The Future of Aux and Nix

Well, today has been exciting. We’ve launched this forum, gained over a hundred new users, seen an enormous amount of support and collaboration here, and… Eelco has stepped down from the NixOS Foundation?

Please read the linked response from the board, it’s a big deal for Nix and, by extension, Aux.

Eelco is stepping down

This is an extraordinary change for him. He invented Nix, furthered it, and tried to continue improving it. The community surrounding Nix grew and, eventually, it outgrew Eelco’s ability to manage much of it. Stepping back from NixOS and focusing on NixCPP was one phase of that. Today is a much larger one that takes a lot of thought and hope to do: placing your trust in others.

The Foundation is delegating

In my opinion this is the largest part of the announcement. As was pointed out in the link, the board was not originally intended to provide leadership or make decisions for the Nix ecosystem. Instead, it was created to handle paperwork. This isn’t how the NixOS foundation is seen today. Now, that changes. There will be a constitutional assembly in two weeks to discuss and resolve how governance will work for the Nix ecosystem. This will be Nix’s opportunity to implement real, foundational change. The resulting structure will have the authority to actually make things happen.

What about Aux?

A large reason for Aux existing is the lacking governance structures in Nix. If Nix is able to resolve these, that reason will be dealt with. However, additional problems have contributed to the community split, including: moderation, sponsorship, and conflicts of interest. These all have the potential to be addressed by a refactored Nix community. That does not mean it will be.

I believe that the best course of action right now is to do… both. Work with the Nix Foundation to espouse the values and goals we have rallied around for Aux. If we are able to do so and Nix is transformed into what we all believed that Aux could be, then our job is done. But if it doesn’t; if we are unable to effect meaningful change, then having Aux ready to fall back on is the only answer. As such, we will be continuing towards Phase 1 of our roadmap. A soft fork does is nowhere near as intensive as a hard fork is, but gaining the knowledge and building the community is invaluable during the time these processes will take place.

There is an opportunity here, but we should not be naive and believe that everything is magically fixed. There will be work to do whether Nix is repaired or not. The repairing of Nix itself being potentially more exhausting due to the many (sentient) obstacles in the way.


I believe aux is just getting started, it will not hurt to have a fork, as a learning opportunity for many, a way to experiment and give another perspective to the nix project!


I am wholly happy contributing to Nix through Aux, I also wonder if we could improve on things such as documentation, stabilization, etc. where there are clear pain-points in Nix, hopefully helping both communities.

I don’t think everything is addressed, but Eelco stepping down is certainly a start! I wish the Nix project the best as we work alongside it.


i’m really glad that the board is making the right choice here. i think that Aux’s decentralized and people-forward nature still gives it a reason to exist - and hey, eventually it could just become the way things are run in nixland! i think a lot of people have seen the pitfalls of centralized leadership, and it would be awesome to see more independence across Nix overall.

i’m super happy that we’ll get to work with the nix people instead of against them.


8 posts were split to a new topic: What license should we use?

I’m in agreement with @minion, keeping the project alive alongside Nix isn’t hurting anyone, and leaves us a good way out in the case that governance and such isn’t implemented well or in a timely manner.


Aux could also be a group dedicated to softening some of Nix’s rough edges, like interoperability, documentation, language support, and friendliness to new users. Almost like a dedicated project incubator.


I agree. If hypothetically, in Nix’s best-case scenario, all or most of the issues which motivated the start of Aux are resolved in a satisfying way and Aux loses purpose as a fork, it would definitely be worth refocusing the effort into creating Aux as a supplementary (or rather, auxiliary :face_with_hand_over_mouth:) organization of like-minded members of the Nix community who are committed to helping Nix in various ways to be the best it can be for everyone involved.


I think that that would be cool, but a bit counterproductive, no? A large part of this community was the centralization of everything, but having a subgroup of the Nix community changing stuff seems… decentralized. That said, I don’t think it’s a bad idea – a smaller community of people who want to help each other contribute to Nix. I’d be down to organize that.

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Of course, everything we are talking about in regards to Nix is speculation right now. It remains to be seen if the right kind of governance can be established. And it remains to be seen if the other problems of the Nix ecosystem can be addressed. For now I think it’s best for us to continue with Aux while trying to guide Nix in the same direction.


well it’s great both ways, because either Aux becomes a really good and healthy fork of Nix’s ecosystem or we get to still all get together and make a technology we all care about just… work better. Aux has value either way. maybe it becomes a more organized “nix-community” sort of thing, i don’t know. but i’m really looking forward to the future of Nix overall once again.


Hello Aux :wave:

I figured I’d pop in to let you know I appreciate this post.

I’m on the team that maintains the package manager on the Nix side. It’s probably early to talk about changing things about the package manager, but whenever you’re ready, I’d love to talk and keep in touch. I believe that could be quite helpful to get you started, and good communication always leads to a better outcome.


Thank you for reaching out @roberth! As things progress we could definitely use all the help we can get, especially the package manager. Looking forward to chatting in the future!


I believe that the best course of action right now is to do… both

I firmly believe this as well.

And to extend that idea, Nix and Aux could be symbiotic. There is an old and long thread in the nix discourse on unmaintainablity with discussions about things like merge trains and other strategies. If Aux intentionally tries alternatives, and happens to find one that works a lot better, maybe it will get ported back to Nix. And potentially vise versa.

I have long worried about the unmaintainability of the monorepo, so I was actually pretty excited to try and reopen the discussion in the Aux discourse since there will be a smaller team handling maintainance. A community with fewer members can often coordinate easier and move faster, even if it can’t perform heavyweight maneuvers.


Excellent point, it would be interesting to see how forking with a smaller team might actually have some benefits compared to the Nix powerhouse. Maybe it could lead to quicker innovations with things that Nix is otherwise too inflexible to coordinate on given its scale and governance issues.(fingers crossed there will be significant progress in reforming it soon, of course)


Theres also lots of different directions. Nixpkgs the repo has a lot, a LOT, of legacy. This project could be one that falls back on nix (for top-level.nix) but otherwise tries to be a streamlined flakes-first redesign of nixpkgs.

  • Formatting required for PR’s
  • Flat package structure rather than a hand picked heirarchy (small team can’t hand pick, must just be systematic process)
  • Package requirements (must have pname and name and version not “maybe one, maybe two” of those things)
  • etc

So like a “beta” version of Nix, where we move fast and break things just to see what sticks? I think that would actually be really cool.


I was really shocked to wake up and over night see that the NixOS foundation put out a notice to the users. And I think it is a step in the right direction for them but not quite reaching the goals that aux was striving for. I feel like continuing with aux is a good idea for now. And maybe one day like io and node we can rejoin if they can meet our goals.


this post has just become the “should minorities be protected” post again, with people arguing about sea lioning, and 0 moderator action taken at all


I’m not really convinced by the board’s response, but I guess I will wait and see what the constitutional assembly achieves… If it doesn’t get derailed and trolled like the response’s thread, that is–
So for now, nothing changes for me, I’m still fully committed to helping Aux succeed.