the infrastructure team.

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