Installing NodeJS on Raspbian

After writing my previous post about NodeJS on the Raspberry Pi I realised I didn’t cover how I got NodeJS on the Pi in the first place. For the most part getting packages on the Raspberry Pi is very straight forward, apt-get install , however in the case of the Raspberry Pi 1 getting NodeJS on there wasn’t immediately obvious.

Below are three different ways to get NodeJS running on Linux in general, but if you’re using a Raspberry Pi 1 or other unsupported system then I’d jump straight over the first section and go straight to two and three.

Installing via Apt

This process is by far the easiest, following the instructions on the NodeJS website is very straight forward. What it largely boils down to is run the following two commands:

curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_7.x | sudo -E bash -
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs

This will download a script from deb.nodesource.com and execute it. This script will attempt to determine which distribution of Linux you’re running, assert whether this is supported or not, then add the node repository to your apt repository lists and the appropriate signing key.

The complete script as of 2016-11-30 can be found here
#!/bin/bash

# Discussion, issues and change requests at:
#   https://github.com/nodesource/distributions
#
# Script to install the NodeSource Node.js v7.x repo onto a
# Debian or Ubuntu system.
#
# Run as root or insert `sudo -E` before `bash`:
#
# curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_7.x | bash -
#   or
# wget -qO- https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_7.x | bash -
#

export DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive
SCRSUFFIX="_7.x"
NODENAME="Node.js v7.x"
NODEREPO="node_7.x"
NODEPKG="nodejs"

print_status() {
    echo
    echo "## $1"
    echo
}

if test -t 1; then # if terminal
    ncolors=$(which tput > /dev/null && tput colors) # supports color
    if test -n "$ncolors" && test $ncolors -ge 8; then
        termcols=$(tput cols)
        bold="$(tput bold)"
        underline="$(tput smul)"
        standout="$(tput smso)"
        normal="$(tput sgr0)"
        black="$(tput setaf 0)"
        red="$(tput setaf 1)"
        green="$(tput setaf 2)"
        yellow="$(tput setaf 3)"
        blue="$(tput setaf 4)"
        magenta="$(tput setaf 5)"
        cyan="$(tput setaf 6)"
        white="$(tput setaf 7)"
    fi
fi

print_bold() {
    title="$1"
    text="$2"

    echo
    echo "${red}================================================================================${normal}"
    echo "${red}================================================================================${normal}"
    echo
    echo -e "  ${bold}${yellow}${title}${normal}"
    echo
    echo -en "  ${text}"
    echo
    echo "${red}================================================================================${normal}"
    echo "${red}================================================================================${normal}"
}

bail() {
    echo 'Error executing command, exiting'
    exit 1
}

exec_cmd_nobail() {
    echo "+ $1"
    bash -c "$1"
}

exec_cmd() {
    exec_cmd_nobail "$1" || bail
}

node_deprecation_warning() {
    if [[ "X${NODENAME}" == "Xio.js v1.x" ||
          "X${NODENAME}" == "Xio.js v2.x" ||
          "X${NODENAME}" == "Xio.js v3.x" ||
          "X${NODENAME}" == "XNode.js v5.x" ]]; then

        print_bold \
"                            DEPRECATION WARNING                            " "\
${bold}${NODENAME} is no longer actively supported!${normal}

  ${bold}You will not receive security or critical stability updates${normal} for this version.

  You should migrate to a supported version of Node.js as soon as possible.
  Use the installation script that corresponds to the version of Node.js you
  wish to install. e.g.

   * ${green}https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_4.x — Node.js v4 LTS \"Argon\"${normal} (recommended)
   * ${green}https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_6.x — Node.js v6 Current${normal}

  Please see ${bold}https://github.com/nodejs/LTS/${normal} for details about which version
  may be appropriate for you.

  The ${bold}NodeSource${normal} Node.js Linux distributions GitHub repository contains
  information about which versions of Node.js and which Linux distributions
  are supported and how to use the install scripts.
    ${bold}https://github.com/nodesource/distributions${normal}
"
        echo
        echo "Continuing in 10 seconds ..."
        echo
        sleep 10

    elif [ "X${NODENAME}" == "XNode.js v0.10" ]; then

        print_bold \
"                     NODE.JS v0.10 DEPRECATION WARNING                      " "\
Node.js v0.10 will cease to be actively supported in ${bold}October 2016${normal}.

