NixOS + Holonix

I was a bit frustrated after receiving different error messages with Vagrant + VirtualBox all the time.
Then I tried again to install NixOS on my external hard drive and it worked.
And what can I say, after setting it up step by step and installing Holonix on it, the tutorials run very well and without errors. I am very enthusiastic about NixOS - it works great and the more I get used to NixOS the more I feel comfortable with it.
All tutorials worked great with NixOS. On the other hand with NixOS on Vagrant + VirtualBox you often get different error messages…at least that was the case with me. In any case, I am now very happy with NixOS!
It might be very helpful for many others here in the forum to provide instructions for installing NixOS + Holonix, wouldn’t it?


Hi @newprometheus

Yes it would be helpful. And thank you for sharing your experience about what’s working and what’s been helpful for your process.

If you like, I can try to create a manual of how I installed NixOS. Would that help you?

That would be a big helpful. This will help us understand what could improve in our install information.

Thank you

Installation manual for NixOS on external HDD

I tried to write down my installation process of NixOS on my external HDD.
I hope it helps somebody to install and using NixOS!

I will add here my WORD-File! Feel free to use, add or change things, if you find some mistakes or you want add something.


I use NixOS on my own laptop btw and have for a long time now

I’m very happy with it, but am also aware that a lot of people knee-jerk reject the whole nix toolkit with “it’s not OK to have to install a new OS to use holochain”.

This is not the case of course, we have support for nix-shell in standalone and virtualised forms, but in the case of virtualisation especially this adds additional layers of things that can go wrong outside our control.

If you can install and use NixOS this is going to give the most reliable experience overall for lots of reasons :+1:

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Thank you for your feedback @thedavidmeister
Yes, that was exactly my experience! With virtualization, I had the feeling that something new didn’t work every time I started. It felt very fragile.
Now with NixOS - although I am absolutely no expert for NixOS (I am using it for the first time) - but I had a feeling of reliability and directness right from the start. I feel very good with NixOS so far and look forward to discovering NixOS.

But I can also understand the reasons of others who don’t want to install a new OS - especially if the previous OS has to be replaced. For me, however, Holochain is too interesting to wait until there is an “easy way” for Windows. And with the external HDD I have a easy choice which OS I want to use and can easily switch with a restart.


i’m very excited to see people take action like this!


Thank you for creating this for the community. Would you like to simply post on the Forum or submit a PR on GitHub so people can search/find the information?

Also, would you like me to review/edit the copy? We could consider adding a community section on the Dev Portal and would definitely consider this awesome manual you put together.

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Thank you, I am very happy that I could help!

Yes, please feel free to post it on the Forum or submit a PR on Github - whatever is more helpful for the community in your opinion. Or shall I try to do it?

Off course, if you wish you also can edit/review the copy and use it on the Dev Portal. I am always happy to help!

Yes, it would be great if you could submit a PR on the docs repo. This is a great contribution and we’ll have to think of the best way to share/present the info on the dev portal.

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I recently tried to install nixOS on my machine and failed after really trying to get it to work for a few days. I think it really depends on your hardware as to how easy it is to install. I probably wouldn’t recommend it to new users but that’s just my experience

Hey @dhtnetwork I would love to submit a PR on the docs repo to share my manual to the community. But honestly, I have to admit, I don´t know how to do that :slight_smile:

@freesig Of course you’re right, I also had to try some days until it worked, but my mistakes were - as far as I can tell - all lacking knowledge about the correct installation. I’m not an expert, maybe I’m more what you call a “new user” :wink: I don’t know what influence the hardware has on the installation, but I’ve never used NixOS before, work with a 5 year old notebook and have installed NixOS on my previous internal hard drive - more than 5 years old - which I now use as an external hard drive.
I think it might be worth a try if you can install NixOS on an external hard drive without replacing your OS. If my installation didn’t work, I simply formatted the hard disk and tried again. But once NixOS was installed, I could do the tutorials much easier and more error free, but that’s just my experience.

That’s why I thought my manual might be a help?

The quickest and easiest way is to post the actual content on the Forum. Would you like to do that first? Feel free to post under Learning Library.

Thank you again for creating the manual.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get a really easy-to-read format/output in the forum, because my manual contains photos and different formats…

And since Github and its functionality is an integral part of the functionality of Holochain, I thought I should learn how Github works :slight_smile:

I have now tried to create a pull request from a fork of the docs pages on Github. I think it worked?! Maybe you’d like to have a look if I did it right? Thank you.

Thank you for submitting a PR. It looks like you uploaded the file. I think it would be helpful to copy/paste the info. We can fix that.

Example of a PR submission

Hi @newprometheus we could publish a blog post about this wonderful guide and also add to the Dev Portal. Could you review the blog post draft and installation guide edits? And let me know if you are okay with publishing. It would be great to get your feedback today so we can prepare for publishing. I’ll DM you the links. Thank you again for taking the time to create the guide.

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Hi @newprometheus good news! The guide you created is now on our official developer portal.

We also created a blog post for additional awareness. This info will be shared across all channels tomorrow.

Thank you again for great this awesome guide! Happy New Year! Hope all is well.