Node.js and NPM on CentOS

*Update:* This no longer appears to be necessary as of nodejs 0.8.0. It may have been fixed earlier but I noticed neither of these changes are necessary anymore. Something new though, I had problems with node-gyp, and the solution was to install python26 with yum and then re-run the npm command with PYTHON="/usr/bin/python26" npm install -deps or similar.

The preferred way to install node and NPM seems to be installing from source, but I’m a perennial fan of using packages to keep things tidy, especially if I need to uninstall something. I started by going to the Node.js download page, and through to Installing with a package manager. I installed the yum release RPM for the repository as directed and installed nodejs and npm with yum. From there, I ran into two problems but thankfully they were fairly easy to resolve.

The first thing I wanted to do was install forever globally so I could use it to keep applications running persistently. But running npm install forever -g kept stalling. The npm RPM installed from the repository creates the symlink /usr/lib/node_modules to /usr/lib/nodejs. That’s fine, but /usr/lib/nodejs is owned by root:root. Running a npm install command with sudo attempted to set the ownership of the NPM modules as nobody:user, and NPM wasn’t exiting due to permissions for some reason.

I have ACLs enabled on my file system, so I fixed this by allowing nobody write access to /usr/lib/nodejs:

sudo setfacl -m u:nobody:rwx /usr/lib/nodejs

If you don’t have ACLs enabled on your filesystem, you could allow nobody to be the folder owner:

sudo chown nobody:nobody /usr/lib/nodejs

The second problem I ran into was, after installing forever, it wouldn’t run. The nodejs package installed the binary as /usr/bin/nodejs but /usr/bin/forever begins with #!/usr/bin/env node, which will not return a valid interpreter. I wanted to install a symlink into /usr/local/bin, but some users don’t always have that in their path, so I created a link via:

sudo ln -s /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/bin/node

Now I’m able to install anything I need to with NPM and run my Node.js applications with Forever. I’m still very new to Node, so if you think I should be doing things a better way, please let me know!

This post originally featured on the Echo & Co. blog.