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baf 🐶

This utility provides a single baf binary for managing your Nixpkgs and NixOS installation. It makes it easier, at least for me, instead of memorizing many commands with different interfaces. This is not exhaustive and only covers the commands listed here.

This program was salvaged from ebzzry/scripts, turning it into a repository of its own, to make it easier to distribute.

Table of contents


Install the dependencies:

nix-env -i git sbcl gnumake curl cl-launch bzip2 nix-prefetch-scripts fd ripgrep

Then, install baf:

mkdir -p ~/bin ~/common-lisp
git clone ~/common-lisp/asdf
git clone ~/common-lisp/baf
curl -O
sbcl --load quicklisp.lisp --eval  '(quicklisp-quickstart:install)' --eval '(let ((ql-util::*do-not-prompt* t)) (ql:add-to-init-file) (ql:quickload :cl-launch) (sb-ext:quit))'
make -C ~/common-lisp/baf install

Or, in one line:

mkdir -p ~/bin ~/common-lisp; git clone ~/common-lisp/asdf; git clone ~/common-lisp/baf; curl -O; sbcl --load quicklisp.lisp --eval  '(quicklisp-quickstart:install)' --eval '(let ((ql-util::*do-not-prompt* t)) (ql:add-to-init-file)  (ql:quickload :cl-launch) (sb-ext:quit))'; make -C ~/common-lisp/baf install


On your first run, initialize the databases for the upstream nixpkgs checkout and index database:

baf init

Bear in mind that re-running init will purge the index and package databases.

Periodically, run the following command to update the aforementioned databases, plus the channels for the user and root:

baf full-update


Below are the currently available commands. When an option looks like <package> it means it accepts at least one package argument. When an option looks like <package?>it means it accepts zero ore more package arguments. When a command doesn’t have an argument, it means it doesn’t take any. The | indicates an alternative, shorter name.

Base commands

  • out-path|o-p <package>
  • which|h <binary>
  • store <options>
  • repl
  • pure-shell|shell
  • impure-shell|i-s
  • rebuild
  • rebuild-switch|r-s
  • rebuild-switch-upgrade|r-s-u
  • instantiate
  • eval <expression>
  • grep|g <string>
  • find|fd <package>
  • install-package|i-p <location>
  • install-package-uri|i-p-u <location>
  • references|r <package>
  • referrers|R <package>
  • query-root|q-r
  • closure|c <package>
  • set-flag|s-f <options>
  • option|o <options>
  • garbage-collect|g-c
  • garbage-collect-delete|g-c-d

Channel management

  • channel|ch <options>
  • channel-list|ch-l
  • channel-add|ch-a <url> <name>
  • channel-remove|ch-r <name>
  • channel-update|ch-u
  • channel-name|ch-n
  • root-channel|r-ch <options>
  • root-channel-list|r-ch-l
  • root-channel-add|r-ch-a <url> <name>
  • root-channel-remove|r-ch-r <name>
  • root-channel-update|r-ch-u
  • root-channel-name|r-ch-n

Channel commands

  • env <options>
  • build|b <options>
  • query|q <package>
  • upgrade|U <package?>
  • upgrade-always|U-a <package?>
  • install|i <package>
  • Install|I <package>
  • query-available|q-a
  • compare-versions|c-v
  • compare-versions-less-than|c-v-l-t
  • compare-versions-equal|c-v-e
  • compare-versions-greater-than|c-v-g-t
  • describe-available|d-a
  • index-available|i-a
  • search-available|search|s-a|s <package>
  • view-available|v-a
  • profile|p <profile>

Upstream commands

  • upstream-env|u-e <options>
  • upstream-build|u-b <options>
  • upstream-query|u-q <package>
  • upstream-upgrade|u-U <package?>
  • upstream-upgrade-always|u-U-a <package?>
  • upstream-install|u-i <package>
  • upstream-Install|u-I <package>
  • upstream-query-available|u-q-a
  • upstream-compare-versions|u-c-v
  • upstream-compare-versions-less-than|u-c-v-l-t
  • upstream-compare-versions-equal|u-c-v-e
  • upstream-compare-versions-greater-than|u-c-v-g-t
  • upstream-describe-available|u-d-a
  • upstream-index-available|u-i-a
  • upstream-search-available|u-s-a <package>
  • upstream-view-available|u-v-a
  • upstream-profile|u-p <profile>

Querying packages

  • query-installed|q-i <package>
  • query-installed-names|q-i-n <package>
  • search-installed|s-i <package>
  • index-installed|i-i
  • describe-installed|d-i

Common commands

  • uninstall|remove|erase|e <package>
  • build-index|b-i|index <package>
  • upstream-update|u-u
  • full-update|f-u|complete-update
  • full-upgrade|f-U|complete-upgrade
  • full-search|f-s <package>

Miscellaneous commands

  • view-packages|v-p
  • make
  • nix-version
  • nixpkgs-version
  • nixos-version
  • version
  • cleanup

Prefetch commands

  • fetch-url <options>
  • fetch-file <options>
  • fetch-git <options>
  • fetch-zip <options>
  • fetch-hg <options>
  • fetch-svn <options>
  • fetch-bzr <options>
  • fetch-cvs <options>


To install the latest Firefox from upstream:

baf u-i firefox

To install the latest Firefox from channels:

baf i firefox

To uninstall it:

baf e firefox

To search for upstream packages with the name firefox:

baf u-s firefox

To search for channel packages with the name firefox:

baf s firefox

To search for packages from both upstream and channels, with the name firefox:

baf f-s firefox

To display the version of Nix, Nixpkgs, and NixOS:

baf version

To view the list of installed packages:

baf q-i

To view the list of installed packages, including description:

baf d-i

To view the Haskell packages from upstream:

baf u-v-p haskellPackages

To search if Firefox is installed:

baf s-i firefox

To install Firefox from upstream on a different profile:

baf u-p firefox -iA firefox

then, to use this version of Firefox:

PATH=$PATH/.baf/profiles/firefox/bin firefox

To find out which package has the binary firefox:

baf h firefox

To get the store path of Firefox:

baf o-p firefox

To display the share/ subdirectory of Firefox, with some options to ls:

baf ls --color -FAtrl firefox/share

To look for files in upstream containing the string firefox:

baf find firefox

To grep the case insensitive string firefox in the upstream, displaying the name of the matching file:

baf grep -iH firefox

To garbage collect:

baf g-c

To aggressively garbage collect:

baf g-c-d

To subscribe to the nixos-unstable channel for the current user:

baf ch-a nixos
baf ch-u

To subscribe to the nixos-unstable channel for root:

baf r-ch-a nixos
baf r-ch-u

To rebuild NixOS from /etc/nixos/configuration.nix then perform switch:

baf r-s

To rebuild NixOS from /etc/nixos/configuration.nix, perform switch, and upgrade:

baf r-s-u

To update the user channel, root channel, upstream nixpkgs checkout, and index database on NixOS with full sudo access:

baf f-u

To perform the above, then upgrade the whole NixOS system:

baf f-U


In order for the which command to work on NixOS, put this in /etc/nixos/configuration.nix:

programs.command-not-found.enable = true;

To update baf to the latest version:

cd ~/common-lisp/baf; git pull --rebase origin master; make install

baf uses fd and ripgrep for finding files and text strings.


A simple Nixpkgs and NixOS helper





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