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9.5 Invoking guix import

The guix import command is useful for people who would like to add a package to the distribution with as little work as possible—a legitimate demand. The command knows of a few repositories from which it can “import” package metadata. The result is a package definition, or a template thereof, in the format we know (see Defining Packages).

The general syntax is:

guix import importer options

importer specifies the source from which to import package metadata, and options specifies a package identifier and other options specific to importer.

Some of the importers rely on the ability to run the gpgv command. For these, GnuPG must be installed and in $PATH; run guix install gnupg if needed.

Currently, the available “importers” are:

gnu

Import metadata for the given GNU package. This provides a template for the latest version of that GNU package, including the hash of its source tarball, and its canonical synopsis and description.

Additional information such as the package dependencies and its license needs to be figured out manually.

For example, the following command returns a package definition for GNU Hello:

guix import gnu hello

Specific command-line options are:

--key-download=policy

As for guix refresh, specify the policy to handle missing OpenPGP keys when verifying the package signature. See --key-download.

pypi

Import metadata from the Python Package Index. Information is taken from the JSON-formatted description available at pypi.python.org and usually includes all the relevant information, including package dependencies. For maximum efficiency, it is recommended to install the unzip utility, so that the importer can unzip Python wheels and gather data from them.

The command below imports metadata for the itsdangerous Python package:

guix import pypi itsdangerous
--recursive
-r

Traverse the dependency graph of the given upstream package recursively and generate package expressions for all those packages that are not yet in Guix.

gem

Import metadata from RubyGems. Information is taken from the JSON-formatted description available at rubygems.org and includes most relevant information, including runtime dependencies. There are some caveats, however. The metadata doesn’t distinguish between synopses and descriptions, so the same string is used for both fields. Additionally, the details of non-Ruby dependencies required to build native extensions is unavailable and left as an exercise to the packager.

The command below imports metadata for the rails Ruby package:

guix import gem rails
--recursive
-r

Traverse the dependency graph of the given upstream package recursively and generate package expressions for all those packages that are not yet in Guix.

minetest

Import metadata from ContentDB. Information is taken from the JSON-formatted metadata provided through ContentDB’s API and includes most relevant information, including dependencies. There are some caveats, however. The license information is often incomplete. The commit hash is sometimes missing. The descriptions are in the Markdown format, but Guix uses Texinfo instead. Texture packs and subgames are unsupported.

The command below imports metadata for the Mesecons mod by Jeija:

guix import minetest Jeija/mesecons

The author name can also be left out:

guix import minetest mesecons
--recursive
-r

Traverse the dependency graph of the given upstream package recursively and generate package expressions for all those packages that are not yet in Guix.

cpan

Import metadata from MetaCPAN. Information is taken from the JSON-formatted metadata provided through MetaCPAN’s API and includes most relevant information, such as module dependencies. License information should be checked closely. If Perl is available in the store, then the corelist utility will be used to filter core modules out of the list of dependencies.

The command command below imports metadata for the Acme::Boolean Perl module:

guix import cpan Acme::Boolean
cran

Import metadata from CRAN, the central repository for the GNU R statistical and graphical environment.

Information is extracted from the DESCRIPTION file of the package.

The command command below imports metadata for the Cairo R package:

guix import cran Cairo

When --recursive is added, the importer will traverse the dependency graph of the given upstream package recursively and generate package expressions for all those packages that are not yet in Guix.

When --style=specification is added, the importer will generate package definitions whose inputs are package specifications instead of references to package variables. This is useful when generated package definitions are to be appended to existing user modules, as the list of used package modules need not be changed. The default is --style=variable.

When --archive=bioconductor is added, metadata is imported from Bioconductor, a repository of R packages for the analysis and comprehension of high-throughput genomic data in bioinformatics.

Information is extracted from the DESCRIPTION file contained in the package archive.

The command below imports metadata for the GenomicRanges R package:

guix import cran --archive=bioconductor GenomicRanges

Finally, you can also import R packages that have not yet been published on CRAN or Bioconductor as long as they are in a git repository. Use --archive=git followed by the URL of the git repository:

guix import cran --archive=git https://github.com/immunogenomics/harmony
texlive

Import metadata from CTAN, the comprehensive TeX archive network for TeX packages that are part of the TeX Live distribution.

Information about the package is obtained through the XML API provided by CTAN, while the source code is downloaded from the SVN repository of the Tex Live project. This is done because the CTAN does not keep versioned archives.

The command command below imports metadata for the fontspec TeX package:

guix import texlive fontspec

When --archive=directory is added, the source code is downloaded not from the latex sub-directory of the texmf-dist/source tree in the TeX Live SVN repository, but from the specified sibling directory under the same root.

The command below imports metadata for the ifxetex package from CTAN while fetching the sources from the directory texmf/source/generic:

guix import texlive --archive=generic ifxetex
json

Import package metadata from a local JSON file. Consider the following example package definition in JSON format:

{
  "name": "hello",
  "version": "2.10",
  "source": "mirror://gnu/hello/hello-2.10.tar.gz",
  "build-system": "gnu",
  "home-page": "https://www.gnu.org/software/hello/",
  "synopsis": "Hello, GNU world: An example GNU package",
  "description": "GNU Hello prints a greeting.",
  "license": "GPL-3.0+",
  "native-inputs": ["gettext"]
}

The field names are the same as for the <package> record (See Defining Packages). References to other packages are provided as JSON lists of quoted package specification strings such as guile or guile@2.0.

