node.js – Cannot install packages using node package manager in Ubuntu

The Question :

510 people think this question is useful

NodeJS interpreter name(node) on Ubuntu has been renamed to nodejs because of a name conflict with another package. Here’s what the readme. Debian says:

The upstream name for the Node.js interpreter command is “node”. In Debian the interpreter command has been changed to “nodejs”.

This was done to prevent a namespace collision: other commands use the same name in their upstream, such as ax25-node from the “node” package.

Scripts calling Node.js as a shell command must be changed to instead use the “nodejs” command.

However, using nodejs mucks up installing packages using npm. Package installation fails with the following error:

sh: 1: node: not found
npm WARN This failure might be due to the use of legacy binary "node"
npm WARN For further explanations, please read /usr/share/doc/nodejs/README.Debian

How do I make npm understand that nodejs is already installed on the system but the interpreter name is different?

The Question Comments :
  • You can try to ln -s nodejs node in /usr/bin. It’s kind of hack though.
  • @vbo you can add that as an answer – it solve the problem!
  • @HimelNagRana I have another (better, accepted) answer. My initial comment was also transformed to answer (
  • Use NVM to install and manage Node.js versions,, it’s easy and convenient !
  • I highly recommend this solution: to get control of the node and npm versions at any time and for any usage.

The Answer 1

1096 people think this answer is useful


sudo apt-get install nodejs-legacy

First of all let me clarify the situation a bit. In summer 2012 Debian maintainers decided to rename Node.js executable to prevent some kind of namespace collision with another package. It was very hard decision for Debian Technical Committee, because it breaks backward compatibility.

The following is a quote from Committee resolution draft, published in Debian mailing list:

  1. The nodejs package shall be changed to provide /usr/bin/nodejs, not /usr/bin/node. The package should declare a Breaks: relationship with any packages in Debian that reference /usr/bin/node.

  2. The nodejs source package shall also provide a nodejs-legacy binary package at Priority: extra that contains /usr/bin/node as a symlink to /usr/bin/nodejs. No package in the archive may depend on or recommend the nodejs-legacy package, which is provided solely for upstream
    compatibility. This package declares shall also declare a Conflicts: relationship with the node package.


Paragraph 2 is the actual solution for OP’s issue. OP should try to install this package instead of doing symlink by hand. Here is a link to this package in Debian package index website.

It can be installed using sudo apt-get install nodejs-legacy.

I have not found any information about adopting the whole thing by NPM developers, but I think npm package will be fixed on some point and nodejs-legacy become really legacy.

The Answer 2

113 people think this answer is useful

Try linking node to nodejs. First find out where nodejs is

whereis nodejs

Then soft link node to nodejs

ln -s [the path of nodejs] /usr/bin/node 

I am assuming /usr/bin is in your execution path. Then you can test by typing node or npm into your command line, and everything should work now.

The Answer 3

44 people think this answer is useful

You can also install Nodejs using NVM or Nodejs Version Manager There are a lot of benefits to using a version manager. One of them being you don’t have to worry about this issue.


sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install build-essential libssl-dev

Once the prerequisite packages are installed, you can pull down the nvm installation script from the project’s GitHub page. The version number may be different, but in general, you can download and install it with the following syntax:

curl | sh

This will download the script and run it. It will install the software into a subdirectory of your home directory at ~/.nvm. It will also add the necessary lines to your ~/.profile file to use the file.

To gain access to the nvm functionality, you’ll need to log out and log back in again, or you can source the ~/.profile file so that your current session knows about the changes:

source ~/.profile

Now that you have nvm installed, you can install isolated Node.js versions.

To find out the versions of Node.js that are available for installation, you can type:

nvm ls-remote
. . .


As you can see, the newest version at the time of this writing is v0.11.14. You can install that by typing:

nvm install 0.11.14

Usually, nvm will switch to use the most recently installed version. You can explicitly tell nvm to use the version we just downloaded by typing:

nvm use 0.11.14

When you install Node.js using nvm, the executable is called node. You can see the version currently being used by the shell by typing:

node -v

The comeplete tutorial can be found here

The Answer 4

20 people think this answer is useful
  1. Install nvm first using:

    curl | bash
  2. Run command

    source ~/.profile
  3. Now run this and this will show will all installed or other versions of packages:

    nvm ls-remote
  4. Installed packages will be in green. Install whatever version you want:

    nvm install 6.0.0
  5. Check where is not installed:

    which node
  6. Check current version:

    node -v
    n=$(which node);
    chmod -R 755 $n/bin/*; 
    sudo cp -r $n/{bin,lib,share} /usr/local

The Answer 5

14 people think this answer is useful
sudo apt-get --purge remove node
sudo apt-get --purge remove nodejs-legacy
sudo apt-get --purge remove nodejs

sudo apt-get install nodejs-legacy
source ~/.profile

Combined the accepted answer with source ~/.profile from the comment that has been folded and some clean up commands before. Most likely you will also need to sudo apt-get install npm after.

