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Frequently Asked Questions

This doc contains answers to frequently asked questions about Devbox that are not covered elsewhere in our documentation. If you have a question that isn't covered here, feel free to ask us on our Discord, or open an issue on our GitHub repository.

How does Devbox work?

Devbox generates isolated, reproducible development environments using the Nix package manager. Devbox uses Nix to install packages, and then creates an isolated shell environment for your project by symlinking the packages you need into your project directory.

Where does Devbox install my packages?

Devbox and Nix install your packages in the read-only Nix store, usually located at /nix/store. Devbox then creates your environment by symlinking the packages you need into the .devbox directory in your project.

How do I clean up unused packages from the Nix Store?

You can use devbox run -- nix store gc --extra-experimental-features nix-command to automatically clean up packages that are no longer needed for your projects.

Does Devbox require Docker or Containers to work?

No. Since Devbox uses Nix to install packages and create isolated environments, Docker is not required. If you want to run your Devbox project inside a container, you can generate a Dockerfile or devcontainer.json using the devbox generate command.

What versions of Nix are supported by Devbox?

Devbox requires Nix >= 2.12. If Nix is not present on your machine when you first run Devbox, it will automatically try to install the latest supported version for you.

Can I use Devbox with NixOS?

Yes! Devbox can be installed on any Linux distribution, including NixOS. You can even install Devbox via Nixpkgs. See the installation guide for more details.

A package I installed is missing header files or libraries I need for development. Where do I find them?

In order to save space, Devbox and Nix only install the required components of packages by default. Development header files and libraries are often installed in a separate output of the package (usually dev), which can be installed using the --output flag on the devbox add command.

For example, the command below will install both the default output out, and the cli output for the prometheus package:

devbox add prometheus --outputs=out,cli

You can also specify non-default outputs in flake references:

devbox add github:NixOS/nixpkgs#prometheus^out,cli

One of my project's packages is taking a long time to install. How can I speed up the installation process?

Packages may take a long time to install if they do not have a binary available in the public Nix Cache. If a prebuilt binary is not available, Nix will built the package from source.

If prebuilt binaries are not available in the public cache, you may want to use the Jetify Cache or the Jetify Prebuilt Cache to cache the binaries you build for future use. Using a package cache can reduce package install by up to 90% compared to building from source.

I'm trying to build a project, but it says that I'm missing libstdc++. How do I install this library in my project?

This message means that your project requires an implementation of the C++ Standard Library installed and linked within your shell. You can add the libstdc++ libraries and object files using devbox add

I'm seeing a ``GLIBC_X.XX' not found` error when I try to install my packages, or when I install packages from PyPi/RubyGems/NPM/Cargo/other package manager in my shell

This message usually occurs when using older packages, or when mixing different versions of packages within a single shell. The error tends to occur because each Nix package comes bundled with all of it's dependencies, including a version of the C Standard Library, to ensure reproducibility. If your interpreter (Python/Ruby/Node) or runtime is using an older version of glibc than what your other packages expect, they will throw this error.

There are three ways to work around this issue:

  1. You can update your packages to use a newer version (using devbox add). This newer version will likely come bundled with a newer version of glibc.
  2. You can use devbox update to get the latest Nix derivation for your package. Newer derivations may come bundled with newer dependencies, including glibc
  3. If you need to use an exact package version, but you still see this error, you can patch it to use a newer version of glibc using devbox add <package>@<version> --patch-glibc. This will patch your package to use a newer version of glibc, which should resolve any incompatibility issues you might be seeing. This patch will only affect packages on Linux.

How can I use custom Nix packages or overrides with Devbox?

You can add customized packages to your Devbox environment using our Flake support. You can use these flakes to modify or override packages from nixpkgs, or to create your own custom packages.

Can I use Devbox if I use Fish?

Yes. In addition to supporting POSIX compliant shells like Zsh and Bash, Devbox also works with Fish.

Note that init_hooks in Devbox will be run directly in your host shell, so you may have encounter some compatibility issues if you try to start a shell that uses a POSIX-compatible script in the init_hook.

How can I rollback to a previous version of Devbox?

You can use any previous version of Devbox by setting the DEVBOX_USE_VERSION environment variable. For example, to use version 0.8.0, you can run the following or add it to your shell's rcfile:


You can upgrade to the latest version of Devbox by unsetting the variable, and running devbox version update

How can I prevent Devbox from modifying my prompt while inside a shell?

By default, Devbox will prefix your prompt with (devbox) when inside a devbox shell. You can disable this behavior by setting this environment variable in your shell's rcfile:


You can now detect being inside a devbox shell and change your prompt using the method of your choosing.

How can I uninstall Devbox?

To uninstall Devbox:

  1. Remove the Devbox launcher using rm /usr/local/bin/devbox
  2. Remove the Devbox binaries using rm -rf ~/.cache/devbox
  3. Remove your Devbox global config using rm -rf .local/share/devbox

If you want to uninstall Nix, you will need to follow the instructions in the Nix Documentation: