Ekaitz's tech blog:
I make stuff at ElenQ Technology and I talk about it

ElenQ Donations — Intro + GNU Guix

From the series: ElenQ Donations

I consider my work part of my responsibility to make this world a better place so since the early beginning of the company I decided to donate as much as I could to the free software projects I was using for my work in order to help the ecosystem be sustainable.

Many times, free software projects that are being extensively used by companies are considered just free products that don’t carry any kind of responsibility with them. It is fine to use free software for your own goals (that’s the freedom 0), but it’s not morally acceptable to base your business model on a project that independent developers made with no funds (or with very low funds) and don’t even consider helping them.

We already had cases of free software developers that are keeping the projects running with their own expenses while the whole fucking world is just using the software they make without thinking about their conditions.

ElenQ Technology has been founded by a not-very common individual. That’s obvious.

Sadly, sometimes ElenQ Technology simply can’t afford to donate a part of our income1. But I can code.

I can always share my time between projects and my free time on trying to support free software projects that make my our life easier.

GNU Guix

GNU Guix is one of those projects. I started using it a couple of months ago as a package manager and now I moved to the full software distribution.

For those who don’t know Guix yet, it’s a package manager and a software distribution like Nix and NixOS are. They are based on the same principle and have the same core.

The innovation they carry is the transactional package manager that eases rollbacks and isolated environment creation. In the case of the software distribution, the whole system can be described by an easy-to-write file that is also version controlled, so you can always recover an older configuration if you need to.

All the packages and system descriptions are defined in code. In Nix, they are defined with Nix programming language (a DSL for that purpose). In Guix, they use Guile (scheme) programming language (a general-purpose programming language).

As my work at ElenQ forces me to visit many different codebases and use a wide variety of software in short term projects, Guix is very handy for me. I can create a new isolated environment, code on it and, once I’m done, remove it from my system in the cleanest way.

Also, package definition is easy and straight to the point, so I can package anything I want just coding few lines.

It’s an interesting project for system administrators too. Machines are easy to replicate with it and it’s easy to go back if you screwed up in the configuration.

Further than that, they are working really hard on reproducible builds and the chain of trust that modern software needs.

You should check the project yourselves better for more detailed info.

So what?

Since I use the project I’m started to take part on it, packaging new code and sending simple patches. More I get involved on it more I will do. I’m not really used to Guix yet, so I didn’t dig the code deeply enough and I’m not able to code very complex stuff on it.

At the moment, I’m trying to package Meshlab, a 3D mesh editing software you’ve probably heard about.

For that I packaged (already merged) openctm, lib3ds and openkinect (in its three flavors: C/C++ lib, python bindings and open-cv bindings). And during that time I also found a couple of details I could improve and I made some patches for them too.

In the past I also contributed with few package patches, on chicken and chibi scheme implementations and kitty terminal emulator. You can find all of them searching my name in the issue board you’ll find in the following link:


GNU Guix is not a very big project and it doesn’t have a large userbase that can help them grow fast and reliably so it needs some extra help, from me and surely from you. They have been a very welcoming community so I encourage you to take part if you are interested on it.

I hope this helps to spark your interest on helping on any project you like and maybe pressure your company to spend some resources on helping any project they use.

Stay safe.

  1. You can change that hiring us