Kolibri Upgrade Fails

I am trying to upgrade Kolibri 0.9.2 (2017 version) on our one-year-old RACHEL-Plus 3.0 and it keeps failing. This is the error message I keep getting:

en-kolibri failed

command: rsync -Pavz --del rsync://dev.worldpossible.org/rachelmods/en-kolibri …/modules/
runtime: 1:00 failed
files_done: 0 out of 27121 ( 0% )
data_done: 0 out of 81583476 ( 0% )
data_rate: 0
latest output:

rsync: link_stat “/en-kolibri” (in rachelmods) failed: No such file or directory (2)
rsync error: some files/attrs were not transferred (see previous errors) (code 23) at main.c(1655) [Receiver=3.1.1]

Hi Gary,

Please go to admin->Install tab. Search and select the “zz-kolibri-upgrade” module, then click the download button. The update will take ~3-5 minutes. You will get a stalled message (expected). Once the install has completed, zz-kolibri-upgrade will become listed as one of the installed modules. After the install, it is recommended that you reboot the device. At that point you may login to the kolibri module and note rev 0.14.6


Steve, under Add Modules I found zz-delete-kolibri-user-data-and-upgrade. I selected it and clicked Download. Under Currently Adding it showed the module beginning to download but after a few seconds I get the same Failed message I get when I try to download the en-kolibri–77.8 GB module.

Hi @gary.friesen,

You should see another package under the install tab called “zz-kolibri-upgrade” which is the upgrade package Steve is referring to.


I do not see the “zz-kolibri-upgrade” module:

Hi @gary.friesen

This sounds like it may be an internet connection issue but I will need a bit of information to be sure first.

  • What version is your Content Shell? This will be listed in the Version tab

  • Can you download any other modules or is this only affecting the Kolibri related modules?

  • When you scroll down on the install tab, do you see zz-kolibri-upgrade already installed? if so, try deleting it and then installing again.


Hi @jamesk,
I have been using the RACHEL Pi image of Kolibri from 2020 with your 90 second shutdown delay fix, and It has been working flawlessly on several installations at schools in Ethiopia and Uganda.
I am preparing a new installation and ran the “zz-kolibri-upgrade” from the admin>install menu. The Pi’s shutdown delay has increased to over 35 seconds - it’s not as bad as the original 90 seconds, but it is straining our supercaps reserve power capacity. I am wondering if your shutdown fix will resolve this problem.

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Hi @Techncat - Great to hear that the update was working so well in your deployments. Kolibri have integrated both delay fixes into their latest versions so we shouldn’t be seeing that issue again.

Unfortunately the zz-kolibri-upgrade package is for the RACHEL-Plus only. Currently there is no support for upgrading the Raspberry Pi RACHEL devices through the install tab. I was hoping that a check would be placed in that zz-upgrade-kolibri module with a message to say it was not supported on this system, but it sounds like that was left out.

The RACHEL-Plus devices use a 32bit i686 architecture while the RACHEL-Pi is ARM. If you have installed this package, it has likely replaced the proper files on your system. It’s also possible this package is installing the old initialization file. There are some changes coming soon and I am hoping to release new RACHEL-Pi images around the same time and they will include the latest Kolibri.

If you’re in a rush to get Kolibri update please let me know. I can look at making a separate installer for you.


Hi @jamesk
I guess I clobbered the existing shutdown files. Unfortunately I updated Kolibri on the 256gb SD image that also contains Wikipedia and Wiktionary - which takes days to install.

We are shipping two 256gb Pi severs to an orphanage in Uganda in a couple of weeks. Would a new Kolibri installer preserve the existing Kolibri data?

Many thanks for all your good work…


Hi @Techncat,

I highly suggest you start from a fresh image. That zz-kolibri-upgrade may have installed files that are not meant for the Pi architecture or overwritten some of those fixes that are implemented on the pi.

You can back up data from within a working Kolibri facility by putting in a USB stick and then exporting it. On the new device/Kolibri facility you should then be able to re-import that.

The very large data you have, Wikipedia and Wiktionary, are you restoring these using WinSCP? This shouldn’t take days to install over a local network. It should take about 20-30 minutes depending on the speed of the MicroSD. If you are re-downloading these files, I suggest you back them up to a PC and then use this tutorial as a guide in transferring them back over to a freshly installed RACHEL-Pi on your 256GB card. That tutorial also contains a few tricks to increase the speed of a transfer greatly.

