some time ago I have installed node.js on my Ubuntu system. with the following steps (dump of my history):
309 git clone git://github.com/joyent/node.git
310 cd node/
313 ls -l
315 sudo make install
Do the exact same thing again. The new binary will be copied over the old one.
git clonecreates a copy of git repository node's source code is in
cd node/changes directory to the one you just created with those files
./configurechecks for dependencies and creates a makefile
makeexecutes that makefile, which results in compiling the source code into binary executable(s), libraries and any other outputs
ls -llists the files in the current directory
nodebinary executable you just compiled from source, to ensure the compilation was successful
sudo make installcopies the files you just created from the current directory to their permanent homes, /usr/local/bin and such
The last step overwrites whatever's already there with what you just built.