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.
  • Kallithea can also be installed with plain pip - globally or with --user or similar. 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. We recommend using virtualenv.

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 libffi-dev python3-dev

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

sudo yum install gcc git libffi-devel python3-devel

Installation from repository source

To install Kallithea in a virtualenv using the stable branch of the development repository, use the following commands in your bash shell:

hg clone -u stable
cd kallithea
python3 -m venv venv
. venv/bin/activate
pip install --upgrade pip "setuptools<67"
pip install --upgrade -e .
python3 compile_catalog   # for translation of the UI


This will install all Python dependencies into the virtualenv. Kallithea itself will however only be installed as a pointer to the source location. The source clone must thus be kept in the same location, and it shouldn’t be updated to other revisions unless you want to upgrade. Edits in the source tree will have immediate impact (possibly after a restart of the service).

You can now proceed to Prepare front-end files.

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.

  • Don’t install as root - install as a dedicated user like kallithea. If necessary, create the top directory for the virtualenv (like /srv/kallithea/venv) as root and assign ownership to the user.

    Make a parent folder for the virtualenv (and perhaps also Kallithea configuration and data files) such as /srv/kallithea. Create the directory as root if necessary and grant ownership to the kallithea user.

  • Create a new virtual environment, for example in /srv/kallithea/venv, specifying the right Python binary:

    python3 -m venv /srv/kallithea/venv
  • Activate the virtualenv in your current shell session and make sure the basic requirements are up-to-date by running the following commands in your bash shell:

    . /srv/kallithea/venv/bin/activate
    pip install --upgrade pip "setuptools<67"


You can’t use UNIX sudo to source the activate script; it will “activate” a shell that terminates immediately.

  • Install Kallithea in the activated virtualenv:

    pip install --upgrade kallithea


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

pip install --upgrade kallithea python-ldap python-pam psycopg2

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

Alternatively, download a .tar.gz from, extract it and install from source by running:

pip install --upgrade .
  • This will install Kallithea together with all other required Python libraries into the activated virtualenv.

You can now proceed to Prepare front-end files.

Prepare front-end files

Finally, the front-end files with CSS and JavaScript must be prepared. This depends on having some commands available in the shell search path: npm version 6 or later, and node.js (version 12 or later) available as node. The installation method for these dependencies varies between operating systems and distributions.

Prepare the front-end by running:

kallithea-cli front-end-build

You can now proceed to Setup.