Since you’re so close to deployment, a very important one it sounds like, I really suggest you start with a fresh image, try to export/reimport your Kolibri data/channels, back up your large modules to a PC, and then transfer them over again with WinSCP.

The upgrade process of Kolibri itself is somewhat risky, I always recommend a straight upgrade to a new image for these kinds of things, but there won’t be a new image available for a few weeks. It is well known that if an update isn’t done properly it can cause a database corruption on some devices. What my updated installer would do is remove the existing installation and do a clean install of the latest Kolibri, but it’s still somewhat risky and untested. I don’t suggest doing this yet.

Please let me know if any of this works for you, if you need help with that process, or have any other questions. I’m very happy to hear your pis are working well with the supercaps now and going to such a great deployment. Great work!


Hi @jamesk,

I appreciate the useful tips. I have been downloading materials directly online with the Pi’s Ethernet - still very slow… I will use your methods to back up and restore on a new image. Yes, I am somewhat limited in the time I have left before deployment
Many thanks!

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Hi @jamesk,

Thanks for your advice about creating the 256Gb SDs for our recent deployment using the 2020 kolibri image. I am looking forward to your new Kolibri RACHEL Pi image, and hopeful that the Kolibri shutdown delay issue will be resolved.

By adding in Wikipedia, Wiktionary, and the Uganda school-specific Kolibri channels I easily exceeded the 256gb SD’s capacity, and had to remove some Khan Academy materials to make room. I have been looking at the recent Raspbian firmware upgrades that allow the Pi 4 to boot from SSD’s via USB 3.0.

Prices for 256 & 500Gb M.2 SSDs, including a USB 3.0 adapter, now seem to be cost-competitive with equivalent sized SD cards and also have the 4-5x speed advantage, albeit the need for a beefier 3.5 - 5A power supply. Will you be using the latest Raspberry Pi OS for the new RACHEL image?

Hi @Techncat,

You’re very welcome. I hope the deployment is going well.

I have seen some information about the use of SSDs for booting but at the time of making the last RACHEL-Pi image it required too many steps and specific hardware to be stable for a release. I believe @SHOMI uses them in some of his deployments without issue though.

The speed advantage is definitely worth using SSD and I agree the prices are getting very close. Unfortunately we can only choose between MicroSD or USB for RACHEL content but I hope to change this in the future to expand the available capacity by using multiple devices in the future.

I will be working from the latest Raspberry Pi OS as well as the latest Kolibri available. The delayed shutdown will be gone. I will double check that the fixes are there to be sure. The RACHEL-Pi image release will coincide with some other changes that are still being worked on so it will take a bit more time for a release, but I do think it will be worth the wait :slight_smile:

Hi @jamesk, I have noticed that the Kolibri shutdown timeout has increased to over 35 seconds on all the latest 256gb versions of the SD card that I am deploying to Uganda. Could it be related to the large number of Kolibri channels which take up a majority of the space on the card?

I am wondering if there is a way to check if the shutdown delay fix you sent me last year is still working. I am using the original version of Kolibri that was on the 2020 RACHEL image.


Hi @Techncat,

Can you please send me the /etc/init.d/kolibri file that is on one of these devices? this will help me confirm the main fix. It is possible more channels causes a longer shutdown, but it shouldn’t be over 35 seconds.

Can you also please run “sudo kolibri --version” and let me know which version you’re currently on?

I will look at a Kolibri update process for you and see if that can be done on easily to see if it helps.

The Kolibri version is: 0.13.2b1.dev0+git.24.g26bf9977
the /etc/init.d/kolibri file is pretty long - I will try to paste it here soon.

@Techncat - I’ve made a new image without any new features, but it will be 14.7 Kolibri. I’m uploading it now and will link it when it’s done. Hopefully this will fix the issues.


Will try it out ASAP. Many thanks!

Hi @Techncat - Here’s a link to the new image RACHEL-Pi_beta-06_07_2021.zip .

Kolibri is at 14.7 in this image. Please let me know if this fixes the 35 second issue with all of the same content loaded in so we can be sure of the cause. If it’s still slow to shut down I can help look at why it’s slow, but this should contain both fixes that were implemented by the Kolibri team since the last image.

This image isn’t properly tested but it should be okay. If it works for you just do some testing with some devices connected over wifi before deploying. This image won’t be released officially so the next official version will be a bit different.

Hope that works!


Have you tried this new image on a Pi 4?

I would like to use it as my build system because of its faster USB ports. I have a lot of data to add not only to the master, but also to three SD cards before shipping out the servers next week.