Common code base for all Kiwix ports
C++ Meson Python C
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Kiwix library

The Kiwix library provides the Kiwix software core. It contains the code shared by all Kiwix ports (Windows, Linux, OSX, Android, ...).


This document assumes you have a little knowledge about software compilation. If you experience difficulties with the dependencies or with the Kiwix libary compilation itself, we recommend to have a look to kiwix-build.


Although the Kiwix library can be compiled/cross-compiled on/for many sytems, the following documentation explains how to do it on POSIX ones. It is primarly though for GNU/Linux systems and has been tested on recent releases of Ubuntu and Fedora.


The Kiwix library relies on many third parts software libraries. They are prerequisites to the Kiwix library compilation. Following libraries need to be available:

These dependencies may or may not be packaged by your operating system. They may also be packaged but only in an older version. The compilation script will tell you if one of them is missing or too old. In the worse case, you will have to download and compile bleeding edge version by hand.

If you want to install these dependencies locally, then use the kiwix-lib directory as install prefix.

If you compile ctpp2 from source and want to compile the Kiwix library statically then you will probably need to rename ctpp2 static library from ctpp2-st.a to ctpp2.a.


The Kiwix library builds using Meson version 0.34 or higher. Meson relies itself on Ninja, pkg-config and few other compilation tools.

Install first the few common compilation tools:

  • Automake
  • Libtool
  • Virtualenv
  • Pkg-config

Then install Meson itself:

virtualenv -p python3 ./ # Create virtualenv
source bin/activate      # Activate the virtualenv
pip install meson        # Install Meson
hash -r                  # Refresh bash paths

Finally download and build Ninja locally:

git clone git://
cd ninja
git checkout release
./ --bootstrap
mkdir ../bin                      
cp ninja ../bin
cd ..


Once all dependencies are installed, you can compile kiwix-lib with:

mkdir build
meson . build
cd build

By default, it will compile dynamic linked libraries. If you want statically linked libraries, you can add --default-library=static option to the Meson command.

Depending of you system, ninja may be called ninja-build.


If you want to install the libraries you just have compiled on your system, here we go:

ninja install
cd ..

You might need to run the command as root, depending where you want to install the libraries.


GPLv3 or later, see COPYING for more details.