In attempting to install and use node today, I ran into an interesting conflict with Ubuntu/Debian.

Finding the Problem

  leland@teraHome:
  ~/projects/lelandbatey.com $ lessc lfb.less
  leland@teraHome:
  ~/projects/lelandbatey.com $

Nothing brought a response, nothing at all. Not lessc --help, not lessc -v, not anything. I was perplexed, since I’ve never had a program be totally unresponsive to anything at all.

  leland@teraHome:
  ~/projects/lelandbatey.com $ file /usr/sbin/node
  /usr/sbin/node: symbolic link to `ax25-node'

What Exactly is the Problem?

The problem is that many node programs (including lessc) assume that the node interpreter can be accessed via the command node. However, on my system (and maybe many others) it turns out that the system command node is linked to another program, ax25-node.

Fixing the Problem

Since ax25-node is a package that’s for use with HAM Radio, I feel it’s safe to change that link from ax25-node to nodejs. I do that with the following command:

leland@teraHome:
~ $ sudo mv node oldnode && sudo ln /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/bin/node

With that done, node and lessc now work properly.