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Container registry which transparently builds images using the Nix package manager
Go Nix Shell
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tazjin fix(build): Ensure root user is known inside of container
This is required by git in cases where Nixery is configured with a
custom git repository.

I've also added a shell back into the image to make debugging a
running Nixery easier. It turns out some of the dependencies already
pull in bash anyways, so this is just surfacing it to $PATH.
Latest commit 9a95627 Aug 17, 2019

Build Status

Nixery is a Docker-compatible container registry that is capable of transparently building and serving container images using Nix.

Images are built on-demand based on the image name. Every package that the user intends to include in the image is specified as a path component of the image name.

The path components refer to top-level keys in nixpkgs and are used to build a container image using a layering strategy that optimises for caching popular and/or large dependencies.

A public instance as well as additional documentation is available at

The project started out inspired by the buildLayeredImage blog post with the intention of becoming a Kubernetes controller that can serve declarative image specifications specified in CRDs as container images. The design for this was outlined in a public gist.

This is not an officially supported Google project.


Click the image to see an example in which an image containing an interactive shell and GNU hello is downloaded.


To try it yourself, head to!

The special meta-package shell provides an image base with many core components (such as bash and coreutils) that users commonly expect in interactive images.

Feature overview

  • Serve container images on-demand using image names as content specifications

    Specify package names as path components and Nixery will create images, using the most efficient caching strategy it can to share data between different images.

  • Use private package sets from various sources

    In addition to building images from the publicly available Nix/NixOS channels, a private Nixery instance can be configured to serve images built from a package set hosted in a custom git repository or filesystem path.

    When using this feature with custom git repositories, Nixery will forward the specified image tags as git references.

    For example, if a company used a custom repository overlaying their packages on the Nix package set, images could be built from a git tag release-v2:

    docker pull

  • Efficient serving of image layers from Google Cloud Storage

    After building an image, Nixery stores all of its layers in a GCS bucket and forwards requests to retrieve layers to the bucket. This enables efficient serving of layers, as well as sharing of image layers between redundant instances.


Nixery supports the following configuration options, provided via environment variables:

  • BUCKET: Google Cloud Storage bucket to store & serve image layers
  • PORT: HTTP port on which Nixery should listen
  • NIXERY_CHANNEL: The name of a Nix/NixOS channel to use for building
  • NIXERY_PKGS_REPO: URL of a git repository containing a package set (uses locally configured SSH/git credentials)
  • NIXERY_PKGS_PATH: A local filesystem path containing a Nix package set to use for building
  • GCS_SIGNING_KEY: A Google service account key (in PEM format) that can be used to sign Cloud Storage URLs
  • GCS_SIGNING_ACCOUNT: Google service account ID that the signing key belongs to


Kubernetes integration

It should be trivial to deploy Nixery inside of a Kubernetes cluster with correct caching behaviour, addressing and so on.

See issue #4.

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