Install Node.js on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

This post provides instructions about how to install Node.js on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. See this post for Node.js resources. (Node.js Offical Github Repo.)

NPM (Node Package Manager) is the default package manager for the JavaScript runtime environment Node.js. NPM hosts thousands of free node packages. In general, NPM is installed on your computer after you install Node.js.

There are several ways to install Node.js on Ubuntu:

  • Method #1 (our choice in this tutorial): Install Node.js with Node Version Manager (NVM) to manage multiple active Node.js versions

Using nvm, we can install multiple, self-contained versions of Node.js, which will allow us to control our environment, and get access to the newest versions of Node.js, but will also allow us to keep previous releases that our applications may depend on. (nvm is just like Virtualenv in Python, if you are familiar with it, which allows us to install multiple version of the same Python library into “virtual folders” by pip.)

This is the method we will cover later in this tutorial.

  • Method #2: Install the bundled Distro-Stable Version Node.js (version 4.2.6) – it is very simple to install, just one or two commands.

Ubuntu 16.04 contains a version of Node.js in its default repositories that can be used to easily provide a consistent experience across multiple systems. At the time of writing, the version in the repositories is version 4.2.6. This will not be the latest version, but it should be quite stable, and should be sufficient for quick experimentation with the language.

This tutorial picked the Node Version Manager (nvm) based method, because it is much more flexible.

See below for the step by step instructions. (Check out the reading list below if you need the install instructions for other methods listed above.)

Step 0: (Before we get started) Remove old Node package to avoid conflicts

Open a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T), and type the following command. 

$ dpkg --get-selections | grep node

# If it says install in the right column, Node is on your system:
#ax25-node                                       install

#node                                            install

Step 1: Install prerequisite packages

We’ll need to get the software packages from our Ubuntu repositories that will allow us to build source packages. The nvm script will leverage these tools to build the necessary components.

First, we need to make sure we have a C++ compiler. Open a terminal window (Ctrl + Alt + T) and install the build-essential and libssl-dev packages. By default, Ubuntu does not come with these tools — but they can be installed by the following commands.

$ sudo apt-get update

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

Step 2: Install nvm

Once the prerequisite packages are installed, we can install and update NVM(Node Version Manager) using cURL. (Note: to get the latest installation version link, on the page scroll down to “Install script”.) 

$ curl -o- | bash

Inspect the installation script with nano:

$ nano

#Note that we DO NOT need to add anything in the opened nano text editor window. We just need to create the .sh file. 
# Use Ctrl+O to save the file, and then hit Enter, and then Ctrl +X to close the file.

Run the script with bash (Note that run the following command in your terminal):

$ bash

It will install the software into a sub-directory under our home directory at ~/.nvm. It will also add some necessary lines to our ~/.profile file in order to use it.

To have access to the nvm functionality, we need to source the ~/.profile file so that our current session knows about the changes:

$ source ~/.profile

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

Step 3: Install  Node.js

The following command will tell us which versions of Node.js are available for us to install:

$ nvm ls-remote
    v6.10.3 (Latest LTS: Boron)

The newest version when I write this post is v7.10.0. We can install it by the following command:

$ nvm install 7.10.0

By default, nvm will switch to use the most recently installed version. We can explicitly tell nvm to use the version we just installed by the following command:

$ nvm use 7.10.0

When we install Node.js using nvm, the executable is called node (NOT nodejs that you may see in other tutorials). We can check the currently used Node and npm version by the following commands:

$ node -v  
# OR 
$ node --version

# Output
# v7.10.0

$ npm -v
# OR 
$ npm --version

# output
# 4.2.0

Step 4: using nvm to manage different versions of installed Node.js 

If you have multiple Node.js versions, you can see what are installed by the following command:

$ nvm ls

To set a default Node.js version to be used in any new shell, use the alias default command

$ nvm alias default 7.10.0

# This version will be automatically selected when a new session spawns. You can also reference it by the alias like this:

$ nvm use default

To learn more  about the options available to use with nvm, run the following command in your terminal:

$ nvm help

Step 5: using npm to install Node.js modules

Each version of Node.js will keep track of its own packages and has npm available to manage these.

