Ubuntu, Red Hat, and Linux Mint get all the attention, while Guix, the more important (for freedom lovers) new package manager and associated free software distribution of the GNU system, is virtually unknown -- even among enthusiasts.
On Friday (as part of their 30th birthday celebration) the GNU project announced the release of their package management application, GNU Guix 0.4. It was the latest update of the program since Guix's lead developer, Ludovic Courtès announced, at the end of November last year, that Guix would officially be part of the the GNU System. Since then he has released a road map and three upgraded versions.
It was started as a means to create a distribution that was built primarily with GNU system packages and completely free of proprietary software, including the non-free "binary blobs" that have become commonplace in other distributions. It will use the GNU Project's binary blob-free Linux-libre variant of the kernel, Linux.
Guix is based-on the older package manager, Nix, and retains its "purely functional" design while extending it well into the domain of software freedom. It is built to run on top of the Linux kernel and provide "standard package management features, . . . transactional upgrades and roll-backs, unprivileged package management, per-user profiles, and garbage collection."
As a self-contained distribution, each package is built with other packages in the distribution with the core of the system being a small set of binaries used to boot strap it. Because it's still in the early stages of development, it's not yet able to boot itself and must be installed on another system, using QEMU or presumably another vitualization application. (The road map indicates it will be self-booting by the end of this year.)
The program is eminently hackable and extensible through the use of Guile APIs which include "high-level domain-specific (EDSLs) languages to describe how packages are built and composed."
To get involved or the find out more, visit the project's website at: GNU Guix.