Joining Forces With NodeSource

If you’re reading this blog, then there’s a good chance that you make use of my PPA for Node.js. I started making Node packages several years ago because I wanted there to be a consistent way for people to install up-to-date versions of Node on their machines. Not too long ago, Dan Shaw reached out to me to ask if there was anything he could do to help with the PPAs and give back to the effort. I had been looking for a way to ensure that what I’m doing satisfies the needs of Node developers, and also to make sure the project continues to receive the support it needs. We talked about how best to make this happen and decided to move things over to NodeSource from Launchpad. Here’s why.


Many people seem to think I am a super hardcore Node programmer because I make these packages. This is not true. In fact I’d rate my Javascript skills as pretty weak (Python is my favorite at the moment, and Go looks to be great). As I noted, I started making these packages because I wanted people to install Node in a consistent way, because that would make administering those systems easier.

That said, one of the biggest reasons I’m going to make packages under the NodeSource banner going forward is that I will have a team of the best Node professionals in the world checking my work, and making sure that the Node my packages install does in fact work the way Node developers expect it to. Basically, I will have world class quality control, which I am currently definitely lacking.

Better Distribution Coverage

By not relying on Launchpad, we will be able to easily support Debian as well as Ubuntu. We currently have builds for all Debian and Ubuntu releases currently supported.

  • Sid (i386, amd64, armhf)
  • Jessie (i386, amd64, armhf)
  • Wheezy (i386, amd64, armhf)
  • Lucid (i386, amd64)
  • Precise (i386, amd64, armhf)
  • Saucy (i386, amd64, armhf)
  • Trusty (i386, amd64, armhf)

We also plan to support RPM based distributions Soon™.

Removing Single Point of Failure (Me)

Rather bluntly, if I get hit by a bus, the good folks at NodeSource will have the ability to put resources into maintaining this packaging work so that the community isn’t left out to dry.

Pre-Emptive FAQ

Q: Are these packages going to be different than the ones currently on Launchpad?
A: No. They’ll be signed with a different signing key, but the build sources are unchanged in any way that matters. Everything will keep working just as it always has.

Q: Can I use the new packages now?
A: Yup! There’s even a convenient installer script:

curl -sL | sudo bash -

This will remove the Launchpad repository entry if it exists. If you want the development version of node, do this:

curl -sL | sudo bash -

These scripts will set up the requested NodeSource repository on your machine, and will run apt-get update for you. To actually install Node, run the familiar:

sudo apt-get -y install nodejs

and you should be all set.

Q: Will you still publish packages to Launchpad?
A: I will continue to make packages on Launchpad for the 0.10.x releases, in addition to making them on the new NodeSource repository. When 0.12.x comes out, I will only publish packages into the NodeSource repositories.

In Closing

That should be about it. I think that with this set up, we’ll be able to support more users, and do so with a higher degree of confidence about the quality of the bits we’re pushing out. If there are questions, please let me know in the comments.


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