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.

Regardless of the installation method you may need to make sure you have appropriate development packages installed, as installation of some of the Kallithea dependencies requires a working C compiler and libffi library headers. Depending on your configuration, you may also need to install Git and development packages for the database of your choice.

For Debian and Ubuntu, the following command will ensure that a reasonable set of dependencies is installed:

sudo apt-get install build-essential git python-pip python-virtualenv libffi-dev python-dev

For Fedora and RHEL-derivatives, the following command will ensure that a reasonable set of dependencies is installed:

sudo yum install gcc git python-pip python-virtualenv libffi-devel python-devel

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
. ../kallithea-venv/bin/activate
pip install --upgrade pip setuptools
pip install --upgrade -e .
python2 compile_catalog   # for translation of the UI

You can now proceed to Setup.

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:

    . /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 --upgrade psycopg2
pip install --upgrade 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 --upgrade kallithea

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

    pip install --upgrade .
  • This will install Kallithea together with 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.