I’ve drafted a tutorial, with pictures, for installing and completing a basic configuration of CouchDB on Windows, Linux, or FreeBSD. You can see it at http://thelostadmin.tiddlyspot.com/#How%20to%20Setup%20CouchDB%20for%20Note%20Self
If you try it and run into issues, please let me know what those issues are.
Note: @inforytel has some nice instructions specific to Debian here. I’m probably going to borrow some of his work to modify my tutorial for Debian specific steps (with credit to his/her post).