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Building from Source on Debian-based systems

Note the future build process for CouchDB 2.0+ is radically different, skip to the 2.0+ section below and remember YMMV.

While it's possible to build all the dependencies from source also, you'll be up and running a lot faster if you use the recommended ones below, as they are what most developers use and test CouchDB with. If these instructions don't work for you, please let us know the details via comment below, on the user@ mailing list, or a JIRA ticket if there's a demonstrable bug. Each version and release of Debian may require tweaks and changes, so we rely on your feedback!

Debian < 7.0


  • Cloudant kindly provides a robust build of Mozilla Spidermonkey for Debian < 7.0, in more recent releases, you can use the Debian distributed version without issue. It should be 1.8.5, no more & no less.
  • Erlang Solutions kindly provide a very solid and trusted Erlang/OTP package; the versions shipped in most Debian releases are not suitable for various reasons - you have been warned!

Add Cloudant and Erlang Solutions repositories:

Debian >= 7.0


  • The current Debian 7.x series has a compatible SpiderMonkey version. Note that it should be 1.8.5, no more & no less.
  • The Erlang dependencies vary, you are best to check directly the CouchDB Release Notes to see what the CouchDB project recommends. If what's available in Debian is not appropriate, then  use the
    Erlang Solutions one, who very kindly provide a very solid and trusted Erlang/OTP package.

Add Erlang Solutions repository:

All Debian versions: 


From this point on, instructions are again merged.

Install Erlang/OTP and C compilers:

 Dependencies for libmozjs / spidermonkey and friends

Set up a couchdb daemon account

Install CouchDB up to 1.6.x



Start CouchDB

Install CouchDB 2.0+


These are brief notes, please refer to the developer mailing list if you get stuck. In particular note that Erlang 17.1 is recommended. 17.3 has problems dealing with some SSL certificates, best avoided for the moment.

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