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4.1.1 package Reference

This section summarizes all the options available in package declarations (see Defining Packages).

Data Type: package

This is the data type representing a package recipe.


The name of the package, as a string.


The version of the package, as a string.


An object telling how the source code for the package should be acquired. Most of the time, this is an origin object, which denotes a file fetched from the Internet (see origin Reference). It can also be any other “file-like” object such as a local-file, which denotes a file from the local file system (see local-file).


The build system that should be used to build the package (see Build Systems).

arguments (default: '())

The arguments that should be passed to the build system. This is a list, typically containing sequential keyword-value pairs.

inputs (default: '())
native-inputs (default: '())
propagated-inputs (default: '())

These fields list dependencies of the package. Each one is a list of tuples, where each tuple has a label for the input (a string) as its first element, a package, origin, or derivation as its second element, and optionally the name of the output thereof that should be used, which defaults to "out" (see Packages with Multiple Outputs, for more on package outputs). For example, the list below specifies three inputs:

`(("libffi" ,libffi)
  ("libunistring" ,libunistring)
  ("glib:bin" ,glib "bin"))  ;the "bin" output of Glib

The distinction between native-inputs and inputs is necessary when considering cross-compilation. When cross-compiling, dependencies listed in inputs are built for the target architecture; conversely, dependencies listed in native-inputs are built for the architecture of the build machine.

native-inputs is typically used to list tools needed at build time, but not at run time, such as Autoconf, Automake, pkg-config, Gettext, or Bison. guix lint can report likely mistakes in this area (see Invoking guix lint).

Lastly, propagated-inputs is similar to inputs, but the specified packages will be automatically installed alongside the package they belong to (see guix package, for information on how guix package deals with propagated inputs.)

For example this is necessary when a C/C++ library needs headers of another library to compile, or when a pkg-config file refers to another one via its Requires field.

Another example where propagated-inputs is useful is for languages that lack a facility to record the run-time search path akin to the RUNPATH of ELF files; this includes Guile, Python, Perl, and more. To ensure that libraries written in those languages can find library code they depend on at run time, run-time dependencies must be listed in propagated-inputs rather than inputs.

self-native-input? (default: #f)

This is a Boolean field telling whether the package should use itself as a native input when cross-compiling.

outputs (default: '("out"))

The list of output names of the package. See Packages with Multiple Outputs, for typical uses of additional outputs.

native-search-paths (default: '())
search-paths (default: '())

A list of search-path-specification objects describing search-path environment variables honored by the package.

replacement (default: #f)

This must be either #f or a package object that will be used as a replacement for this package. See grafts, for details.


A one-line description of the package.


A more elaborate description of the package.


The license of the package; a value from (guix licenses), or a list of such values.


The URL to the home-page of the package, as a string.

supported-systems (default: %supported-systems)

The list of systems supported by the package, as strings of the form architecture-kernel, for example "x86_64-linux".

maintainers (default: '())

The list of maintainers of the package, as maintainer objects.

location (default: source location of the package form)

The source location of the package. It is useful to override this when inheriting from another package, in which case this field is not automatically corrected.

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