  This means you will not continue to receive security or critical stability
  updates for this version of Node.js beyond that time.

  You should begin migration to a newer version of Node.js as soon as
  possible. Use the installation script that corresponds to the version of
  Node.js you wish to install. e.g.

   * ${green}https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_4.x — Node.js v4 LTS \"Argon\"${normal} (recommended)
   * ${green}https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_6.x — Node.js v6 Current${normal}

  Please see ${bold}https://github.com/nodejs/LTS/${normal} for details about which version
  may be appropriate for you.

  The ${bold}NodeSource${normal} Node.js Linux distributions GitHub repository contains
  information about which versions of Node.js and which Linux distributions
  are supported and how to use the install scripts.
    ${bold}https://github.com/nodesource/distributions${normal}
"

        echo
        echo "Continuing in 5 seconds ..."
        echo
        sleep 5

    elif [ "X${NODENAME}" == "XNode.js v0.12" ]; then

        print_bold \
"                     NODE.JS v0.12 DEPRECATION WARNING                      " "\
Node.js v0.12 will cease to be actively supported ${bold}at the end of 2016${normal}.

  This means you will not continue to receive security or critical stability
  updates for this version of Node.js beyond that time.

  You should begin migration to a newer version of Node.js as soon as
  possible. Use the installation script that corresponds to the version of
  Node.js you wish to install. e.g.

   * ${green}https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_4.x — Node.js v4 LTS \"Argon\"${normal} (recommended)
   * ${green}https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_6.x — Node.js v6 Current${normal}

  Please see ${bold}https://github.com/nodejs/LTS/${normal} for details about which version
  may be appropriate for you.

  The ${bold}NodeSource${normal} Node.js Linux distributions GitHub repository contains
  information about which versions of Node.js and which Linux distributions
  are supported and how to use the install scripts.
    ${bold}https://github.com/nodesource/distributions${normal}
"

        echo
        echo "Continuing in 3 seconds ..."
        echo
        sleep 3

    fi
}

script_deprecation_warning() {
    if [ "X${SCRSUFFIX}" == "X" ]; then
        print_bold \
"                         SCRIPT DEPRECATION WARNING                         " "\
This script, located at ${bold}https://deb.nodesource.com/setup${normal}, used to
  install Node.js v0.10, is being deprecated and will eventually be made
  inactive.

  You should use the script that corresponds to the version of Node.js you
  wish to install. e.g.

   * ${green}https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_4.x — Node.js v4 LTS \"Argon\"${normal} (recommended)
   * ${green}https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_6.x — Node.js v6 Current${normal}

  Please see ${bold}https://github.com/nodejs/LTS/${normal} for details about which version
  may be appropriate for you.

  The ${bold}NodeSource${normal} Node.js Linux distributions GitHub repository contains
  information about which versions of Node.js and which Linux distributions
  are supported and how to use the install scripts.
    ${bold}https://github.com/nodesource/distributions${normal}
"

        echo
        echo "Continuing in 10 seconds (press Ctrl-C to abort) ..."
        echo
        sleep 10
    fi
}

setup() {

script_deprecation_warning

print_status "Installing the NodeSource ${NODENAME} repo..."

if $(uname -m | grep -Eq ^armv6); then
    print_status "You appear to be running on ARMv6 hardware. Unfortunately this is not currently supported by the NodeSource Linux distributions. Please use the 'linux-armv6l' binary tarballs available directly from nodejs.org for Node.js v4 and later."
    exit 1
fi

PRE_INSTALL_PKGS=""

