I'd like to use the distribution Node.js packages (or the chris-lea ppa for more recent releases) but install NPM to my home directory.
This may seem picky, but it's a pretty idiomatic way for polyglot/github-using developers to setup language runtime/library environments under Linux: distro packages for the runtime, 3rd-party libraries in per-user environment (see virtualenv, RVM - RVM will also build Ruby for you if you want). If necessary I will build node locally but it's a PITA since Node is becoming an incidental development requirement for lots of projects.
NPM will install local packages into your projects already, but I still like to keep the system away from my operating system's files. Here's how I suggest compartmentalizing Nodejs packages:
Install Nodejs and NPM via the chris-lea PPA. Then I set up a package root in my homedir to hold the Node "global" packages:
$ NPM_PACKAGES="$HOME/.npm-packages" $ mkdir -p "$NPM_PACKAGES"
Set NPM to use this directory for its global package installs:
$ echo "prefix = $NPM_PACKAGES" >> ~/.npmrc
Configure your PATH and MANPATH to see commands in your $NPM_PACKAGES prefix by adding the following to your .zshrc/.bashrc:
# NPM packages in homedir NPM_PACKAGES="$HOME/.npm-packages" # Tell our environment about user-installed node tools PATH="$NPM_PACKAGES/bin:$PATH" # Unset manpath so we can inherit from /etc/manpath via the `manpath` command unset MANPATH # delete if you already modified MANPATH elsewhere in your configuration MANPATH="$NPM_PACKAGES/share/man:$(manpath)" # Tell Node about these packages NODE_PATH="$NPM_PACKAGES/lib/node_modules:$NODE_PATH"
Now when you do an
npm install -g, NPM will install the libraries into
~/.npm-packages/lib/node_modules, and link executable tools into
~/.npm-packages/bin, which is in your
npm install -g as you would normally:
[justjake@marathon:~] $ npm install -g coffee-script ... (npm downloads stuff) ... /home/justjake/.npm-packages/bin/coffee -> /home/justjake/.npm-packages/lib/node_modules/coffee-script/bin/coffee /home/justjake/.npm-packages/bin/cake -> /home/justjake/.npm-packages/lib/node_modules/coffee-script/bin/cake email@example.com /home/justjake/.npm-packages/lib/node_modules/coffee-script [justjake@marathon:~] $ which coffee /home/justjake/.npm-packages/bin/coffee