Skip to content
Branch: master
Find file Copy path
Find file Copy path
Fetching contributors…
Cannot retrieve contributors at this time
162 lines (120 sloc) 4.85 KB

Build status: Build Status

Kiwix is an offline reader for web content. It's especially thought to make Wikipedia available offline. This is done by reading the content of the project stored in a file format ZIM, a high compressed open format with additional meta-data.

This repository contains advanced tools to (cross-)compile easily Kiwix softwares and library and deploy them. They have been tested on Fedora 23 and Ubuntu 16.10.


You will need a recent version of meson (0.34) and ninja (1.6) If your distribution provides a recent enough versions for them, just install them with your package manager. Continue to read the instructions otherwise.

Before anything else you need to install Python3 related tools. On Debian based systems:

$ sudo apt-get install python3-pip virtualenv

Create a virtual environment to install python module in it instead of modifying the system.

$ virtualenv -p python3 ./ # Create virtualenv
$ source bin/activate      # Activate the virtualenv

Then, download and install kiwix-build and its dependencies:

$ git clone
$ cd kiwix-build
$ pip install .
$ hash -r                  # Refresh bash paths

If your distribution doesn't provide ninja version > 1.6 you can get it this way :

$ wget
$ unzip ninja -d $HOME/bin


The compilation is handled by the kiwix-build command. It will compile everything. If you are using a supported platform (Redhat or Debian based) it will install missing packages using sudo. You can get kiwix-build usage like this:

$ kiwix-build --help


You may want to compile a specific target so you will have to specify it on the command line :

$ kiwix-build kiwix-lib # will build kiwix-build and its dependencies
$ kiwix-build zim-tools # will build zim-tools and its dependencies

By default, kiwix-build will build kiwix-tools .

Target platform

If no target platform is specified, a default one will be infered from the specified target :

  • kiwix-android will be build using the platform android
  • Other targets will be build using the platform native_dyn

But you can select another target platform using the option --target-platform. For now, there is ten different supported platforms :

  • native_dyn
  • native_static
  • win32_dyn
  • win32_static
  • android
  • android_arm
  • android_arm64
  • android_x86
  • android_x86_64

So, if you want to compile kiwix-tools for win32 using static linkage:

$ kiwix-build --target-platform win32_dyn


Android apk (kiwix-android) is a bit a special case. kiwix-android itself is architecture independent (it is written in java) but it use kiwix-lib who is architecture dependent.

When building kiwix-lib, you should directly use the target-platform android_<arch>:

$ kiwix-build kiwix-lib --target-platform android_arm

But, kiwix-android apk can also be multi arch (ie, it includes kiwix-lib for several architectures). To do so, you must ask to build kiwix-android using the android platform:

$ kiwix-build --target-platform android kiwix-android
$ kiwix-build kiwix-android # because `android` platform is the default for `kiwix-android`

By default, when using platform android, kiwix-lib will be build for all architectures. This can be changed by using the option --android-arch :

$ kiwix-build kiwix-android # apk for all architectures
$ kiwix-build kiwix-android --android-arch arm # apk for arm architecture
$ kiwix-build kiwix-anrdoid --android-arch arm --android-arch arm64 # apk for arm and arm64 architectures


When building for ios, we may want to compile a "fat library", a library for several architectures.

To do so, you should directly use the target-platfrom ios_multi. As for android, kiwix-build will build the library several times (once for each platform) and then create the fat library.

$ kiwix-build --target-platform iOS_multi kiwix-lib

You can specify the supported architectures with the option --ios-arch:

$ kiwix-build --target-platform iOS_multi kiwix-lib # all architetures
$ kiwix-build --target-platform iOS_multi --ios-arch arm --ios-arch arm64 # arm and arm64 arch only

Outputs will create several directories:

  • ARCHIVES: All the downloaded archives go there.
  • SOURCES: All the sources (extracted from archives and patched) go there.
  • BUILD_<target_platform>: All the build files go there.
  • BUILD_<target_platform>/INSTALL: The installed files go there.
  • BUILD_<target_platform>/LOGS: The logs files of the build.

If you want to install all those directories elsewhere, you can pass the --working-dir option to kiwix-build:

You can’t perform that action at this time.