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9.1.3 Additional Build Options

The command-line options presented below are specific to guix build.


Build quietly, without displaying the build log; this is equivalent to --verbosity=0. Upon completion, the build log is kept in /var (or similar) and can always be retrieved using the --log-file option.

-f file

Build the package, derivation, or other file-like object that the code within file evaluates to (see file-like objects).

As an example, file might contain a package definition like this (see Defining Packages):

(use-modules (guix)
             (guix build-system gnu)
             (guix licenses))

  (name "hello")
  (version "2.10")
  (source (origin
            (method url-fetch)
            (uri (string-append "mirror://gnu/hello/hello-" version
  (build-system gnu-build-system)
  (synopsis "Hello, GNU world: An example GNU package")
  (description "Guess what GNU Hello prints!")
  (home-page "")
  (license gpl3+))

The file may also contain a JSON representation of one or more package definitions. Running guix build -f on hello.json with the following contents would result in building the packages myhello and greeter:

    "name": "myhello",
    "version": "2.10",
    "source": "mirror://gnu/hello/hello-2.10.tar.gz",
    "build-system": "gnu",
    "arguments": {
      "tests?": false
    "home-page": "",
    "synopsis": "Hello, GNU world: An example GNU package",
    "description": "GNU Hello prints a greeting.",
    "license": "GPL-3.0+",
    "native-inputs": ["gettext"]
    "name": "greeter",
    "version": "1.0",
    "source": "mirror://gnu/hello/hello-2.10.tar.gz",
    "build-system": "gnu",
    "arguments": {
      "test-target": "foo",
      "parallel-build?": false
    "home-page": "",
    "synopsis": "Greeter using GNU Hello",
    "description": "This is a wrapper around GNU Hello.",
    "license": "GPL-3.0+",
    "inputs": ["myhello", "hello"]
-m manifest

Build all packages listed in the given manifest (see --manifest).

-e expr

Build the package or derivation expr evaluates to.

For example, expr may be (@ (gnu packages guile) guile-1.8), which unambiguously designates this specific variant of version 1.8 of Guile.

Alternatively, expr may be a G-expression, in which case it is used as a build program passed to gexp->derivation (see G-Expressions).

Lastly, expr may refer to a zero-argument monadic procedure (see The Store Monad). The procedure must return a derivation as a monadic value, which is then passed through run-with-store.


Build the source derivations of the packages, rather than the packages themselves.

For instance, guix build -S gcc returns something like /gnu/store/…-gcc-4.7.2.tar.bz2, which is the GCC source tarball.

The returned source tarball is the result of applying any patches and code snippets specified in the package origin (see Defining Packages).

As with other derivations, the result of building a source derivation can be verified using the --check option (see build-check). This is useful to validate that a (potentially already built or substituted, thus cached) package source matches against its declared hash.

Note that guix build -S compiles the sources only of the specified packages. They do not include the sources of statically linked dependencies and by themselves are insufficient for reproducing the packages.


Fetch and return the source of package-or-derivation and all their dependencies, recursively. This is a handy way to obtain a local copy of all the source code needed to build packages, allowing you to eventually build them even without network access. It is an extension of the --source option and can accept one of the following optional argument values:


This value causes the --sources option to behave in the same way as the --source option.


Build the source derivations of all packages, including any source that might be listed as inputs. This is the default value.

$ guix build --sources tzdata
The following derivations will be built:

Build the source derivations of all packages, as well of all transitive inputs to the packages. This can be used e.g. to prefetch package source for later offline building.

$ guix build --sources=transitive tzdata
The following derivations will be built:
-s system

Attempt to build for system—e.g., i686-linux—instead of the system type of the build host. The guix build command allows you to repeat this option several times, in which case it builds for all the specified systems; other commands ignore extraneous -s options.

Note: The --system flag is for native compilation and must not be confused with cross-compilation. See --target below for information on cross-compilation.

An example use of this is on Linux-based systems, which can emulate different personalities. For instance, passing --system=i686-linux on an x86_64-linux system or --system=armhf-linux on an aarch64-linux system allows you to build packages in a complete 32-bit environment.

Note: Building for an armhf-linux system is unconditionally enabled on aarch64-linux machines, although certain aarch64 chipsets do not allow for this functionality, notably the ThunderX.

Similarly, when transparent emulation with QEMU and binfmt_misc is enabled (see qemu-binfmt-service-type), you can build for any system for which a QEMU binfmt_misc handler is installed.

Builds for a system other than that of the machine you are using can also be offloaded to a remote machine of the right architecture. See Using the Offload Facility, for more information on offloading.


Cross-build for triplet, which must be a valid GNU triplet, such as "aarch64-linux-gnu" (see GNU configuration triplets in Autoconf).


List all the supported systems, that can be passed as an argument to --system.


List all the supported targets, that can be passed as an argument to --target.


Rebuild package-or-derivation, which are already available in the store, and raise an error if the build results are not bit-for-bit identical.

This mechanism allows you to check whether previously installed substitutes are genuine (see Substitutes), or whether the build result of a package is deterministic. See Invoking guix challenge, for more background information and tools.

When used in conjunction with --keep-failed, the differing output is kept in the store, under /gnu/store/…-check. This makes it easy to look for differences between the two results.


Attempt to repair the specified store items, if they are corrupt, by re-downloading or rebuilding them.

This operation is not atomic and thus restricted to root.


Return the derivation paths, not the output paths, of the given packages.

-r file

Make file a symlink to the result, and register it as a garbage collector root.

Consequently, the results of this guix build invocation are protected from garbage collection until file is removed. When that option is omitted, build results are eligible for garbage collection as soon as the build completes. See Invoking guix gc, for more on GC roots.


Return the build log file names or URLs for the given package-or-derivation, or raise an error if build logs are missing.

This works regardless of how packages or derivations are specified. For instance, the following invocations are equivalent:

guix build --log-file $(guix build -d guile)
guix build --log-file $(guix build guile)
guix build --log-file guile
guix build --log-file -e '(@ (gnu packages guile) guile-2.0)'

If a log is unavailable locally, and unless --no-substitutes is passed, the command looks for a corresponding log on one of the substitute servers (as specified with --substitute-urls).

So for instance, imagine you want to see the build log of GDB on aarch64, but you are actually on an x86_64 machine:

$ guix build --log-file gdb -s aarch64-linux…-gdb-7.10

You can freely access a huge library of build logs!

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