We can use npm to install packages to the Node.js project’s ./node_modules directory by using the normal format. For example, for the express module:

$ npm install express

If you’d like to install it globally (i.e., making it available to other projects using the same Node.js version), you can add the -g flag:

$ npm install -g express

This will install the package in:


Note that installing globally will allow us to run the commands from the command line, but we will have to link the package within a project in order to use it in that project:

$ npm link express


References and further reading list:

This tutorial covers two methods:

Method #1: Install the bundled distro specif Node.js version 4.2.6

Method #2: Install the latest version of Node.js version 6.x or 7.x

This post is very good — it covers the following ways to install Node.js:

Installing using the Official Repository
Installing using the Github Source Code Clone
Installing using Node Version Manager (NVM)

It covers How to Install Multiple Nodejs version with NVM and also covers how to remove Node.js 

This tutorial covers:

  • How To Install the Distro-Stable Version for Ubuntu
  • How To Install Using a PPA
  • How To Install Using NVM

there are a quite a few ways to get up and running with Node.js on your Ubuntu 16.04 server. Your circumstances will dictate which of the above methods is the best idea for your circumstance. While the packaged version in Ubuntu’s repository is the easiest, the nvm method is definitely much more flexible.

This is a pretty good tutorial. It covers 4 Ways to Install Node.js on Ubuntu. There are several ways to do this, but The author of this post recommended  Option 1: Node Version Manager (nvm). Here is the full list of options:



Save figure as a pdf file in Python

This post introduces how to save a figure as a pdf file in Python using Matplotlib.

When using savefig, the file format can be specified by the extension:


The first line of code above will give a rasterized  output and the second will give a vectorized output.

In addition, you’ll find that pylab leaves a generous, often undesirable, whitespace around the image. You can remove it with:

savefig('foo.png', bbox_inches='tight')

You can also use  figure to set dpi of the figure:

import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

fig  = plt.figure(figsize=(1,4),facecolor = 'red', dpi=100)
plt.savefig('test.png', dpi=100)



Install Ubuntu 16.04 on Oracle VirtualBox that runs on Windows or Mac

This post provides some notes and useful resources about installing Ubuntu 16.04 on Oracle VirtualBox that runs on your Mac or Windows.

Note: check the RAM and hard disk size of your machine before creating a virtual machine on it.

Notes about which version of Ubuntu to download and install:

For Ubuntu, it is not always a wise choice to pick the newest version. My suggestion is that (unless you are aware that you need to install a particular version), download and install the latest LTS (Long Term Support) version (see the picture below from Ubuntu wiki page). Every two years, a Ubuntu LTS version is released, which will be supported for updates for five years. For example, as of now, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is the latest LTS version.

The two main things you need to pay attention to when you create a virtual machine:

  • Memory allocation for your virtual machine.

You can set it as half of your RAM (e.g., if your RAM is 8 G, set it as 4 G or 5G for your virtual machine should be fine.)

  • Storage type:  Select “Dynamically allocated” if you are not sure how large storage you actually will need.

There are already several very good tutorials about this along with snapshots, so I won’t create a tutorial for this. See below for some useful resources I collected. (See some notes I wrote below for some posts.)

My notes: This one is very good (with snapshots), including  Guest additions and Shared folders settings. (Note that Guest additions are required if you want to set Shared folder, so be sure to install Guest additions first).

You can use the following command to check whether Guest additions were installed on your Ubuntu virtual machine if you are not sure because you installed your Ubuntu VM a while ago. (Note: even though you may find Guest additions was installed, you will still need to install Guest additions for your newly installed VM, otherwise the Shared folders wont work for you.)

Use lsmod from the command line, as it will tell you not only if it’s installed, but properly loaded:

$ lsmod | grep vboxguest
vboxguest             282624  6 vboxsf

I have tested Shared folders instructions (with pictures) in this tutorial on my Ubuntu 16.04 VM, and it works. The only difference is that on Ubuntu 16.04 VM, after you issued the following command on your terminal and  restart the Ubuntu guest machine, you do not need to do anything as the tutorial said, the shared folder is automatically mounted each time you start you Ubuntu VM. (After you restart, click the Files icon on the task bar, and you will see the shared folder you just set just now is automatically mounted there:))

  • sudo adduser brb vboxsf   # Replace 'brb' with your account name on Ubuntu. 

One more note: Although Shared Folder setting in VM is very convenient, using VirtualBox shared folder directly for fastq data, annotation or output directory can significantly reduce the performance compared to a native (Ubuntu) system or VirtualBox native system, so my recommendation is only use the folder to transfer files between windows/mac and your Ubuntu VM.

P.S. If you see some tutorials tell you that you need to enter some command like “sudo mount -t vboxsf sharing /mnt/share” to automatically mount the shared folder each time you start your Ubuntu VM, that is outdated instructions.

