Today I installed a very basic Gutsy box just to try out some stuff. The first thing was to try out the new CouchDB features, including their new build system. I used the instructions by Ciaran Gultnieks with a few small changes. Worked excellent.
sudo apt-get install libicu36 libicu36-dev libreadline5-dev
sudo apt-get install subversion-tools xsltproc automake libtool
sudo apt-get install erlang
svn co http://couchdb.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/ couchdb
sudo make install
As you noticed, the differences are that I needed to install Erlang and Debian/Ubuntu sticks it in /usr/lib/erlang rather than /usr/local/lib/erlang. I also used the latest trunk, not a fixed revision. After building, you start it with: