Installation on Unix/Linux

The following describes three different ways of installing Kallithea:

  • Installation from repository source: The simplest way to keep the installation up-to-date and track any local customizations is to run directly from source in a Kallithea repository clone, preferably inside a virtualenv virtual Python environment.
  • Installing a released version in a virtualenv: If you prefer to only use released versions of Kallithea, the recommended method is to install Kallithea in a virtual Python environment using virtualenv. The advantages of this method over direct installation is that Kallithea and its dependencies are completely contained inside the virtualenv (which also means you can have multiple installations side by side or remove it entirely by just removing the virtualenv directory) and does not require root privileges.
  • Installing a released version without virtualenv: The alternative method of installing a Kallithea release is using standard pip. The package will be installed in the same location as all other Python packages you have ever installed. As a result, removing it is not as straightforward as with a virtualenv, as you’d have to remove its dependencies manually and make sure that they are not needed by other packages.

Installation from repository source

To install Kallithea in a virtualenv using the stable branch of the development repository, follow the instructions below:

hg clone -u stable
cd kallithea
virtualenv ../kallithea-venv
source ../kallithea-venv/bin/activate
pip install --upgrade pip setuptools
pip install -e .
python2 compile_catalog   # for translation of the UI

You can now proceed to Setup.

To upgrade, simply update the repository with hg pull -u and restart the server.

Installing a released version in a virtualenv

It is highly recommended to use a separate virtualenv for installing Kallithea. This way, all libraries required by Kallithea will be installed separately from your main Python installation and other applications and things will be less problematic when upgrading the system or Kallithea. An additional benefit of virtualenv is that it doesn’t require root privileges.

  • Assuming you have installed virtualenv, create a new virtual environment for example, in /srv/kallithea/venv, using the virtualenv command:

    virtualenv /srv/kallithea/venv
  • Activate the virtualenv in your current shell session and make sure the basic requirements are up-to-date by running:

    source /srv/kallithea/venv/bin/activate
    pip install --upgrade pip setuptools


You can’t use UNIX sudo to source the virtualenv script; it will “activate” a shell that terminates immediately. It is also perfectly acceptable (and desirable) to create a virtualenv as a normal user.


Some dependencies are optional. If you need them, install them in the virtualenv too:

pip install psycopg2
pip install python-ldap

This might require installation of development packages using your distribution’s package manager.

  • Make a folder for Kallithea data files, and configuration somewhere on the filesystem. For example:

    mkdir /srv/kallithea
  • Go into the created directory and run this command to install Kallithea:

    pip install kallithea

    Alternatively, download a .tar.gz from, extract it and run:

    pip install .
  • This will install Kallithea together with pylons and all other required python libraries into the activated virtualenv.

You can now proceed to Setup.

Installing a released version without virtualenv

For installation without virtualenv, ‘just’ use:

pip install kallithea

Note that this method requires root privileges and will install packages globally without using the system’s package manager.

To install as a regular user in ~/.local, you can use:

pip install --user kallithea

You can now proceed to Setup.

Upgrading Kallithea from Python Package Index (PyPI)


It is strongly recommended that you always perform a database and configuration backup before doing an upgrade.

These directions will use ‘{version}’ to note that this is the version of Kallithea that these files were used with. If backing up your Kallithea instance from version 0.1 to 0.2, the my.ini file could be backed up to my.ini.0-1.

If using a SQLite database, stop the Kallithea process/daemon/service, and then make a copy of the database file:

service kallithea stop
cp kallithea.db kallithea.db.{version}

Back up your configuration file:

cp my.ini my.ini.{version}

Ensure that you are using the Python virtual environment that you originally installed Kallithea in by running:

pip freeze

This will list all packages installed in the current environment. If Kallithea isn’t listed, activate the correct virtual environment:

source /srv/kallithea/venv/bin/activate

Once you have verified the environment you can upgrade Kallithea with:

pip install --upgrade kallithea

Then run the following command from the installation directory:

paster make-config Kallithea my.ini

This will display any changes made by the new version of Kallithea to your current configuration. It will try to perform an automerge. It is recommended that you recheck the content after the automerge.


Please always make sure your .ini files are up to date. Errors can often be caused by missing parameters added in new versions.

It is also recommended that you rebuild the whoosh index after upgrading since the new whoosh version could introduce some incompatible index changes. Please read the changelog to see if there were any changes to whoosh.

The final step is to upgrade the database. To do this simply run:

paster upgrade-db my.ini

This will upgrade the schema and update some of the defaults in the database, and will always recheck the settings of the application, if there are no new options that need to be set.


The DB schema upgrade library has some limitations and can sometimes fail if you try to upgrade from older major releases. In such a case simply run upgrades sequentially, e.g., upgrading from 0.1.X to 0.3.X should be done like this: 0.1.X. > 0.2.X > 0.3.X You can always specify what version of Kallithea you want to install for example in pip pip install Kallithea==0.2

You may find it helpful to clear out your log file so that new errors are readily apparent:

echo > kallithea.log

Once that is complete, you may now start your upgraded Kallithea Instance:

service kallithea start


paster serve /srv/kallithea/my.ini


If you’re using Celery, make sure you restart all instances of it after upgrade.