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Ray Harris
Ray Harris

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Day 1: Installing NixOS on my 2019 Macbook Pro

Here's everything I did to install NixOS on my Macbook Pro without ruining my existing macOS Ventura setup.

  1. Created bootable media
  • Downloaded Balena Etcher
  • Downloaded NixOS ISO (GNOME, 64-bit Intel/AMD)
  • Plugged in 16gb USB drive
  • Ran Etcher to flash the NixOS ISO onto the USB drive (easy as 1-2-3)
  1. Prepared a partition on my hard drive
  • Couldn't use disk utility because it would only let me create APFS volumes
  • Opened terminal
  • Ran diskutil list
  • Ran diskutil info /dev/disk0
  • Ran diskutil apfs resizeContainer /dev/disk0s2 300g ExFAT "NixOS" 200gb

This took a little while.

  1. Disabled the boot restriction security
  • Shut down the mac
  • Booted up, holding CMD+R to enter recovery mode
  • At the top bar, chose Utilities>Startup Security Utility
  • Chose No security for the first option
  • Chose Allow booting from external media for the second option
  • Closed the window
  • Shut down
  1. Got my peripherals ready
  • Plugged in power cable
  • Plugged in external mouse and keyboard
  • Plugged in network cable via ethernet-usbc adapter
  1. Ran the installer
  • Booted up, holding Option key
  • Chose EFI boot (my usb device)
  • Ignored the menu that came up and disappeared in 10 seconds. If you press a key, the 10 second timer will be aborted and you'll have to manually select an option. Choose the first and hit enter
  • Clicked next a few times and added my username, password, timezone, etc.
  • I chose the Plasma desktop environment after comparing the visual preview to GNOME's in the setup wizard. I think people fight about this kind of stuff online, but I'm led to believe by one of the Reddit posts I saw that we can easily switch risk-free later on thanks to the power of Nix.
  • Let it run and went upstairs for a few hours
  1. Came back to my laptop and booted up NixOS
  • Wondered how to get Wi-Fi working
  • Wondered how to get Macbook keyboard, touch bar, and trackpad working
  • Wondered how the heck I do anything on this weird OS

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