Installing coala Natively


If you have a working docker and you do not want to work with python, go to the bottom on the docker setup.

This page will run you through the installation of coala without docker. coala currently supports Linux, Windows and OS X.

Installing Python and Pip

In order to use coala, you need Python installed. In order to do so, you should install Python >= 3.4 from here.

The easiest way to install coala is using pip (Pip Installs Packages). If you don’t already have pip, you can install it like described in the pip installation guide.


Pip is shipped with recent Python versions by default.

To check whether you have pip installed, type the following command which will also show you more information about your current pip version:

$ pip show pip

Make sure you have pip >= 8 installed as older versions might prevent coala from being installed properly.

Installing coala

There are three ways of installing coala. By using a virtualenv, by installing it system-wide or directly from source.

After successfully installing coala, you will need to install all the dependencies the bears have.


If Java is installed after coala, you will need to restart your shell.

System Wide Installation

The simplest way to install coala is to do it system-wide, but this is generally discouraged in favor of using a virtualenv.

To install the latest most stable version of coala and supported bears system-wide, use:

$ pip3 install coala-bears


For this and all future steps, some steps require root access (also known as administrative privileges in Windows).

Unix based (OS X, Linux) - This can be achieved by using sudo in front of the command, as in: sudo command_name instead of command_name

Windows - The easiest way on Windows is to start a command prompt as an administrator and start

To install the nightly build from our master branch, you can do:

$ pip3 install coala-bears --pre

To install coala only (without any bears), you can do:

$ pip3 install coala


Ubuntu Users - Do not use apt-get install coala for installing coala as that is different software.

Installing inside a pipenv

Pipenv is a user-friendly method of managing virtual environments and packages. You can look at it as a mix of pip and virtualenv, so you don’t have to manage them seperately for your projects.

We’ll now install pipenv by running the following command:

$ pip3 install pipenv

Now we create a Python 3 environment for the project. Move to your project directory and run the following command:

$ pipenv --three

The above command will create a virtual environment isolated from your system global installation.

To install coala and all bears, run the following command:

$ pipenv install coala-bears

Great, you have now setup a pipenv environment for your project directory and installed coala using it. You can now activate the pipenv by running:

$ pipenv shell

Your virtual environment (virtualenv) is now active. You’ll notice the change before the $ sign on the command-line which will have your project directory name and some alpha-numeric value to make it unique. You can use coala by running the coala command and exit the virtualenv environment by entering exit at any time.

You can read more about pipenv in its documentation.

Installing inside a virtualenv

Although pipenv sorts all your package and virtual environment needs, if you still feel the need to use virtualenv separately you can follow the steps given below.

You can read more about it at the virtualenv documentation.

First, we need to install virtualenv to the system. You may already have this installed as virtualenv or pyvenv. If you do not, this can be done with pip3 easily:

$ pip3 install virtualenv

Once you have virtualenv installed, just fire up a shell and create your own environment. I usually create a project folder and a venv folder:

$ virtualenv venv


If you have both Python 3 and Python 2 installed, use virtualenv venv -p $(which python3). This creates an isolated Python 3 environment named venv in your current directory, as coala only works for Python 3.4 and above.

Now, whenever you want to work on the project, you only have to activate the corresponding environment.

On Unix based systems (OS X and Linux), this can be done with:

$ source venv/bin/activate

And on Windows this is done with:

$ venv\scripts\activate

Finally, you should install coala and the supported bears inside the activated virtualenv with:

(venv)$ pip3 install coala-bears

Using coala With Docker

Use this installation method if you just simply want to use coala.

The recommended way to use coala is using docker: coala has a lot of dependencies because it has so much code analysis for so many languages. If you use our docker image, you can run it like any other tool but you do not need to care about those! The general command to run coala is:

$ docker run -ti -v $(pwd):/app --workdir=/app coala/base coala --version


This will automatically download the docker image with all the coala dependencies for you. The image may take up a bit over 2GB of space on your disk. Check out the native installation if this is not for you.


