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Both packages seem to download packages and update some profiles, but why do I need both?

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For users coming from other package managers, the following rough analogies may apply. But don't infer too much from it, because GUIX allows every user to use their own set of packages and even their own version of GUIX!

guix pull is similar to apt-get update in that it downloads a new list of available packages, substitutes and derivations. However, it also installs a new version of GUIX for you! (because of reasons)

guix package -i (synonym guix install) and guix package -u are similar to apt-get install or apt-get upgrade in that you can install/upgrade packages, but only, if you've gotten an updated package list (apt-get update/ guix pull) before.

They change different profiles that exist for different tasks

  • Per default, guix pull changes the profile ~/.config/guix/current. This profile is for the task of creating profiles and everything related (e.g. installing packages).

  • Per default, guix install or its synonym guix package -i changes the profile ~/.guix-profile. This profile is for the job of doing whatever productive (?) work you are doing.

See this SO question for more infos about those profiles

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