Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Monday, November 22, 2021 at 11:04

This tutorial explains step by step how to install Guix Operating System with GNOME desktop on a virtual machine. We will use the user friendly AQEMU, thus you can exercise this too with another tools if you want. This tutorial can be viewed as a beginner's guide for you who want to try out computing with Guix. By this, we hope you find installing Guix Desktop is reasonably easier compared to any other source code based operating systems. Welcome to GNU system!

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See also Let's Try Guix.

Where To Download Guix

Guix System can be downloaded at the official website by choosing one of GNU Guix System installers available, either the x86_64 or the i686 edition (64-bit and 32-bit PC choices, respectively). Once downloaded, you will have a file with the name more or less looks like guix-system-install-1.3.0.x86_64-linux.iso

What Versions are Available

Guix System is not available in multiple desktop editions so there is no Guix GNOME or Guix KDE and no LiveCD version. Instead, Guix System is available as an online installer that requires internet access to work with choices to download GNOME or Xfce at the installation time and resulting in a ready to use desktop system.

Create a New Virtual Machine

To install Guix GNOME on a virtual machine, we create one with following specifications. We use AQEMU Virtual Machine (visit our beginner's guide if you are a newcomer) to do this.

  • 64-bit PC
  • 2 GigaByte memory
  • 20 GigaByte hard disk
  • Networking enabled
  • Default graphics option
  • BIOS Legacy booting mode
(AQEMU displaying the virtual machine configuration for Guix System)

Insert Guix System Image File

After making the virtual machine, then we insert the operating system file to it. To do so, on the unstarted Guix vm, click Media, click Add CD/DVD ROM, select the guix-system-*.iso file, image file inserted. Continue to next section.

(ISO image preparation on the virtual machine)

Boot Up Guix

After inserting the image file, then we boot up the virtual computer to run Guix System installer. To do so, click the Guix vm, click menubar VM, click Start, a display port will open acting as a monitor, Guix System installer will be displayed, you are ready to install Guix System. Continue to next section.

(Guix System when booting into its installer)

How To Play

Guix installer does not allow mouse click interactions. Thus, to navigate the system installer, press TAB and Shift+TAB to jump from one choice to another one and back, press SPACE to give check mark, and press ENTER to select an option.

Step 1. User Identity

  • Select language
  • Select territory
  • Select installation type 
  • Select a timezone
  • Select a keyboard layout
  • Name your computer 

1. Locale language: choose English and continue. 

2. Locale location: select United States and continue. 

3. GNU Guix install: select Graphical install... option and continue. 

4. Timezone: select a timezone e.g. Asia/Jakarta. 

5. Keyboard layout: select English (US). 

6. Hostname: type a name for your Guix computer e.g. we name ours 'master'. Continue to next step.

(Locale language)

Step 2. System Setup

  • Substitute server discovery
  • Create administrator account
  • Create user account
  • Select a desktop environment
  • Enable network

1. Substitute server discovery: select Enable and continue. 

2.  System administrator password: create a password for root user. 

3. User creation: create a username for yourself and a password.

4. Desktop environment: give check mark to GNOME among the options.

5. Network service: select Mozilla NSS Certification and continue next step.

(Subsitute server discovery)

(System administrator password)

(User creation)

(Desktop environment)

(Network service)


Step 3. Partitioning, Processing and Finishing

  • Start Guided partitioning 
  • Select disk
  • Select partitioning scheme
  • Create required partitions
  • Review the summary in form of code
  • Start the actual installation
  • Wait the process to finish

1. Partitioning method: select Guided - using the entire disk. 

2. Disk: select the virtual machine's hard disk. In this example, we select ATA QEMU HARD DISK (20GB).

3. Partition scheme: select Everything is one partition. 

4. Guided partitioning: the installer will display a proposal of disk partitions that will be formatted. Accept it by selecting OK. Continue. 

5. Format disk?: accept this by selecting OK. 

6. Preparing partitions: please wait for the disk formatting process is taking place. 

7. Configuration file: the installation plan will be displayed in form of code written in a language called Scheme. Accept this by selecting OK.

8. Waiting: the actual installation process will take place. When this process takes place, do not disable your internet access and do not shutdown the virtual machine. Please wait for several minutes until you see a final message saying "Please ENTER to continue".

(Partitioning method)

(Guided partitioning)

(Configuration file)

(The actual installation process)

Restart and Login

Once finished, the installer will ask you to Reboot then press Enter and you should be able to see Guix login screen like below.

(Guix System login screen)

Final Result

Once you finished the whole installation process, you will see, in your virtual machine, your desktop running after seeing the welcome message saying "This is the GNU system". As you can see, we successfully install Guix System and can run many computer programs like LibreOffice and Telegram Desktop natively on it. This is Guix Desktop System, the GNU operating system with the GNU desktop, GNOME, for your computer. Congratulations!

(AQEMU window showing Guix GNOME running)

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.