Running another Kolibri instance alongside the development server

This guide will walk you through the process of setting up and running another instance of Kolibri alongside your development server using the pex executable.


As Kolibri’s features continue to expand into remote content browsing, it’s often necessary to test and experiment with another Kolibri instance running alongside your development server. One effective approach is to use the pex executable. This workflow is straightforward and can be employed independently of ZeroTier or even internet network access. By following these steps, you can effectively simulate real-world scenarios and enhance your development workflow.


  • Locate the .pex executable:

    • Navigate to the Kolibri GitHub repository.

    • Click on the “Actions” tab at the top of the repository.

    • Select the “Kolibri Build Assets for Pull Request” option from the sidebar.

    • Select a workflow build from the list.

    • Scroll down the workflow build page to find the “Artifacts” section. In this section, you will find the .pex file that you need to download.

  • Save and unzip the .pex file:

    Save the downloaded .pex file to a suitable location on your machine. Unzip the downloaded pex file to a folder where you want to run the additional Kolibri instance from.

  • Run another Kolibri instance:

    First, make sure you are using Python version <= 3.9.

    Then, open your terminal and navigate to the folder where you unzipped the pex file. Use the following command to start another Kolibri instance:

    KOLIBRI_HOME="<foldername>" python <filename>.pex start

    Replace <filename> with the actual filename of the pex executable and replace <foldername> with the desired name for the folder that will store the settings and data for this instance.

    Be sure to choose a meaningful folder name and avoid leaving it blank to ensure it doesn’t overwrite your default .kolibridirectory.

    Note: You don’t need to create the folder beforehand; it will be automatically generated if not already present when you run the command.

  • Complete initial setup:

    In the terminal, you’ll find the URL of the new Kolibri instance. Open the URL in your browser and complete the initial device setup as you would for a regular Kolibri instance. Additionally, import a few resources from desired channels.

  • Run your development server:

    Once the additional Kolibri instance is up and running, start your development server as usual. You should now see the new device on your network.

  • Stop the other Kolibri instance:

    When you’re done testing, you can stop the additional Kolibri instance using the following command:

    python <filename>.pex stop

    This will gracefully shut down the instance.