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FAQ draft (Was: Re: Upgrade 0.15 to .16 it doesn't work)

From: swedebugia
Subject: FAQ draft (Was: Re: Upgrade 0.15 to .16 it doesn't work)
Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2018 22:45:51 +0100

On 2018-12-30 19:19, Jone wrote:
And additionally I would like to see two things:
1. FAQ

Which questions do you propose to include?
Where would you suggest to place this faq? In the manual? website?

I just wrote the following suggestions to a GuixSD FAQ:

* Is GuixSD a 'do-it-yourself' GNU/Linux distribution like e.g. Arch Linux and Gentoo? * Yes and no. Both the distributions mentioned mess a lot with states and configuration files in different formats and are based on a completely different way of configuring the OS. With GuixSD the goal is to configure /everything/ in the declaration of the OS and never having to edit a single configuration file in some obscure location.

The roll-back functionality of Guix makes it easy to undo almost any changes to the state in Guix imposed by your fiddling with the configuration.

GuixSD also makes it possible to /easily/ replicate a friends OS configuration making it possible to collaborate and share your ideas on how to configure the whole OS much more easily than traditional distributions.

There are already up to a hundred shared operating system declarations available online for your to copy or get ideas from.

* Is it a rolling release distribution?
* Yes. But anyone could turn it into any stable or whatever release model via 'guix channel'.

* How does channels affect the distribution?
 * They let you compose and maintain your own release of Guix.

* Any stable ones available yet?
 * No, not known to us.

* Can I easily share my installed system configuration and package-manifest with a friend? * Yes. The declaration, usually a file called config.scm, used to instantiate the system makes this easy. It contains no secret information. The same goes for package-manifests.

* I am a complete GNU OS beginner. Should I use GuixSD?
* If you are a beginner and want to use GuixSD, you must be willing to invest time into learning a new system, and accept that GuixSD is designed as a 'do-it-yourself' or 'copy-from-your-friend' distribution; it is the user who assembles the system via a configuration written in Scheme.

Before asking for help, do your own independent research by reading the manual, searching online & searching the mailing lists. There is a reason these resources were made available to you in the first place. Many thousands of volunteered hours have been spent compiling this excellent information.

* Is Guix going to be so good that people will have a hard time avoiding it? When will the beta end? * We don't know yet. You can take a look at our ROADMAP and look up the latest features in the latest release statement.

* Why is compilation so time-consuming compared to substitutes?
* Compiling is necessary to convert almost any modern program from a high-level language (like Guile Scheme, Python, C++) to low-level machine code.

Whether you compile yourself or let others do it for you, your ordinary GNOME enabled desktop takes a total of about 3-5 days of compile time on a consumer level 2-core Intel 64-bit PC. *(is this accurate Mark?)

* How will I know if substitutes are available from the build farms before running 'guix pull'? * Generally you don't. This is a missing feature. You are welcome to help improving Guix or Cuirass to make this possible.

* Why do Guix mess around with environment variables when other distributions don't? * Why does environment variables need to be manually set sometimes in GuixSD - could that not be automated? * If this is needed you have probably found a bug. Ie. right now many package definitions lack search-path definitions (e.g. guile-readline, guile-colorized, and many others) causing them to not be set automatically.

* Is package X available?
* Maybe! Take a look at the package list of the website or search our git-repo for the name.

If you are up for it, maybe you can package it yourself by importing it *LINK, following the package guide *LINK or by reading the package descriptions of similar programs already in Guix.

Any thoughts?

See also

Cheers Swedebugia

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