I guess I should be developing Node.js on linux but so far I've been dual booting and I'm thinking about investing in like a Gigabyte Brix and having two monitors side by side (or even a KVM switch). I use Windows for graphics and I like Ubuntu for developing stuff and it's kind of my dream setup to begin with.
Edit: After rolling around in bed and drinking some coffee, I manually inserted the lavender theme in the node_modules folder, removed it from the npm-shrinkwrap.json file (created a npm-shrinkwrap-backup don't worry), and tried npm install again. It seemed to work up until "firstname.lastname@example.org" saying "no repository field" as a warning. I had to ctrl-C because it was literally stuck there. Now I have a bunch of nice modules installed in the node_modules folder but I'm assuming not all of them to be able to get NodeBB up and running.
Tl;Dr: npm is really not liking .tgz I think
Edit 2: I screwed up the entire NodeBB installation by typing node app too early and rushing everything. I'm going to take a break and probably upgrade the Ubuntu partition I have and do everything on there. 😞
Hmm... What's the problem you're having exactly. I've been running nodebb on a windows bitnami mean stack for a long time without any issues whatsoever. Just make sure you pick the latest BITNAMI version (sometimes they hide them in favour of older more stable releases), install git and you're off to the races 🙂
You can get a glimpse of it, when you don't do the ./nodebb setup and instead just go right into start or dev. NodeBB will start into the web installer on port 4567. Of course you would still have to issue that one command, though.
edit: And I presume, that those hosters won't give you access to port 4567 ^_^
The problem in general being: Software written in e.g. php is not a complete program itself. It's merely leveraging an already set up web server. You can upload your files and call the URL, the rest is handled by the server software (Apache or what have you).
But as Scuzz mentioned, a web-installer seems to be in the making. That again lets me guess, that the guys are working towards easy integration the likes of where a hoster can offer their customers a "Click here to install NodeBB" button, which invokes a bunch of scripts setting up your (virtual) server, starting the NodeBB (which actually is not only the forum, but the whole web server* also) and finally redirecting to the web installer. In comparison many uncertain steps, which will have to be clarified between NodeBB and each and every hoster. That's why this will still take some time, I'd say. 😩
*weeell... that's not very acurate either; but this is pretty tl;dr as it is 😉