Fortunately, new VirtualBox version (4.x +) has a (GUI) Auto-mount option (see pics below) when you set your shared folder. (Note that you can choose your customized folder to share, instead of using a system predefined folder such as Documents or Downloads.)

If you want to share the clipboard between your host and your virtual machine, check out the picture below.


Answers to some frequently asked questions:

Q: Do I need to backup my files when I upgrade my VirtualBox to newer version.

A: just install the latest version and you will have all your files in the new one. You need not have to uninstall the old virtual machine.

Q: After I install the updates of Windows 10, my VirtualBox won’t start…

A: just install the latest version and you will have all your files in the new one. You need not have to uninstall the old virtual machine.


My notes:  this one is very good (with snapshots) on Mac. My notes above about VM settings running on Windows work the same for VM settings running on Mac.


How to install a graphics card

This post introduces how to install a graphics card and related resources.

Notes: When installing or removing a graphics card, handle it only by its edges, not by its connectors or components.

Before starting with graphics card installation, check out the following two things.

Step 1: make sure your computer has the proper hardware to support your new card.

The most common problem that people run into is an inadequate power supply:

  • Either it can’t supply enough wattage,
  • or it doesn’t have enough available PCI-E power connectors.

As a rule of thumb, your power supply should be rated from double the power consumption of your graphics card. For example if you purchased a R9 290X—a video card that draws 300 watts—you should have a power supply that can provide at least 600 watts of power and has both 8-pin and 6-pin PCI-E power connectors.

To find out how much wattage your power supply pumps out, open your case and look for the standard identification sticker all power supplies have, which lists their basic info. While you’re there you can also identify how many 6-pin and 8-pin PCI-E connectors are available.

Picking the right power supply is even more important if you’re upgrading to a multi-card configuration, because you’ll likely need to buy a power supply rated for one or more kilowatts. For more on multi-GPU SLI and CrossFireX setups, check out PCWorld’s guide to tricking out your PC with multiple graphics cards.

Step 2: is there enough room inside of your case to fit your new graphics card? 

Some high-end graphics card can be over a foot long, and two or even three expansion slots wide. You can find the physical dimensions for a graphics on its product page or on the manufacturer’s website.

With all of those questions resolved, it’s time to install the new card.

Installing a graphics card

Installing a graphics card requires three things:

  • a new graphics card,
  • your computer, and
  • a Phillips-head screw driver.

Notes: Be sure to turn off your PC and unplug it from the wall before you begin.

Start by removing the side of your computer’s case, then locate and remove your current graphics card. Some PCs will not have a graphics card installed. Instead, you need to locate the PCI-E x16 slot closest to the heat sink of your processor. This will either be the first or second expansion slot on your motherboard.

You install a graphics card into a PCI-E x16 slot on your computer’s motherboard (the long, blue slots in this picture given below.)

gpu install 1 of 7(By )

Make sure that there are no loose wires blocking your access to this slot. If you’re replacing an existing graphics card, unplug any cables connected to it, remove the screw from its retention bracket, and then remove the card. Most motherboards also have a small plastic latch on the end of the PCI-E slot that locks the graphics card in place. Make sure you toggle this latch to unlock your old graphics card so you can remove it.

You can now install your new graphics card into the open and unobstructed PCI-E x16 slot. Firmly insert the card into the slot, then push down the plastic lock on the end of the PCI-E slot to hold it in place. Next, use a screw to secure the graphic card’s metal retention bracket to your PC’s case. You can reuse the same screw(s) that held the cover bracket or your former graphics card in place.

Notes: Don’t forget to lock the latch at the end of the PCI-E slot after firmly inserting your graphics card! (This is very important, because your expensive graphics card needs this to secure its positioning. You should hear a “ta” sound when the latch is locked. It should be very firm and steadily locked, if you feel it is loose, that indicates the latch is not locked properly.)

Most gaming-level graphics cards require additional power connectors. If yours does, make sure you connect those PCI-E power cables. Your graphics card will not function correctly without properly supplied power. In fact, if you don’t connect those PCI-E power cables your PC may be unable to boot.


Wrapping up

With your graphics card secured and powered up, finish the job by sliding your case’s side panel back into position and plugging your display cable into your new graphics card. Turn on your computer.

Now it’s time to take care of the software side of upgrading your graphics card.

