Compiling the V8 JavaScript runtime under 64-bit Ubuntu

File under “I’m writing this for the benefit of my future self, and may not work on your machine.” I recently upgraded my home machine to a 64-bit edition of Ubuntu 10.04 and had do to more than the usual dance to get Google’s blazing fast V8 JavaScript interpreter to compile. Here’s what I did.

First up, install the usual build tools you’d need to compile V8:

sudo aptitude install build-essential subversion scons

Then, as detailed on the Chromium bug tracker, install a bunch of support libraries:

sudo aptitude install ia32-libs lib32z1-dev lib32bz2-dev

You will also find that the build complains about the absence of something called lstdc++ unless you do the following (replace 6.0.13 with whatever the version installed on your machine is):

sudo ln -s /usr/lib32/ /usr/lib32/

Finally, you can check out V8:

cd /usr/src
sudo svn checkout v8
cd v8

You’ll then need to stop the build being quite so whiny by editing v8/SConstruct as follows. Find the part of the file that looks roughly like this:

  'gcc': {
    'all': {
      'WARNINGFLAGS': ['-Wall',

and comment out the '-Werror' line by placing a # at the beginning of it. Now, you should be ready to build:

sudo scons sample=shell
sudo ln -s /usr/src/v8/shell /usr/bin/v8

You should now be able to use V8 to run any JavaScript file you like. Failing that, just go and install Node, it’s much easier.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, you might enjoy my recently published book JavaScript Testing Recipes. It’s full of simple techniques for writing modular, maintainable JavaScript apps in the browser and on the server.