Installing Node.js on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS

Installing Node.js on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS is pretty straight forward.

You will want a Node.js versioning manager. Node.js has a quick release cycle, point releases happen quite frequently. A Node.js versioning manager will help you keep all of your versions isolated from each other.

As it stands today, there are four Node.js version managers. They are:

  1. NVM - NVM works like RVM. It must be sourced in your ~./bashrc or ~./profile file. Some people don't like this. It's my understanding that some find this to be a bit of hackery.
  2. Nave - Nave doesn't need to be sourced or loaded up into your bash profile. But, when you use Nave it executes commands into a subshell. It's my understanding that if any process in a subshell modifies the environment then these changes won't persist to the parent process. It's not entirely clear these changes persist or not. But the rhetoric from some regarding using subshells for version management was enough to drive me away.
  3. n - I love the simplicity of 'n'. It doesn't use subshells and it doesn't require that you modify your bash profile. I would use 'n' if it installed NPM (Node.js package manager) with each release, and it doesn't.
  4. nodeenv- I never seriously considered this one as it requires Python to be installed. I haven't read about anyone using this. But I wanted to list it so that you'd be informed about its existence.

Use NVM. Seriously, it just works.

On your clean Ubuntu machine, make sure that Git is installed:

sudo apt-get install git-core

Then install NVM:

git clone git://github.com/creationix/nvm.git ~/.nvm
. ~/.nvm/nvm.sh # <------ be sure to add this line to the end of your ~./profile or ~./bashrc file

Now install all of the packages need to build Node.js:

sudo apt-get install build-essential openssl libssl-dev pkg-config

Now install the latest version of Node.js, at the time of this writing it's v0.6.9

nvm install v0.6.9

You now have a Node.js environment on your machine! Just run node on the command line to experiment with the Node.js REPL. You can also run npm to install Node.js packages. Read more about NPM here.

If you made it this far, you should follow me on Twitter.

-JP

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