my status quo

Linux cc 4.15.0-22-generic #24-Ubuntu SMP Wed May 16 12:15:17 UTC 2018 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

nix-env (Nix) 2.0.2

I would like to use nixpkgs / nix package manager as my main system package manager.

Is there method to install virtualbox?


nix-prefetch-url http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/5.2.12/Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Extension_Pack-5.2.12-122591.vbox-extpack
nix-env -i virtualbox 


nix-env -iA nixpkgs.linuxPackages.virtualboxGuestAdditions \


Another question is if there is a repository/channel with only binaries/pkgs that are valid and working for my use case [nix on Ubuntu and not NixOS].

  • if not, is there a way to broke all packages in channels that are only for NixOS

If e.g. conda and services like docker (and virtualbox?) [which have heavy dependencies (/issues)] don´t work on not NixOS systems, is there a use case as pkg-manager for nix (apart from nix-shell and nix for building])?


The nixpkgs repo has a number of derivations for virtualbox builds. I'm not sure what the linuxPackages ones are for but nixpkgs.virtualbox looks to be a general purpose one.

I use Nix for package management on macOS and I am very happy with it. It should works just as well on Ubuntu. NixOS is a linux distro built on top of the Nix package manager that takes advantages of the unique features that Nix provides, but ultimately it still runs the same binaries that are built for any Linux platform.

I believe that the channel for non-NixOS binaries is https://nixos.org/channels/nixpkgs-unstable, the full index is at https://nixos.org/channels/

| improve this answer | |
  • like I wrote, I tried (nixpkgs.)virtualbox. Well, but I have Linux Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. In the nixpkgs-unstable channel there are pkgs like docker why is a service and won't work on Mac either (or does it?). Besides there are OS specific pkgs in this channel. – InLaw Jun 11 '18 at 13:29

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