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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 git://
$ 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

By default, kiwix-build will build everything for the current (native) platform using dynamic linkage (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_arm
  • android_arm64
  • android_mips
  • android_mips64
  • android_x86
  • android_x86_64

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

$ kiwix-build --target-platform win32_dyn

Or, android apk for android_arm :

$ kiwix-build --target-platform android_arm kiwix-android

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: