How do I get more details about a nix package, e.g. to verify that it actually is what I think it is.

In Debian, I would use apt-cache show; but how do I get similar information for nix? A command to show the derivation for an arbitrary package would be good enough, since I can probably use the src line to find the website hosting the project.


Pass the --description flag to nix-env -qa ("query available") for a brief summary, or pass --json (or --xml --meta) for more verbose output, with similar content to that available on Debian; though you'll probably also need something that can wrangle those forms to human readable

# nix-env -qa --description neovim
neovim-0.2.0  Vim text editor fork focused on extensibility and agility
# nix-env -qa --json neovim
  • Thanks! I wonder why --description is not the default? I made an edit to emphasize the needed options, since I didn't realize nix-env -qa had an alternate output. – jpaugh Nov 16 '17 at 17:15
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    lo se cusku'i ku xamgu – thrig Nov 16 '17 at 17:50
  • :-) mi no pu cusku .i djica nu puba'o romi zmaku'i lo cusku (I was hoping the Area51 proposal would give me the chance to practice.) – jpaugh Nov 17 '17 at 3:07
  • ma se cusku le do mlatu? Is it, "What exists if I do, but only when it is negated?" – jpaugh Nov 17 '17 at 3:22
  • note: not all packages have descriptions – Knu Jan 11 at 3:52

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