The main advantage of these distros is the declarative approach which allows for setup to be done in the same way as you would configure a Vagrantfile or Dockerfile.

In the way that Docker replaced/is replacing VMs for reproducibility, is there a chance these distros will eventually replace typical distros that are used in a DevOps setting due to their atomic and functional nature?

1 Answer 1


Some articles, including this one give some arguments why docker is popular:

In a nutshell, here's what Docker can do for you: It can get more applications running on the same hardware than other technologies; it makes it easy for developers to quickly create ready-to-run containered applications; and it makes managing and deploying applications much easier. Put it all together and I can see why Docker is riding the hype cycle as fast as I can recall ever seeing an enterprise technology go.

Moreover, for once the reality is living up to the hype. Frankly, I can't think of a single company of any size that's not at least looking into moving their server applications to containers in general and Docker in specific.

My personal view is that a tool could be successful if it will solve a (major) problem. For example, a half year ago I gave a presentation of docker in the company, the developers had some doubts until they experienced a issue that it was not possible to run all microservices on their local machine.

The same is applicable to the question:

Are NixOS and GuixSD the incoming Linux distros of DevOps?

It depends whether these distributions will solve a (huge) problem.

  • It does solve a lot of problems (whether these are huge is maybe more subjective) such as making it possible to "spin up" a Linux distro in the way you can do with Docker, in a reproducible, declarative fashion, and would save time spent configuring multiple instances by using a single configuration file. (As an aside, I was surprised to see that NixOS or GuixSD haven't yet been mentioned on this site, even though it is still relatively new).
    – warsong
    Aug 14, 2017 at 15:48
  • With docker one could also use the same docker image and use different ENV variables. The built docker image is immutable and thus reproducible. What current problems does NixOS solve that docker is unable to solve?
    – 030
    Aug 14, 2017 at 15:59
  • It does what Docker does, only at the operating system level. Docker operates within an isolated container runtime, NixOS/GuixSD operate directly to the metal.
    – warsong
    Aug 14, 2017 at 16:18
  • What will happen if a system fails to start after an update on NixOS? How to revert to the previous version that worked? With docker one just starts the previous version and everything works again.
    – 030
    Aug 14, 2017 at 16:22
  • @030 see Rollbacks at nixos.org/nixos/about.html. Aug 14, 2017 at 16:35

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