If your new graphics card is the same brand as your old card, this process is simple. Just go to the manufacturer’s website and download the latest driver package for you operating system. Keep in mind that graphics drivers are quite large, generally about 300MB in size, and it may take some time to download depending on the speed of your Internet connection. Install the driver, restart your computer.

If you’re switching manufacturers (from Intel to AMD, from AMD to Nvidia, or vice-versa), uninstall your old graphics driver and restart your computer before installing the driver for your new graphics card. If you don’t uninstall the old driver it may conflict with the new driver.



  • If you intend to use more than one monitor with your video cards, be aware that while SLI is enabled, only one monitor is supported. A workaround for this involves installing additional hardware.
  • With Nvidia’s SLI, at least for the time being, you must connect two video cards with the same chipset. Example, 1 bfg 7600 gt and 1 evga 7600 gt can be connected.


  • Make sure to ground yourself before handling hardware as ESD (electrostatic discharge) can fry your components. Static electricity remains a threat to all computer components. It is recommended that you wear clothing that does not produce static charges, that you keep in near constant contact with the computer’s chassis, and that you avoid touching the metallic traces of circuit boards inside or out of the computer.
  • Always unplug your system before installing any hardware

Apache Solr schema explained

Elasticsearch and Apache Solr are open source search engines, and they are the most widely used search servers. This page provides some explanations about Apache Solr schema. (See this post for Solr related resources.)

Let is first look at what (XML) schema means. (XML schema, a way to define the structure, content, and to some extent, the semantics of XML documents)

(Elasticsearch index configuration is done with HTTP / JSON commands. No files required. You define types, mappings, analysis with simple commands.)

Solr index configuration is done through 2 files: schema.xml and solrconfig.xml.

  • schema.xml— it defines the schema of the documents that are indexed/ingested into Solr (i.e. the set of fields that they contain). A news article may contain title, body, tags, article date etc.  It also defines the datatype of those fields. It configures the document structure (a document is made of fields with field types), and how field types are processed during indexing and querying.
  • solrconfig.xml — it contains the request handlers and other config options. It configures the “handlers”. Handlers are urls , executing plugins (java code) with their default configuration.


See below for some good explanations about Solr basic concepts, including Solr schema.

This section discusses how Solr organizes its data into documents and fields, as well as how to work with a schema in Solr.

This section includes the following topics:

Overview of Documents, Fields, and Schema Design: An introduction to the concepts covered in this section.

Solr Field Types: Detailed information about field types in Solr, including the field types in the default Solr schema.

Defining Fields: Describes how to define fields in Solr.

Copying Fields: Describes how to populate fields with data copied from another field.

Dynamic Fields: Information about using dynamic fields in order to catch and index fields that do not exactly conform to other field definitions in your schema.

Schema API: Use curl commands to read various parts of a schema or create new fields and copyField rules.

Other Schema Elements: Describes other important elements in the Solr schema.

Putting the Pieces Together: A higher-level view of the Solr schema and how its elements work together.

DocValues: Describes how to create a docValues index for faster lookups.

Schemaless Mode: Automatically add previously unknown schema fields using value-based field type guessing.

Check out his Unofficial Solr Guide for more useful tutorials and resources (e.g., Solr 6.5 Features)



Change port for Apache Solr from the default port 8983 on Ubuntu 16.04

This post introduces how to change the default port on which Apache Solr runs on Ubuntu 16.04.  (See my post if you have not installed Solr on your Ubuntu.)

The default port for Solr is 8983, but there are circumstances where you may want to change this. For example, if you wish to experiment with a new release, or you want your various Sitecore development instances to hit separate instances of Solr.  See below for two options for changing the port number on Ubuntu.

Step 1: use sudo service solr status to check your Solr status and the port it is running on.

yourusername@yourservername:~$ sudo service solr status
[sudo] password for yourusername: 
● solr.service - LSB: Controls Apache Solr as a Service
 Loaded: loaded (/etc/init.d/solr; bad; vendor preset: enabled)
 Active: active (exited) since Sun 2017-04-30 11:08:43 EDT; 1 weeks 0 days ago
 Docs: man:systemd-sysv-generator(8)

Apr 30 11:08:34 yourservername systemd[1]: Starting LSB: Controls Apache Solr as a Service...
Apr 30 11:08:34 yourservername su[2655]: Successful su for solr by root
Apr 30 11:08:34 yourservername su[2655]: + ??? root:solr
Apr 30 11:08:34 yourservername su[2655]: pam_unix(su:session): session opened for user solr by (uid=0)
Apr 30 11:08:42 yourservername solr[2652]: [194B blob data]
Apr 30 11:08:42 yourservername solr[2652]: Started Solr server on port 8983 (pid=2861). Happy searching!
Apr 30 11:08:43 yourservername solr[2652]: [14B blob data]
Apr 30 11:08:43 yourservername systemd[1]: Started LSB: Controls Apache Solr as a Service.

