Node.js on Tomato with an ASUS RT-AC68U


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The way to install Node.js on my Asus router with tomato was a bit tricky. I do not know yet if I did the best way but anyway it is working well. Then here is how I did to get Node.js running on my RT-AC68U with Tomato.


  • An USB key (2Go is enough)
  • Optware
  • Debian chroot environment

USB Key configuration

Please note that everything on your key will be erased during these operations.

Router and usb stick configuration
  • Log into your router
  • Plug your USB key
  • In the web interface go to "USB & NAS" and then "USB Support" and activate the following options:
    • [X] Core USB Support
    • [X] USB 2.0 Support
    • [X] USB 1.1 Support
    • [X] USB Storage Support
    • [X] File Systems Support ext2/ext3
    • If the USB key is mounted unount it
  • Go to "Administration" and then "Scripts"
  • In the "Init" tab add this line:
echo "LABEL=optware /opt ext3 defaults 1 1" >> /etc/fstab  

This line tells Tomato to mount the partition optware to /opt with the filesystem ext3.

Now we need to connect to our router by ssh and format the USB key.

ssh root@ip_of_my_router  
fdisk -l  

Find your own USB key, mine is /dev/sda1 for this instance

Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks  Id System  
/dev/sda1               1      129706     1945589+ 83 Linux

Now delete all the partitions and create one single partition with 83 (Linux) as the type. When is done format the new partition. Replace sda1 by your partition.

mkfs.ext3 -L optware /dev/sda1  
Peform the Optware installation
mount /opt  
cd /usr/sbin  

Reboot your router and verify the optware installation with the command ipkg.

Debian Wheezy 7.7 installation

There is a very good tutorial to install Debian for the Merlin build but this works well for Tomato as well. You can find the original topic at this address: how-to-install-debian-wheezy-arm.
Here is the short way to install and run a chrooted Debian.
Connect to your router with again ssh and run the following commands:

ipkg install nano findutils  
cd /opt  
wget -c -O debian-wheezy7.7-clean-arm.tgz  
tar -xvzf ./debian-wheezy7.7-clean-arm.tgz  
wget -c -O /opt/bin/debian  
chmod 755 /opt/bin/debian  
wget -c -O /opt/etc/init.d/S99debian  
chmod 755 /opt/etc/init.d/S99debian  

If your disk label is not /dev/sda1 edit the init script S99debian

nano /opt/etc/init.d/S99debian  

Remplace sda1 by your own partition for the CHROOT_DIR and EXT_DIR.

Enter to the chrooted Debian and update it.

apt-get update  
apt-get upgrade  

You are now ready to install every package from Debian.
To quit your chrooted Debian just run exit and to enter debian

Perfom the Node.js installation

There is different way to install Node.js on a Debian but I think the simpler is from apt-get. If you prefere and have enough time you can compile it from the sources.
here is the steps to get it from apt-get.

Configure apt to use backports
nano /etc/apt/sources.list  

And add this line:
deb wheezy-backports main contrib non-free

Update apt and install the nodejs package + npm:

apt-get update  
aptitude -t wheezy-backports install nodejs  
update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/node nodejs /usr/bin/nodejs 100  
aptitude install wget  
rm -f  

Finally you can test your node and npm with these commands:

node -v  
npm -v