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Virtual Environments for Node


If you want a global nave command, you could install this thing with npm. But that's not really necessary. You can run the shell script from here, or symlink it wherever you want.


Usage: nave <cmd>


install <version>    Install the version passed (ex: 0.1.103)
use <version>        Enter a subshell where <version> is being used
use <ver> <program>  Enter a subshell, and run "<program>", then exit
use <name> <ver>     Create a named env, using the specified version.
                     If the name already exists, but the version differs,
                     then it will update the link.
usemain <version>    Install in /usr/local/bin (ie, use as your main nodejs)
clean <version>      Delete the source code for <version>
uninstall <version>  Delete the install for <version>
ls                   List versions currently installed
ls-remote            List remote node versions
ls-all               List remote and local node versions
latest               Show the most recent dist version
help                 Output help information

<version> can be the string "latest" to get the latest distribution.
<version> can be the string "stable" to get the latest stable version.

That's about it. Enjoy.

When you're done using a specific version of node, just exit the shell to return to where you were before using nave.

env vars

  • $NAVE The current shell. Either a version, or a name and version.
  • $NAVENAME The name of the current shell. Equal to $NAVEVERSION in unnammed environments.
  • $NAVEVERSION The version of node that the current shell is pointing to. (This should comply with node -v.)
  • $NAVELVL The level of nesting in the subshell.
  • $NAVE_DEBUG Set to 1 to run nave in bash -x style.
  • $NAVE_DIR Set to the location where you'd like nave to do its business. Defaults to ~/.nave.


If nave doesn't seem to update the version of node that you're using, make sure you're not explicitly setting the PATH environ in your .bashrc or .bash_profile files. Nave works by setting the PATH, so you should change any line like this:

export PATH=/blah/blah:/foo/foo

to something like this instead:

export PATH=$PATH:/blah/blah:/foo/foo


Prior to version 0.2, nave would run programs as node <program>. However, this is somewhat more limiting, so was dropped. If you prefer the old style, just prefix your command with node.

Nave requires bash. It will probably never work on Windows, or other systems lack a native Bourne Again Shell. Sorry.


nave borrows concepts, inspiration, and code from Tim Caswell's "nvm" and Kris Kowal's "sea" programs.

Sea is really nice, but is very tied to Narwhal. Also, it's a require.paths manager, which nave is not.

Nvm is also really nice, but has to be sourced rather than being run, and thus is a little bit wonky for some use cases. But it doesn't involve subshells, which makes it better for some others.