If you use Windows, you can install docker easily using Docker Toolbox.

Bleeding edge installation

If you would like to develop coala, you should check out our Newcomer Tutorial and get in touch with us.

$ pip3 install coala-bears --pre

Also check out the Developers Setup docs.

Alternate location installation

If you want to install coala to an alternate location, you can e.g. call python3 install --prefix=/your/prefix/location. Other installation options are documented in the Python docs.


If you are using a proxy, follow these steps:

  • Set up your system-wide proxy.
  • Use sudo -E pip3 install coala (the -E flag takes the existing environment variables into the sudo environment).

You could also set your pip.conf file to use a proxy. To find out more, read Using pip behind a proxy on StackOverflow for further clarification.

Optional Dependencies

Those dependencies are not mandatory. You may install all of the dependencies if you want to install all the bears. The bear application also asks for the packages needed in case it does not have it.

The requirements files ( Gemfile, requirements.txt, etc.) are in the coala-bears repository and you should not get them from source, but you should git clone the repository if you want to execute those commands.

This section lists dependencies of coala that are not automatically installed. On Windows, you can get many with nuget ( On Mac, Homebrew will help you installing dependencies ( These dependencies require you to have the repository cloned locally.

JS Dependencies

coala features a lot of bears that use linters written in JavaScript. In order for them to be usable, you need to install them via npm (, while in the project directory:

$ npm install -g

If a bear still doesn’t work for you, please make sure that you have a recent version of npm installed. Many linux distributions ship a very old one.

Ruby Dependencies

There are also a few bears which rely on Ruby Gems. In order to install them, you will need Gem ( installed and bundler.

To grab bundler, use:

$ gem install bundler

Then, simply run:

$ bundle install
$ git add Gemfile Gemfile.lock

Binary Dependencies

Some bears need some binary dependencies. Some of those include:

  • PHPLintBear: Install php
  • GNUIndentBear: Install indent (be sure to use GNU Indent, Mac ships a non-GNU version that lacks some functionality.)
  • CSharpLintBear: Install mono-mcs

For further help with installing bears with binary dependencies, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.


coala features some bears that make use of Clang. In order for them to work, you need to install libclang:

  • Ubuntu: apt-get install libclang1
  • Fedora: dnf install clang-libs (Use yum instead of dnf on Fedora 21 or lower.)
  • ArchLinux: pacman -Sy clang
  • Windows: nuget install ClangSharp
  • OS X: brew install llvm --with-clang

If these do not help you, search for a package that contains

On Windows, you need to execute this command to add the libclang path to the PATH variable permanently (you need to be an administrator):

setx PATH "%PATH%;%cd%\ClangSharp.XXX\content\x86" \M

For x86 python or for x64 python:

setx PATH "%PATH%;%cd%\ClangSharp.XXX\content\x64" \M

Replace “XXX” with the ClangSharp version you received from nuget.

Shell-Autocompletion Support

If you are a bash/zsh user , checkout the guide to set up autocompletion for coala arguments and bear names.

Installation Errors

In case you are getting ValueError:('Expected version spec in', 'appdirs ~=1.4.0', 'at', ' ~=1.4.0'), then don’t panic. It happens when you are using an outdated version of pip that doesn’t support our version specifiers yet.

Ideally, you have to create a virtual environment with a newer pip:

$ pip3 install virtualenv
$ virtualenv -p python3 ~/venv/coala
$ . ~/venv/coala/bin/activate
$ pip install -U pip
$ pip install coala-bears

You have to activate this virtualenv on every terminal session you want to use coala though (tip: add it to bashrc!).

Generating Documentation

coala documentation is in a separate repository. First you need to install the requirements:

$ pip3 install -r requirements.txt

To generate the documentation coala uses sphinx. Documentation can be generated by running the following command while in root directory of the repository:

$ make html

You can then open _build\html\index.html in your favourite browser.

See Writing Documentation for more information.