Nix.Camp was born out of a desire to meet up with other Nixxers participating in the Summer of Nix, and also to have the least corporate Nix event possible. In 2021, at the height of the pandemic, we had just one arrival, DavHau. Here he is, coding up a
flake.nix whilst eating a Cadbury Flake® and enjoying the furniture.
With no agenda, no talks, only a common theme, we focused on having fun with Nix in our little venue. A once disused chapel in the midst of North Wales; the AstralShip. At this first camp, I learned a lot about Nix programming, Dave created dream2nix and we all played some Xonotic together. We also had mathematician Julian Todd over to attempt to teach us something about set theory, and fill gaps in our knowledge. Incidentally, we managed to install NixOS on his laptop.
nix run nixpkgs#xonotic
Who are the organizers?
Nix.Camp is lovingly organized by Matthew Croughan (me) and Lee Hughes. We’re both passionate NixOS contributors and evangelists. Lee plays drums, I play guitar. Together, we make a pretty cool team.
Nix.Camp 2022 was the first Nix.Camp to have more than 1 attendee. It was a great success and improvement upon the predecessor. In total, we had 10 attendees, and I can honestly say it was one of the best times of my life thus far, rivaled only by NixCon 2022.
In addition to Cadbury Flake®, we were able to add more spice to the cuisine in the form of Nix & Kix, a conveniently named natural fruit juice, enhanced by cayenne peppers, which we could not resist keeping stock of.
All food was cooked up by our wonderful chef and in-house Buddhist, Leslie Hammond-Jones, who is pictured below playing Go with Isaac, in the Kitchen.
It wasn’t all fun and games, as we did manage to get some work done in the office. Some PRs were made made to Nixpkgs, whilst https://horizon-haskell.net/ was worked on by Dan Firth.
- HAM radio packages were revitalized by Rob Hernandez and Paul Harvey
- Some attendees were mentored and taught about the NixOS Module system, and given an introduction on how to contribute to Nixpkgs for the first time
- Some attendees were taught the wonders of Flakes, and their machines were turned completely into a
Where there was no agenda or plan, conversation took over and was free-flowing.
We hired a mini-bus for the camp, and Lee graciously drove it around with us inside. Here’s where we went.
Dinorwic quarry - Wikipedia
Dinorwic quarry ( din-OR-wig ; Welsh: ; also known as Dinorwig quarry) is a large former slate quarry, now home to the Welsh National Slate Museum, located between the villages of Llanberis and Dinorwig in Wales.
Anglesey Barracks (Barics Môn)
Ruins of the Anglesey Barracks, Dinorwig
Ruins of the Anglesey Barracks, Dinorwig These cottages were built in the 1870s as housing for quarrymen who lived too far away to return home each night. There are two rows of 11 cottages built using granite blocks. These groups of houses were known as barracks.
On the footpath back to the Astral Ship, it’s possible to stop by this old landmark, so we did.
Snowdon - Wikipedia
368.7 km (229.1 mi) Snowdon (; Welsh: Yr Wyddfa , pronounced ) is the highest mountain in Wales, at an elevation of 1,085 metres (3,560 ft) above sea level, and the highest point in the British Isles outside the Scottish Highlands. It is located in Snowdonia National Park (Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri ) in Gwynedd (historic county of Caernarfonshire).
Ill prepared, but with plenty of style, we traveled ahead in our Nix Lab coats. When stopped and asked why we were wearing the lab coats, we’d simply say “Science”. We had Brandon, a local friend, guide us up the mountain on this day. The weather was incredibly fortunate, and by the time we reached the top, the sun was shining and the sky was clear.
The crew traveled to the base of Snowdon in two separate vehicles, we ended up with two separate teams, two journeys and two stories.
This team was mainly comprised of the team from Nebulaworks who attended the camp. Frederik helpfully backtracked to meet up with Team 2, since we had no communication and were unsure if they had made it. Thankfully, they had!
Paul’s SOTA (Summit On the Air)
Summits On The Air - Wikipedia
Summits On The Air ( SOTA) is an amateur radio operating award program launched in Great Britain in 2002 by John Linford. The aim of SOTA is to encourage licensed amateur radio operators to operate temporarily from mountainous locations using any method of travel including hiking, mountain climbing, and cycling while operating their amateur radio station from the summits of hills and mountains.
Paul is an amateur radio operator, (call sign M0SET) and had traveled up to the summit of Snowdon with us to capture the flag, so to speak, on behalf of Nix.Camp. The basic premise of SOTA is that you call out to at least 3 stations (other people with radios), speak with them for a moment and record the response. After at least 3 responses have been recorded, you have captured the summit. We successfully achieved that goal. On the way down, we broadcasted
NixCamp2022 leaving mt Snowdon
nix.camp via APRS, which is visible on aprs.fi
Parys Mountain - Wikipedia
Parys Mountain ( Welsh: Mynydd Parys) is located south of the town of Amlwch in north east Anglesey, Wales. It is the site of a large copper mine that was extensively exploited in the late 18th century. Parys Mountain is a mountain in name only, being a hill with an elevation of barely 150m.
As the week drew to a close, we visited this old copper mine at sunset, but not before first dropping into Caernafon for an ice cream.
Paddy’s Bat Detector
By the time we had gotten down from Snowdon, Paddy, a good friend of Lee’s had unexpectedly showed up and cooked us a sea bass, which was delicious.
As it happens, Paddy is a one-man army, similar to Tony Stark. He founded Goat Industries, which vends all sorts of advanced technology you’d expect to be really complicated, such as the AI Bat Detector he brought to demonstrate. And he manages to do it all in his man-cave, with a box of scraps.
Paddy’s bat detector is a Python script that uses classifier algorithms to tell the difference between species of bats, using audio alone. And it’s pretty good at it. On the software GUI image below, we can see that it had detected a Common Pipistrelle throughout the 24 hours it was left at the venue.
Close to the end of the camp, Lee had spontaneously organized a drumming session, which brought us all together in an intense musical experience. The session was lead by his long time friend and mentor, Mark Evans. This took us by complete surprise. The chapel was filled with the sound of drumming. Some had taken a great liking to it and continued to play past midnight.
Nix.Camp drew to a close. Flakes were eaten, Nix & Kix was drank and plenty of Nix code was written.