Alternative Felix Install with PyInstaller Bundle

These instructions will take you through a first-time install of Calico’s per-host daemon, Felix, using the packaged PyInstaller bundle. In contrast to the .rpm and .deb installations, the bundle has minimal dependencies on distribution-provided packages. This allows it to be installed on systems where the packaged version of Python would be too old or where some of its Python dependencies are not available.


This install process is most suited to bare-metal-only installations where Felix is to be used to control policy for the host’s interfaces. For OpenStack and containers there are additional daemons that need to be installed, which are not covered here.

However, since the bundle doesn’t take part in the distribution’s package management, the dependencies that it does have must be installed manually.


The bundle has the following pre-requisites:

  • For IPv4 support, Linux kernel v2.6.32 is required. We have tested against v2.6.32-573+. Note: if you intend to run containers, Docker requires kernel >=v3.10. The kernel’s version can be checked with uname -a.
  • For IPv6 support, Linux kernel 3.10+ is required (due to the lack of reverse path filtering for IPv6 in older versions).
  • glibc >=v2.13 (we build against Debian Wheezy)
  • conntrack-tools; in particular, the conntrack command must be available. We test against >=v1.4.1. To check the version, run conntrack --version.
  • iptables; for IPv6 support, the ip6tables command must be available. We test against >=v1.4.7. To check the version, run iptables --version.
  • ipset; we test against >=v6.11. To check the version, run ipset --version.
  • The conntrack, iptables and ipsets kernel modules must be available (or compiled-in).
  • An etcd cluster that supports the etcdv2 protocol. We recommend running the latest stable release of etcd v3.x. To check the version, run etcd --version


If any of the commands above fail when run with the --version flag then you have an old version that doesn’t support reporting its version.

Unpack the bundle

Once you have a system with the prerequisites above, the next step is to unpack the bundle, which is distributed as a .tgz. We recommend installing the bundle to /opt/:

cd <directory containing downloaded bundle>
# Then, as root:
tar -xzf calico-felix.tgz -C /opt/

After unpacking the bundle, you should have a directory /opt/calico-felix, containing a binary /opt/calico-felix/calico-felix.

Create a start-up script

Felix should be started at boot by your init system and the init system must be configured to restart Felix if it stops. Felix relies on that behaviour for certain configuration changes.

If your distribution uses systemd, then you could use the following unit file:

Description=Calico Felix agent

ExecStartPre=/usr/bin/mkdir -p /var/run/calico


Or, for upstart:

description "Felix (Calico agent)"
author "Project Calico Maintainers <>"

start on stopped rc RUNLEVEL=[2345]
stop on runlevel [!2345]

limit nofile 32000 32000

respawn limit 5 10

chdir /var/run

pre-start script
  mkdir -p /var/run/calico
  chown root:root /var/run/calico
end script

exec /opt/calico-felix/calico-felix

Configure Felix

Optionally, you can create a file at /etc/calico/felix.cfg to configure Felix. The configuration file as well as other options for configuring felix (including environment variables) are described in this document.

If etcd is not running on the local machine, it’s essential to configure the EtcdAddr or EtcdEndpoints setting to tell Felix how to reach etcd.

Felix tries to detect whether IPv6 is available on your platform but the detection can fail on older (or more unusual) systems. If Felix exits soon after startup with ipset or iptables errors try setting the Ipv6Support setting to false.

Start Felix

Once you’ve configured Felix, start it up via your init system.

For systemd, with the above unit file installed, you could run:

systemctl start calico-felix

For upstart:

start calico-felix

Running Felix manually

For debugging, it’s sometimes useful to run Felix manually and tell it to emit its logs to screen. You can do that with the following command:

FELIX_LOGSEVERITYSCREEN=INFO /opt/calico-felix/calico-felix