A `nix` and `nix-shell` wrapper for shells other than `bash`

Related tags

Command-line nix nixos


nixpkgs Crates.io

A nix and nix-shell wrapper for shells other than bash.

nix develop and nix-shell use bash as the default shell, so nix-your-shell prints shell snippets you can source to use the shell you prefer inside of Nix shells.


nix-your-shell will print out shell environment code you can source to activate nix-your-shell.

Then, nix-shell, nix develop, and nix shell will use your shell instead of bash, unless overridden with a --command argument.


Add to your ~/.config/fish/config.fish:

if command -q nix-your-shell
  nix-your-shell fish | source


Add to your ~/.zshrc:

if command -v nix-your-shell > /dev/null; then
  nix-your-shell zsh | source /dev/stdin


You can either install nix-your-shell from this repository or from nixpkgs. The version packaged in nixpkgs will probably lag behind this repository by about a week or so.

nix profile

To install the latest version with nix profile, use one of:

nix profile install github:MercuryTechnologies/nix-your-shell
nix profile install "nixpkgs#nix-your-shell"


To install the latest version with nix-env, use one of:

nix-env --install --file https://github.com/MercuryTechnologies/nix-your-shell/archive/refs/heads/main.tar.gz
nix-env --install nix-your-shell

You can later remove the installed program with nix-env --uninstall nix-your-shell.

nix run

Run dynamically with nix run:

nix run github:MercuryTechnologies/nix-your-shell -- zsh
nix run "nixpkgs#nix-your-shell" -- zsh

Note that because the generated shell code will refer to the dynamically-built nix-your-shell executable, it may get garbage collected and cause problems later.


nix-your-shell is packaged in nixpkgs, so you can add pkgs.nix-your-shell to environment.systemPackages if you don't need the bleeding edge releases from this repo.

Add to a NixOS flake configuration using the overlay:


  inputs = {
    nixpkgs.url = "github:NixOS/nixpkgs";
    nix-your-shell = {
      url = "github:MercuryTechnologies/nix-your-shell";
      inputs.nixpkgs.follows = "nixpkgs";

  outputs = {
  } @ attrs: {
    nixosConfigurations = {
      YOUR_HOSTNAME = nixpkgs.lib.nixosSystem {
        system = "x86_64-linux";
        specialArgs = attrs;
        modules = [./YOUR_HOSTNAME.nix];


}: {
  nixpkgs.overlays = [

  environment.systemPackages = [

  # Example configuration for `fish`:
  programs.fish = {
    enable = true;
    promptInit = ''
      nix-your-shell fish | source

  # ... extra configuration

Comparison with any-nix-shell

any-nix-shell does roughly the same thing, and serves as the inspiration for nix-your-shell.

There are a few reasons I wrote nix-your-shell as a competitor:

  • any-nix-shell doesn't support Nix flakes through nix develop. nix-your-shell does.
  • any-nix-shell is a hodgepodge of shell scripts with multiple layers of eval and templating, making hacking or modifying it challenging. In contrast, nix-your-shell is written in Rust with a relatively straightforward structure (the shell environment code generation command and the nix wrappers are the same, so there's no need for dotfile executables on your $PATH).

However, any-nix-shell can optionally display the packages in the current shell on a righthand prompt. nix-your-shell does not support this.

  • [DUX-1066] Fix `--command` with `nix develop`

    [DUX-1066] Fix `--command` with `nix develop`

    The Nix CLI is inconsistent with the --command flag...

    We would transform (e.g.) nix develop -L .#ghc942 into nix develop --command fish -L .#ghc942, which Nix interprets as running the command fish -L .#ghc942 in the shell. This patch puts the --command fish bit at the end, instead of at the front, so the -L .#ghc942 arguments are correctly passed to nix develop.

    Future work: actually writing some tests lol

    opened by 9999years 2
  • Broken pipe when running with nix run

    Broken pipe when running with nix run

    I get the following error log:

    $ RUST_BACKTRACE=1 nix run github:MercuryTechnologies/nix-your-shell -- zsh | source
    source: not enough arguments
    The application panicked (crashed).
    Message:  failed printing to stdout: Broken pipe (os error 32)
    Location: library/std/src/io/stdio.rs:1009
      ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━ BACKTRACE ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
                                    ⋮ 7 frames hidden ⋮
       8: std::io::stdio::_print::h8161ac4f19406cdf
          at <unknown source file>:<unknown line>
       9: nix_your_shell::main::h1ef7ab779e977552
          at <unknown source file>:<unknown line>
      10: std::sys_common::backtrace::__rust_begin_short_backtrace::h50a6c336720655bd
          at <unknown source file>:<unknown line>
      11: std::rt::lang_start::{{closure}}::h4580b04423cddd21
          at <unknown source file>:<unknown line>
      12: std::rt::lang_start_internal::h398023bd7970a80b
          at <unknown source file>:<unknown line>
      13: main<unknown>
          at <unknown source file>:<unknown line>
      14: __libc_start_call_main<unknown>
          at <unknown source file>:<unknown line>
      15: __libc_start_main_alias_1<unknown>
          at <unknown source file>:<unknown line>
      16: _start<unknown>
          at <unknown source file>:<unknown line>
    Run with COLORBT_SHOW_HIDDEN=1 environment variable to disable frame filtering.
    Run with RUST_BACKTRACE=full to include source snippets.

    This also happens with fish.

    opened by IGI-111 2
  • Add `--` to `nix-your-shell` invocations

    Add `--` to `nix-your-shell` invocations

    This fixes extra arguments. Before, you'd see this if you tried to use any arguments with nix-shell or nix develop:

    $ nix develop --command whatever
    error: unexpected argument '--command' found
      note: to pass '--command' as a value, use '-- --command'
    Usage: nix-your-shell <SHELL> nix <ARGS>
    For more information, try '--help'.
    opened by 9999years 1
  • Add nixpkgs badge

    Add nixpkgs badge

    It got picked up by repology so we can add this badge too now! Although curiously it hasn't actually landed on nixpkgs yet: https://nixpk.gs/pr-tracker.html?pr=215733

    opened by 9999years 0
  • Fix zsh

    Fix zsh

    1. zsh source requires a filename, so we use nix-your-shell zsh | source /dev/stdin instead.
    2. nix-your-shell zsh was printing the fish code instead of the zsh code due to a copy-pasting error (lol). Fix that.

    Also clean up the README a bit.

    Closes #4

    opened by 9999years 0
  • Remove `cargo-dist`

    Remove `cargo-dist`

    cargo-dist is neat but can't yet produce universal macOS binaries; see https://github.com/axodotdev/cargo-dist/issues/77

    Remove it for now

    This will have to wait on getting the self-hosted runners added

    opened by 9999years 0
  • Add CI

    Add CI

    The basic workflow is:

    • Label PRs with patch, minor, or major
    • When PRs are merged, version numbers are bumped automatically and a new PR is opened, labeled release
    • When a release PR is merged, a release is cut and built and published automatically
    opened by 9999years 0
  • Add `bash` support

    Add `bash` support

    This is a little weird, because bash is the default shell Nix uses. However, we're currently seeing a bug where nix develop will exit if any command being run exits with a nonzero exit code, but nix develop --command bash will not. Weird!

    EDIT: The bug was caused by sourcing scripts created with writeShellApplication instead of writeShellScriptBin in the Nix shell's shellHook, causing set -eu being sourced at the beginning of the shell. This in turn caused any failing command to exit the shell. I'm still going to merge this though because bash support won't hurt anyone.

    opened by 9999years 1
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