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NixGL solve the "OpenGL" problem with nix. It works with all mesa drivers (Intel cards and "free" version for Nvidia or AMD cards), Nvidia proprietary drivers, and even with hybrid configuration via bumblebee. It works for Vulkan programs too.


Using Nix on non-NixOS distros, it's common to see GL application errors:

$ program
libGL error: unable to load driver:
libGL error: driver pointer missing
libGL error: failed to load driver: i965
libGL error: unable to load driver:
libGL error: driver pointer missing
libGL error: failed to load driver: i965
libGL error: unable to load driver:
libGL error: failed to load driver: swrast

NixGL provides a set of wrappers able to launch GL or Vulkan applications:

$ nixGL program
$ nixVulkan program


nix-channel (Recommended)

To get started,

$ nix-channel --add nixgl && nix-channel --update
$ nix-env -iA   # or replace `nixGLDefault` with your desired wrapper

Many wrappers are available, depending on your hardware and the graphical API you want to use (i.e. Vulkan or OpenGL). You may want to install a few of them, for example if you want to support OpenGL and Vulkan on a laptop with an hybrid configuration.

OpenGL wrappers:

  • auto.nixGLDefault: Tries to auto-detect and install Nvidia, if not, fallback to mesa. Recommended. Invoke with nixGL program.
  • auto.nixGLNvidia: Proprietary Nvidia driver (auto detection of version)
  • auto.nixGLNvidiaBumblebee: Proprietary Nvidia driver on hybrid hardware (auto detection).
  • nixGLIntel: Mesa OpenGL implementation (intel, amd, nouveau, ...).

Vulkan wrappers:

  • auto.nixVulkanNvidia: Proprietary Nvidia driver (auto detection).
  • nixVulkanIntel: Mesa Vulkan implementation.

The Vulkan wrapper also sets VK_LAYER_PATH the validation layers in the nix store.


Directly run nixGL

You need to specify the same version of nixpkgs that your program is using. For example, replace nixos-21.11 with nixos-21.05.

nix run --override-input nixpkgs nixpkgs/nixos-21.11 --impure github:nix-community/nixGL -- program

If you use the default nixpkgs channel (i.e. nixpkgs-unstable), you can omit those arguments like so:

nix run --impure github:nix-community/nixGL -- program

You can also specify which wrapper to use instead of using the default auto detection:

nix run github:nix-community/nixGL#nixGLIntel -- program

Install nixgl

You can also install nixgl in a nix profile

nix profile install github:guibou/nixGL --impure

This will result in a lighter download and execution time. Also, this evaluation is pure.

Error about experimental features

You can directly use:

nix --extra-experimental-features "nix-command flakes" run --impure github:nix-community/nixGL -- program

Or set the appropriate conf in ~/.config/nix/nix.conf / /etc/nix/nix.conf / nix.extraOptions.

Error with GLIBC version

if you get errors with messages similar to

/nix/store/g02b1lpbddhymmcjb923kf0l7s9nww58-glibc-2.33-123/lib/ version `GLIBC_2.34' not found (required by /nix/store/hrl51nkr7dszlwcs29wmyxq0jsqlaszn-libglvnd-1.4.0/lib/

It means that there's a mismatch between the versions of nixpkgs used by nixGL and program.

Use an overlay

Add nixGL as a flake input:

  inputs = {
    nixgl.url = "github:nix-community/nixGL";
  outputs = { nixgl, ... }: { };

Then, use the flake's overlay attr:

  outputs = { nixgl, nixpkgs, ... }:
    pkgs = import nixpkgs {
      system = "x86_64-linux";
      overlays = [ nixgl.overlay ];
  # You can now reference pkgs.nixgl.nixGLIntel, etc.
  { }

Installation from source

$ git clone
$ cd nixGL
$ nix-env -f ./ -iA <your desired wrapper name>


Just launch the program you want prefixed by the right wrapper.

For example, for OpenGL programs:

$ nixGL program args                 # For the `nixGLDefault` wrapper, recommended.
$ nixGLNvidia program args
$ nixGLIntel program args
$ nixGLNvidiaBumblebee program args

For Vulkan programs:

$ nixVulkanNvidia program args
$ nixVulkanIntel program args

OpenGL - Hybrid Intel + Nvidia laptop

After installing nixGLIntel and nixGLNvidiaBumblebee.

$ nixGLIntel $(nix run nixpkgs.glxinfo -c glxinfo) | grep -i 'OpenGL version string'
OpenGL version string: 3.0 Mesa 17.3.3
$ nixGLNvidiaBumblebee $(nix run nixpkgs.glxinfo -c glxinfo) | grep -i 'OpenGL version string'
OpenGL version string: 4.6.0 NVIDIA 390.25

If the program you'd like to run is already installed by nix in your current environment, you can simply run it with the wrapper, for example:

$ nixGLIntel blender

Vulkan - Intel GPU

After installing nixVulkanIntel.

$ sudo apt install mesa-vulkan-drivers
$ nixVulkanIntel $(nix-build '<nixpkgs>' --no-out-link -A vulkan-tools)/bin/vulkaninfo | grep VkPhysicalDeviceProperties -A 7
        apiVersion     = 0x400036  (1.0.54)
        driverVersion  = 71311368 (0x4402008)
        vendorID       = 0x8086
        deviceID       = 0x591b
        deviceType     = INTEGRATED_GPU
        deviceName     = Intel(R) HD Graphics 630 (Kaby Lake GT2)


Nvidia auto detection does not work

building '/nix/store/ijs5h6h07faai0k74diiy5b2xlxh891g-auto-detect-nvidia.drv'...
pcregrep: Failed to open /proc/driver/nvidia/version: No such file or directory
builder for '/nix/store/ijs5h6h07faai0k74diiy5b2xlxh891g-auto-detect-nvidia.drv' failed with exit code 2
error: build of '/nix/store/ijs5h6h07faai0k74diiy5b2xlxh891g-auto-detect-nvidia.drv' faile

You can run the Nvidia installer using an explicit version string instead of the automatic detection method:

nix-build -A auto.nixGLNvidia --argstr nvidiaVersion 440.82

(or nixGLNvidiaBumblebee, nixVulkanNividia)

The version of your driver can be found using glxinfo from your system default package manager, or nvidia-settings.

On nixOS

nixGL can also be used on nixOS if the system is installed with a different nixpkgs clone than the one your application are installed with. Override the pkgs argument of the script with the correct nixpkgs clone:

nix-build ./default.nix -A nixGLIntel --arg pkgs "import path_to_your_nixpkgs {}".

Old nvidia drivers

Users of Nvidia legacy driver should use the backport/noGLVND branch. This branch is not tested and may not work well, please open a bug report, it will be taken care of as soon as possible.


nixGLCommon nixGLXXX can be used to get nixGL executable which fallback to nixGLXXX. It is a shorter name for people with only one OpenGL configuration.

For example:

nix-build -E "with import ./default.nix {}; nixGLCommon nixGLIntel"


nixGL is badly tested, mostly because it is difficult to test automatically in a continuous integration context because you need access to different type of hardware.

Some OpenGL configurations may not work, for example AMD proprietary drivers. There is no fundamental limitation, so if you want support for theses configurations, open an issue.


One great way to contribute to nixGL is to run the test suite. Just run ./Test.hs in the main directory and check that all the test relevant to your hardware are green.


A wrapper tool for nix OpenGL application [maintainer=@guibou]


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