Installing Idris

The easiest way to get a working idris version is to install the idris attribute:

$ nix-env -f "<nixpkgs>" -iA idris

This however only provides the prelude and base libraries. To install idris with additional libraries, you can use the idrisPackages.with-packages function, e.g. in an overlay in ~/.config/nixpkgs/overlays/my-idris.nix:

self: super: {
  myIdris = with self.idrisPackages; with-packages [ contrib pruviloj ];

And then:

$ # On NixOS
$ nix-env -iA nixos.myIdris
$ # On non-NixOS
$ nix-env -iA nixpkgs.myIdris

To see all available Idris packages:

$ # On NixOS
$ nix-env -qaPA nixos.idrisPackages
$ # On non-NixOS
$ nix-env -qaPA nixpkgs.idrisPackages

Similarly, entering a nix-shell:

$ nix-shell -p 'idrisPackages.with-packages (with idrisPackages; [ contrib pruviloj ])'

Starting Idris with library support

To have access to these libraries in idris, call it with an argument -p <library name> for each library:

$ nix-shell -p 'idrisPackages.with-packages (with idrisPackages; [ contrib pruviloj ])'
[nix-shell:~]$ idris -p contrib -p pruviloj

A listing of all available packages the Idris binary has access to is available via --listlibs:

$ idris --listlibs

Building an Idris project with Nix

As an example of how a Nix expression for an Idris package can be created, here is the one for idrisPackages.yaml:

{ lib
, build-idris-package
, fetchFromGitHub
, contrib
, lightyear
build-idris-package  {
  name = "yaml";
  version = "2018-01-25";

  # This is the .ipkg file that should be built, defaults to the package name
  # In this case it should build `Yaml.ipkg` instead of `yaml.ipkg`
  # This is only necessary because the yaml packages ipkg file is
  # different from its package name here.
  ipkgName = "Yaml";
  # Idris dependencies to provide for the build
  idrisDeps = [ contrib lightyear ];

  src = fetchFromGitHub {
    owner = "Heather";
    repo = "Idris.Yaml";
    rev = "5afa51ffc839844862b8316faba3bafa15656db4";
    hash = "sha256-h28F9EEPuvab6zrfeE+0k1XGQJGwINnsJEG8yjWIl7w=";

  meta = with lib; {
    description = "Idris YAML lib";
    homepage = "";
    license =;
    maintainers = [ maintainers.brainrape ];

Assuming this file is saved as yaml.nix, it's buildable using

$ nix-build -E '(import <nixpkgs> {}).idrisPackages.callPackage ./yaml.nix {}'

Or it's possible to use

with import <nixpkgs> {};

  yaml = idrisPackages.callPackage ./yaml.nix {};

in another file (say default.nix) to be able to build it with

$ nix-build -A yaml

Passing options to idris commands

The build-idris-package function provides also optional input values to set additional options for the used idris commands.

Specifically, you can set idrisBuildOptions, idrisTestOptions, idrisInstallOptions and idrisDocOptions to provide additional options to the idris command respectively when building, testing, installing and generating docs for your package.

For example you could set

build-idris-package {
  idrisBuildOptions = [ "--log" "1" "--verbose" ]


to require verbose output during idris build phase.