Vagrant, NFS and NPM

I have ranted about Node.JS and NPM on Twitter before, costing me lots of time, so I have to make up for this now and offer some solutions.

One problem I regularly have is the following: I have a Vagrant/Virtualbox using NFS and want to run NPM inside of that. Running it inside the box is necessary, because I don’t want everyone using the box have to setup the node stack.

However running npm install on an NFS share doesn’t work as per issue #3565 because a chmod fails and apparently from the ticket, this is not going to be fixed.

I finally got it working with a workaround script by Kevin Stone that mimics NPM, but moves the package.json to a temporary directory and then rsyncs its back:

# roles/nodejs/files/


DIR_NAME=`echo $PWD | $HASH_CMD | cut -f1 -d " "`

mkdir -p $TMP_DIR

pushd $TMP_DIR

ln -sf $ORIG_DIR/package.json
npm $1

# Can't use archive mode cause of the permissions
rsync --recursive --links --times node_modules $ORIG_DIR


Integrating this into my Ansible setup of the machine it looked like this:

# roles/nodejs/tasks/main.yml
# More tasks here before this...
- name: "Install npm workaround"
  copy: >

- name: "Install Global Dependencies"
  command: >
      /usr/local/bin/tmpnpm install -g {{ item }}
  with_items: global_packages

- name: "Install Package Dependencies"
  command: >
      /usr/local/bin/tmpnpm install
      chdir={{ item }}
  with_items: package_dirs

Where global_packages and package_dirs are specified from the outside when invoking the role:

# deploy.yml
- hosts: all
    - name: nodejs
        - grunt-cli
        - "/var/www/project"

This way the Ansible Node.JS role is reusable in different projects.

More about: Vagrant / Ansible / Javascript