The importer also supports a more explicit source definition using the common fields for <origin> records:

{
  …
  "source": {
    "method": "url-fetch",
    "uri": "mirror://gnu/hello/hello-2.10.tar.gz",
    "sha256": {
      "base32": "0ssi1wpaf7plaswqqjwigppsg5fyh99vdlb9kzl7c9lng89ndq1i"
    }
  }
  …
}

The command below reads metadata from the JSON file hello.json and outputs a package expression:

guix import json hello.json
hackage

Import metadata from the Haskell community’s central package archive Hackage. Information is taken from Cabal files and includes all the relevant information, including package dependencies.

Specific command-line options are:

--stdin
-s

Read a Cabal file from standard input.

--no-test-dependencies
-t

Do not include dependencies required only by the test suites.

--cabal-environment=alist
-e alist

alist is a Scheme alist defining the environment in which the Cabal conditionals are evaluated. The accepted keys are: os, arch, impl and a string representing the name of a flag. The value associated with a flag has to be either the symbol true or false. The value associated with other keys has to conform to the Cabal file format definition. The default value associated with the keys os, arch and impl is ‘linux’, ‘x86_64’ and ‘ghc’, respectively.

--recursive
-r

Traverse the dependency graph of the given upstream package recursively and generate package expressions for all those packages that are not yet in Guix.

The command below imports metadata for the latest version of the HTTP Haskell package without including test dependencies and specifying the value of the flag ‘network-uri’ as false:

guix import hackage -t -e "'((\"network-uri\" . false))" HTTP

A specific package version may optionally be specified by following the package name by an at-sign and a version number as in the following example:

guix import hackage mtl@2.1.3.1
stackage

The stackage importer is a wrapper around the hackage one. It takes a package name, looks up the package version included in a long-term support (LTS) Stackage release and uses the hackage importer to retrieve its metadata. Note that it is up to you to select an LTS release compatible with the GHC compiler used by Guix.

Specific command-line options are:

--no-test-dependencies
-t

Do not include dependencies required only by the test suites.

--lts-version=version
-l version

version is the desired LTS release version. If omitted the latest release is used.

--recursive
-r

Traverse the dependency graph of the given upstream package recursively and generate package expressions for all those packages that are not yet in Guix.

The command below imports metadata for the HTTP Haskell package included in the LTS Stackage release version 7.18:

guix import stackage --lts-version=7.18 HTTP
elpa

Import metadata from an Emacs Lisp Package Archive (ELPA) package repository (see Packages in The GNU Emacs Manual).

Specific command-line options are:

--archive=repo
-a repo

repo identifies the archive repository from which to retrieve the information. Currently the supported repositories and their identifiers are:

  • - GNU, selected by the gnu identifier. This is the default.

    Packages from elpa.gnu.org are signed with one of the keys contained in the GnuPG keyring at share/emacs/25.1/etc/package-keyring.gpg (or similar) in the emacs package (see ELPA package signatures in The GNU Emacs Manual).

  • - NonGNU, selected by the nongnu identifier.
  • - MELPA-Stable, selected by the melpa-stable identifier.
  • - MELPA, selected by the melpa identifier.
--recursive
-r

Traverse the dependency graph of the given upstream package recursively and generate package expressions for all those packages that are not yet in Guix.

crate

Import metadata from the crates.io Rust package repository crates.io, as in this example:

guix import crate blake2-rfc

The crate importer also allows you to specify a version string:

guix import crate constant-time-eq@0.1.0

Additional options include:

--recursive
-r

Traverse the dependency graph of the given upstream package recursively and generate package expressions for all those packages that are not yet in Guix.

opam

Import metadata from the OPAM package repository used by the OCaml community.

Additional options include:

--recursive
-r

Traverse the dependency graph of the given upstream package recursively and generate package expressions for all those packages that are not yet in Guix.

--repo

By default, packages are searched in the official OPAM repository. This option, which can be used more than once, lets you add other repositories which will be searched for packages. It accepts as valid arguments:

  • the name of a known repository - can be one of opam, coq (equivalent to coq-released), coq-core-dev, coq-extra-dev or grew.
  • the URL of a repository as expected by the opam repository add command (for instance, the URL equivalent of the above opam name would be https://opam.ocaml.org).
  • the path to a local copy of a repository (a directory containing a packages/ sub-directory).

Repositories are assumed to be passed to this option by order of preference. The additional repositories will not replace the default opam repository, which is always kept as a fallback.

Also, please note that versions are not compared accross repositories. The first repository (from left to right) that has at least one version of a given package will prevail over any others, and the version imported will be the latest one found in this repository only.

go

Import metadata for a Go module using proxy.golang.org.

guix import go gopkg.in/yaml.v2

It is possible to use a package specification with a @VERSION suffix to import a specific version.

Additional options include:

--recursive
-r

Traverse the dependency graph of the given upstream package recursively and generate package expressions for all those packages that are not yet in Guix.

--pin-versions

When using this option, the importer preserves the exact versions of the Go modules dependencies instead of using their latest available versions. This can be useful when attempting to import packages that recursively depend on former versions of themselves to build. When using this mode, the symbol of the package is made by appending the version to its name, so that multiple versions of the same package can coexist.

egg

Import metadata for CHICKEN eggs. The information is taken from PACKAGE.egg files found in the eggs-5-latest Git repository. However, it does not provide all the information that we need, there is no “description” field, and the licenses used are not always precise (BSD is often used instead of BSD-N).

guix import egg sourcehut

Additional options include:

--recursive
-r

Traverse the dependency graph of the given upstream package recursively and generate package expressions for all those packages that are not yet in Guix.

The structure of the guix import code is modular. It would be useful to have more importers for other package formats, and your help is welcome here (see Contributing).


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