# Check that HTTPS transport is available to APT
# (Check snaked from: https://get.docker.io/ubuntu/)

if [ ! -e /usr/lib/apt/methods/https ]; then
    PRE_INSTALL_PKGS="${PRE_INSTALL_PKGS} apt-transport-https"
fi

if [ ! -x /usr/bin/lsb_release ]; then
    PRE_INSTALL_PKGS="${PRE_INSTALL_PKGS} lsb-release"
fi

if [ ! -x /usr/bin/curl ] && [ ! -x /usr/bin/wget ]; then
    PRE_INSTALL_PKGS="${PRE_INSTALL_PKGS} curl"
fi

# Populating Cache
print_status "Populating apt-get cache..."
exec_cmd 'apt-get update'

if [ "X${PRE_INSTALL_PKGS}" != "X" ]; then
    print_status "Installing packages required for setup:${PRE_INSTALL_PKGS}..."
    # This next command needs to be redirected to /dev/null or the script will bork
    # in some environments
    exec_cmd "apt-get install -y${PRE_INSTALL_PKGS} > /dev/null 2>&1"
fi

IS_PRERELEASE=$(lsb_release -d | grep 'Ubuntu .*development' >& /dev/null; echo $?)
if [[ $IS_PRERELEASE -eq 0 ]]; then
    print_status "Your distribution, identified as \"$(lsb_release -d -s)\", is a pre-release version of Ubuntu. NodeSource does not maintain official support for Ubuntu versions until they are formally released. You can try using the manual installation instructions available at https://github.com/nodesource/distributions and use the latest supported Ubuntu version name as the distribution identifier, although this is not guaranteed to work."
    exit 1
fi

DISTRO=$(lsb_release -c -s)

check_alt() {
    if [ "X${DISTRO}" == "X${2}" ]; then
        echo
        echo "## You seem to be using ${1} version ${DISTRO}."
        echo "## This maps to ${3} \"${4}\"... Adjusting for you..."
        DISTRO="${4}"
    fi
}

check_alt "Kali"          "sana"     "Debian" "jessie"
check_alt "Kali"          "kali-rolling" "Debian" "jessie"
check_alt "Debian"        "stretch"  "Debian" "jessie"
check_alt "Linux Mint"    "maya"     "Ubuntu" "precise"
check_alt "Linux Mint"    "qiana"    "Ubuntu" "trusty"
check_alt "Linux Mint"    "rafaela"  "Ubuntu" "trusty"
check_alt "Linux Mint"    "rebecca"  "Ubuntu" "trusty"
check_alt "Linux Mint"    "rosa"     "Ubuntu" "trusty"
check_alt "Linux Mint"    "sarah"    "Ubuntu" "xenial"
check_alt "LMDE"          "betsy"    "Debian" "jessie"
check_alt "elementaryOS"  "luna"     "Ubuntu" "precise"
check_alt "elementaryOS"  "freya"    "Ubuntu" "trusty"
check_alt "elementaryOS"  "loki"     "Ubuntu" "xenial"
check_alt "Trisquel"      "toutatis" "Ubuntu" "precise"
check_alt "Trisquel"      "belenos"  "Ubuntu" "trusty"
check_alt "BOSS"          "anokha"   "Debian" "wheezy"
check_alt "bunsenlabs"    "bunsen-hydrogen" "Debian" "jessie"
check_alt "Tanglu"        "chromodoris" "Debian" "jessie"

