“invalid ELF header” running a NodeJS script on Raspberry Pi


You see something like the following when trying to run your NodeJS script:

Error: [...]/node_modules/epoll/build/Release/epoll.node: invalid ELF header

Possible cause #1:

You’re using a Raspberry Pi (in my case 2 B) with Raspbian with the built-in Node v0.10.29 which is missing a UTF8 patch. See my other post HERE for the solution if you have the following error (you’ll just need to upgrade to v0.12.x or newer):

../node_modules/nan/nan.h:328:47: error: 'REPLACE_INVALID_UTF8' is not a member of 'v8::String'
static const unsigned kReplaceInvalidUtf8 = v8::String::REPLACE_INVALID_UTF8;

Possible cause #2:

You copied your node_modules directory over from your computer to the Raspberry Pi. npm needs to compile some node modules specially for the Raspberry Pi, so simply copying over the modules won’t always work.

Solution for cause #2:

Install your node modules on the Pi itself via npm, not just copy the node_modules directory over. This is because things need to be compiled slightly differently when running on the Pi. In my case epoll is a submodule of the repo “onoff”, so in my case I’d do the following on the Raspberry Pi where I want it installed:

npm install onoff

Note: If you don’t have npm installed on your Raspberry Pi yet, do the following:

sudo apt-get install nodejs npm

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