Step 2: use sudo service solr stop to  stop your Solr first before we go ahead and change  its default port.

yourusername@yourservername:/opt/solr-6.5.1/bin$ sudo service solr stop
yourusername@yourservername:/opt/solr-6.5.1/bin$ sudo service solr status
● solr.service - LSB: Controls Apache Solr as a Service
   Loaded: loaded (/etc/init.d/solr; bad; vendor preset: enabled)
   Active: inactive (dead) since Sun 2017-05-07 15:40:57 EDT; 17s ago
     Docs: man:systemd-sysv-generator(8)
  Process: 15132 ExecStop=/etc/init.d/solr stop (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)

Apr 30 11:08:42 yourservername solr[2652]: Started Solr server on port 8983 (pid=2861). Happy searching!
Apr 30 11:08:43 yourservername solr[2652]: [14B blob data]
Apr 30 11:08:43 yourservername systemd[1]: Started LSB: Controls Apache Solr as a Service.
May 07 15:40:55 yourservername systemd[1]: Stopping LSB: Controls Apache Solr as a Service...
May 07 15:40:55 yourservername su[15135]: Successful su for solr by root
May 07 15:40:55 yourservername su[15135]: + ??? root:solr
May 07 15:40:55 yourservername su[15135]: pam_unix(su:session): session opened for user solr by (uid=0)
May 07 15:40:55 yourservername solr[15132]: Sending stop command to Solr running on port 8983 ... waiting up to 180 seconds to allow
May 07 15:40:57 yourservername solr[15132]: [56B blob data]
May 07 15:40:57 yourservername systemd[1]: Stopped LSB: Controls Apache Solr as a Service.

Step 3: Change config files

Check out all the following files for the port:

  • cd to /opt/solr-6.5.1/server/solr/
#the file path: /opt/solr-6.5.1/server/solr/solr.xml
yourusernmae:/opt/solr-6.5.1/server/solr$ sudo nano solr.xml
#change port here:  ${jetty.port:8983}
  • cd to /var/
# the file path: /var/solr/data/solr.xml
yourusernmae:/var$ sudo nano /solr/data/solr.xml
# change port here:  ${jetty.port:8983}
  • cd to /etc/default/
# the file path: /etc/default/
yourusernmae:/etc/default$ sudo nano
# change port here:  SOLR_PORT=8983

Once you save and close the file you can return to your terminal and type this command to reload the file 

yourusernmae:/etc/default$ source

Step 4: Start your solr service again using  sudo service solr start, you will see your solr is now running on the new port your changed just now in the step 3 above.

yourusername@yourservername:/etc/default$ sudo service solr start
yourusername@yourservername:/etc/default$ sudo service solr status
● solr.service - LSB: Controls Apache Solr as a Service
 Loaded: loaded (/etc/init.d/solr; bad; vendor preset: enabled)
 Active: active (exited) since Sun 2017-05-07 16:11:32 EDT; 3s ago
 Docs: man:systemd-sysv-generator(8)
 Process: 16988 ExecStop=/etc/init.d/solr stop (code=exited, status=1/FAILURE)
 Process: 17121 ExecStart=/etc/init.d/solr start (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)

May 07 16:11:29 yourservername systemd[1]: Starting LSB: Controls Apache Solr as a Service...
May 07 16:11:29 yourservername su[17125]: Successful su for solr by root
May 07 16:11:29 yourservername su[17125]: + ??? root:solr
May 07 16:11:29 yourservername su[17125]: pam_unix(su:session): session opened for user solr by (uid=0)
May 07 16:11:32 yourservername solr[17121]: [98B blob data]
May 07 16:11:32 yourservername solr[17121]: Started Solr server on port 8985 (pid=17327). Happy searching!
May 07 16:11:32 yourservername solr[17121]: [14B blob data]
May 07 16:11:32 yourservername systemd[1]: Started LSB: Controls Apache Solr as a Service.

Now you can reference Step 5: Creating a Solr search collection in my another post to create a Solr search collection for this port.