The Answer 6

12 people think this answer is useful

for me problem was solved by,

sudo apt-get remove node
sudo apt-get remove nodejs
curl -sL | sudo -E bash -
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/bin/node
alias node=nodejs
rm -r /usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/localstack/node_modules
npm install -g npm@latest || sudo npm install -g npm@latest

The Answer 7

10 people think this answer is useful

Here’s another approach I use since I like n for easy switching between node versions.

On a new Ubuntu system, first install the ‘system’ node:

curl -sL | sudo bash -

Then install n module globally:

npm install -g n

Since the system node was installed first (above), the alternatives system can be used to cleanly point to the node provided by n. First make sure the alternatives system has nothing for node:

update-alternatives --remove-all node

Then add the node provided by n:

update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/node node /usr/local/bin/node 1

Next add node provided by the system (the one that was installed with curl):

update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/node node /usr/bin/nodejs 2

Now select the node provided by n using the interactive menu (select /usr/local/bin/node from the menu presented by the following command):

update-alternatives --config node

Finally, since /usr/local/bin usually has a higher precedence in PATH than /usr/bin, the following alias must be created (enter in your .bashrc or .zshrc) if the alternatives system node is to be effective; otherwise the node installed with n in /usr/local/bin takes always precedence:

alias node='/usr/bin/node'

Now you can easily switch between node versions with n <desired node version number>.

The Answer 8

9 people think this answer is useful

On Linux Mint 17, I tried both solutions (creating a symlink or using the nodejs-legacy package) without success.

The only thing that finally worked for me was using the ppa from Chris Lea:

sudo apt-get purge node-*
sudo apt-get autoremove 
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:chris-lea/node.js
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nodejs

This installed node version 10.37 and npm 1.4.28. After that, I could install packages globally.

The Answer 9

9 people think this answer is useful

As other folks already mention, I will suggest not to use “sudo apt-get” to install node or any development library. You can download required version from and setup you own environment.

I will recommend tools like nvm and n, to manage you node version. It is very convenient to switch and work with these modules.

Or write basic bash to download zip/tar, extract move folder and create a soft link. Whenever you need to update, just point the old soft link to new downloaded version. Like I have created for my own, you can refer:

#Go to home
cd ~
#run command
#New Script
bash -v lts
#here -v or --version can be sepecific to 0.10.37 or it could be latest/lts 
bash -v lts
bash -v latest
bash -v 4.4.2

The Answer 10

7 people think this answer is useful

Simple solution from here

curl -sL | sudo -E bash --
sudo apt-get install nodejs

You can specify version by changing setup_x.x value, for example to setup_5.x

The Answer 11

5 people think this answer is useful

Your System is not able to detect the path node js binary.

1.which node

2.Then soft link node to nodejs

ln -s [the path of nodejs] /usr/bin/node 

I am assuming /usr/bin is in your execution path. Then you can test by typing node or npm into your command line, and everything should work now.

The Answer 12

4 people think this answer is useful

Uninstall whatever node version you have

sudo apt-get --purge remove node
sudo apt-get --purge remove nodejs-legacy
sudo apt-get --purge remove nodejs

install nvm (Node Version Manager)

wget -qO- | bash

Now you can install whatever version of node you want and switch between the versions.

The Answer 13

2 people think this answer is useful

I fixed it unlinking /usr/sbin/node (which is linked to ax25-node package), then I have create a link to nodejs using this on command line

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

Because package such as karma doesn’t work with nodejs name, however changing the first line of karma script from node to nodejs, but I prefer resolve this issue once and for all

The Answer 14

1 people think this answer is useful

For me the fix was removing the node* packages and also the npm packages.

Then a fresh install as:

sudo apt-get install autoclean
sudo apt-get install nodejs-legacy
npm install

The Answer 15

1 people think this answer is useful

Problem is not in installer
replace nodejs with node or change the path from /usr/bin/nodejs to /usr/bin/node

The Answer 16

1 people think this answer is useful

This is the your node is not properly install, first you need to uninstall the node then install again. To install the node this may help you

after that you can install the packages easily. To install the packages this may help you

The Answer 17

0 people think this answer is useful

you can create a link ln -s nodejs node in /usr/bin hope this solves your problem.

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