Relating nix commands to existing concepts

I can’t create a new sig documentation topic, so I’ll just put this footnote here: whenever you guys are thinking about making content I think it would be really helpful to map existing commands/concepts to nix commands. For example, apt-get install, adding repos to apt, asdf, npm install, npm lock file, even docker build. Saying what commands (ex: docker compose) don’t map to nix and why they don’t map to nix is as important as the commands that do map to nix.

I say this because I remember very clearly 4 years ago struggling to find the nix equivalent of asdf local install nodejs 10.5.0. Everything kept saying “yes nix supports multiple versions of the same package” but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to install node 10.5.0. The real answer is nix doesn’t have that kind of command.

And thanks for all the work you guys are doing!


This is a great idea, perhaps even a page listing out common “what is this in nix vs apt” things so they could easily be found?


I like the idea. We could use Nix to Debian phrasebook - NixOS Wiki as inspiration/starting point.

Edit: The Arch Wiki has pacman/dnf/apt/zypper/emerge mappings pacman/Rosetta - ArchWiki - I’m not sure which package managers are the best to include; but even just linking to this comparison for further information might be neat too.


Yeah a cheatsheet kind of thing for each related tool with links to bigger explanations when it comes to stuff like docker compose not having an equivalent or how asdf local doesn’t have a direct nix equivalent but you can achieve something similar with the nix plugin for direnv.


Somewhat related: a comparison between the “classic” cli and the “new” cli would be nice as well for better understanding flakes etc. Something like this: Introduction to Flakes | NixOS & Flakes Book

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