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Kiwix library

The Kiwix library provides the Kiwix software suite core. It contains the code shared by all Kiwix ports (Windows, GNU/Linux, macOS, Android, iOS, ...).

Download AUR version Build Status CodeFactor Codecov License: GPL v3


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 (cross-)compiled on/for many sytems, the following documentation explains how to do it on POSIX ones. It is primarly thought 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:

  • ICU (package libicu-dev on Ubuntu)
  • ZIM (package libzim-dev on Ubuntu)
  • Pugixml (package libpugixml-dev on Ubuntu)
  • Mustache (Just copy the header mustache.hpp somewhere it can be found by the compiler and/or set CPPFLAGS with correct -I option). Use Mustache version 3 only.

The following dependency needs to be available at runtime:

  • Aria2 (package aria2 on Ubuntu)

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.


The Kiwix library builds using Meson version 0.43 or higher. Meson relies itself on Ninja, pkg-config and few other compilation tools.

Install first the few common compilation tools:

These tools should be packaged if you use a cutting edge operating system. If not, have a look to the Troubleshooting section.


Once all dependencies are installed, you can compile the Kiwix library with:

meson . build
ninja -C build

By default, it will compile dynamic linked libraries. All binary files will be created in the "build" directory created automatically by Meson. 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.


To run the automated tests:

cd build
meson test


If you want to install the Kiwix library and the headers you just have compiled on your system, here we go:

ninja -C build install

You might need to run the command as root (or using sudo), depending where you want to install the libraries. After the installation succeeded, you may need to run ldconfig (as root).


If you want to uninstall the Kiwix library:

ninja -C build uninstall

Like for the installation, you might need to run the command as root (or using sudo).


If you need to install Meson "manually":

virtualenv -p python3 ./ # Create virtualenv
source bin/activate      # Activate the virtualenv
pip3 install meson       # Install Meson
hash -r                  # Refresh bash paths

If you need to install Ninja "manually":

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

If the compilation still fails, you might need to get a more recent version of a dependency than the one packaged by your Linux distribution. Try then with a source tarball distributed by the problematic upstream project or even directly from the source code repository.


GPLv3 or later, see COPYING for more details.


Common code base for all Kiwix ports



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