Compile Node.js on Debian and Ubuntu Linux

Written on April 29, 2012 by Kev

Building Node.js on Linux is fairly simple, as there are few dependencies. This is how I did it on Debain 6 (Squeeze). At the time of writing the current release of Node.js was 0.6.15. You’ll need to adjust the intructions below to reflect the version you’re building.

Update: I have also successfully tested these instructions with node.js 0.6.17 on Ubuntu 12.04.

  • Download the Node.js source, e.g. wget http://nodejs.org/dist/v0.6.15/node-v0.6.15.tar.gz

  • Extract the files: tar -xvf node-v0.6.15.tar.gz

  • cd into the newly extracted node.js folder: cd node-v0.6.15

  • If you don’t have the essential build tools install then you’ll need to install them. As root run apt-get install build-essential
  • You’ll also need python, if if you don’t already have it installed, as root run apt-get install python

  • We’ll also need to build in SSL support, so let’s install the openssl libs: as root run apt-get install libssl-dev

At this point we can run ./configure and proceed with the node.js build. You’ll see that configure will report that openssl is not found, but the build will still work. This is because configure uses pks-config to check for openssl. If the this bothers you then run (as root) apt-get install pkg-config and ./configure will then find openssl.

Right, that’s the pre-compile stuff done, lets get on and compile node.js! From this point it’s all standard Linux build commands: ./configure, make and make install. So…

  • run ./configure (can be either root or a regular user)

  • Then make (again, either as root or a regular user)

  • and finally, as root run make install to install node into the system folders.

All done, so lets just check Node.js has been successfully installed. Type node --version

Now all you need to do is start writing some event driven JavaScript code… Over to you!