if [ "X${DISTRO}" == "Xdebian" ]; then
  print_status "Unknown Debian-based distribution, checking /etc/debian_version..."
  NEWDISTRO=$([ -e /etc/debian_version ] && cut -d/ -f1 < /etc/debian_version)   if [ "X${NEWDISTRO}" == "X" ]; then     print_status "Could not determine distribution from /etc/debian_version..."   else     DISTRO=$NEWDISTRO     print_status "Found \"${DISTRO}\" in /etc/debian_version..."   fi fi print_status "Confirming \"${DISTRO}\" is supported..." if [ -x /usr/bin/curl ]; then     exec_cmd_nobail "curl -sLf -o /dev/null 'https://deb.nodesource.com/${NODEREPO}/dists/${DISTRO}/Release'"     RC=$? else     exec_cmd_nobail "wget -qO /dev/null -o /dev/null 'https://deb.nodesource.com/${NODEREPO}/dists/${DISTRO}/Release'"     RC=$? fi if [[ $RC != 0 ]]; then     print_status "Your distribution, identified as \"${DISTRO}\", is not currently supported, please contact NodeSource at https://github.com/nodesource/distributions/issues if you think this is incorrect or would like your distribution to be considered for support"     exit 1 fi if [ -f "/etc/apt/sources.list.d/chris-lea-node_js-$DISTRO.list" ]; then     print_status 'Removing Launchpad PPA Repository for NodeJS...'     exec_cmd_nobail 'add-apt-repository -y -r ppa:chris-lea/node.js'     exec_cmd "rm -f /etc/apt/sources.list.d/chris-lea-node_js-${DISTRO}.list" fi print_status 'Adding the NodeSource signing key to your keyring...' if [ -x /usr/bin/curl ]; then     exec_cmd 'curl -s https://deb.nodesource.com/gpgkey/nodesource.gpg.key | apt-key add -' else     exec_cmd 'wget -qO- https://deb.nodesource.com/gpgkey/nodesource.gpg.key | apt-key add -' fi print_status "Creating apt sources list file for the NodeSource ${NODENAME} repo..." exec_cmd "echo 'deb https://deb.nodesource.com/${NODEREPO} ${DISTRO} main' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nodesource.list"
exec_cmd "echo 'deb-src https://deb.nodesource.com/${NODEREPO} ${DISTRO} main' >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nodesource.list"

print_status 'Running `apt-get update` for you...'

exec_cmd 'apt-get update'

node_deprecation_warning

print_status "Run \`apt-get install ${NODEPKG}\` (as root) to install ${NODENAME} and npm"

}

## Defer setup until we have the complete script
setup

 
After this NodeJS is installed without needing to update apt as the script has already done this.

Installing Manually

It is possible that perhaps the latest NodeJS isn’t available via apt, or perhaps it’s not available for your distribution/architecture: in the case of my previous post it’s not supported for installation on the Raspberry Pi 1, as described in this Stack Overflow post.

The resolution is fairly straight forward, you can download the binaries direct from the NodeJS website, then unpack them wherever you want on your system.

wget https://nodejs.org/dist/v6.9.1/node-v6.9.1-linux-armv6l.tar.xz
tar -Jxfz ./node-v6.9.1-linux-armv6l.tar.xz
mv node-v6.9.1-linux-armv6l /usr/local/bin/node

In the example above I’ve specifically downloaded the ARMv6 build, which is the version that will work on the Raspberry Pi 1. The version is 6.9.1, this is simply because it’s the latest long-term release – non-LTS should also work fine, however I have no tested that on the Raspberry Pi 1.

Next we need to create a symlink to the NodeJS binary, this way we can refer to it via the terminal by name. For whatever reason I always get the syntax for creating a symlink the wrong way around, so the example below has been triple-checked to ensure it’s the right way around.

ln -s /usr/local/bin/node/node-v6.9.1-linux-armv6l/bin/node /usr/bin/node
ln -s /usr/local/bin/node/node-v6.9.1-liunx-armv6l/bin/npm /usr/bin/npm

Now if you run node –help or npm –help your terminal should display the help sections for NodeJS and NPM respectively. Now you should be able to use NodeJS on your system.

Installing via Node Version Manager

For the best long-term strategy I’d recommend using the Node Version Manager. This was recommended to me via twitter by a friend who’s clearly got more experience with NodeJS, and most technologies I suspect, than I.

Node Version Manager allows you to easily switch between different versions of NodeJS, which is the long-term is incredibly useful for development, however it’s also very useful for production situations. For example, you need to create a production environment with NodeJS, you install that specific version manually and then you’re done. Three months later you’re releasing a major update, which uses a slightly newer version of NodeJS, so you have to get the newer version of NodeJS installed manually again. Using Node Version Manager you can flip to a new version a lot easier.

The steps for setting it up are fairly well documented on the Github repository for Node Version Manager itself, these are the steps I followed and they worked perfectly fine. I did not test these steps on the Raspberry Pi 1, however they should theoretically work, if not tweet me and I’ll have a poke around.

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2 thoughts on “Installing NodeJS on Raspbian

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