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Guix is based on Nix. I know that Guix uses Scheme and has only free software in repos.

What are the main differences between them?

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This is a rather broad question, and as a Guix user I might perhaps not have the whole picture, but the primary differences are, to my understanding:

  1. Guix does not package any proprietary software in the official repo; Nix however, does.
  2. While Nix use systemd, Guix use GNU Shepherd.
  3. Nix configuration is in a domain specific language that has taken some inspiration from Haskell, whereas Guix use Guile, a scheme language, for most of the system configuration, including services.
  4. Nix supports GNU/Linux and MacOS, Guix supports GNU/Linux and Hurd.
  5. Nix was established in 2003, Guix in 2013, and so Nix might be more mature.
  6. In my experience, Guix is more of an "unexplored frontier", and as such, there are many times when you will encounter issues that you might not be able to find an answer to on the internet (at least more frequently than with Nix).

If you are more interested, I recommend this video comparing the two in more detail.

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  • Great answer, thanks! Worth mentioning the most obvious difference: Guix is an "advanced distribution of the GNU operating system" whereas "Nix is a tool that takes a unique approach to package management and system configuration" and have to be installed on top of other Distributions. Commented Jan 26, 2022 at 10:07
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    @StandardNerd While there is the Nix, the package manager, NixOS is a distribution in its own right, i.e. you can very well have an "all-Nix" Linux installation. Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 15:07

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