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[ARCHIVED] Legacy Kiwix desktop solution for Windows/macOS/Linux
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Latest commit 38f4a10 Jun 22, 2019
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android Catch null pointer #467 Feb 27, 2017
desktop WARN dangerous: removed old autotools scripts. Jul 6, 2012
dvd + new version able to deal on Windows with path with accents May 23, 2014
etc WARN dangerous: removed old autotools scripts. Jul 6, 2012
installer Fix an URL Apr 27, 2015
ios KiwixTestApp Jul 31, 2014
kiwix Fix the kiwix-xulrunner license (GPL3, or any later version) Jan 15, 2018
src Fix min() call Feb 5, 2017
static give some margin (ahah) for the margin to be eaten up Mar 2, 2015
.gitignore Re-add locales.txt for Android Studio users #257 Jul 3, 2016
CHANGELOG update CHANGELOG for kiwix-desktop release Oct 31, 2016
COPYING + small move of info files Nov 28, 2009 Updated markdown for Oct 25, 2017 Add two override fonts to cover the Gujarati and Oriya/Odia scripts. Jun 13, 2014 updated sugar UI to match OLPC XO Mar 2, 2012 Removed all remaining warnings from AppStore May 20, 2014


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.


Take care, the paragraphs are about the target platforms. If you want to build Kiwix for Android on a GNU/Linux system, you should follow the instructions of the "Android" paragraph.


Install pre-requisties in your distro, eg, in Debian based:

sudo apt-get install zip pkg-config aptitude
sudo apt-get install libmagic-dev
sudo aptitude install libtool automake

Static (Probably what you need to do if you don't know)

Kiwix uses shared libraries only. A static build of Kiwix is a build which packages the dependencies. Command line tools (indexer, server, etc) are compiled statically.

Run automake


Run autoconf

./configure --enable-compileall --enable-staticbins --disable-android;

Download all dependencies

cd src/dependencies;
cd ../..;

Reconfigure with dependencies (Gecko version)

./configure --enable-compileall --enable-staticbins --disable-android;



Creates tarbal suitable for distribution (no deps)

make diststatic
  • If you want to be able to run directly from your dev repository copy the "xulrunner" directory in the distributation tarball to the "kiwix" sub-directory of your developement tree.

  • Don't try to install with "make install", if you want to have kiwix install on your system just copy the directory in a /usr/local/bin directory.


GNU/Linux build uses shared libraries by default. You will need the following dependencies (also -dev packages) to compile Kiwix for Linux (this list can vary a little bit depending of the GNU/Linux distribution):

  • g++
  • gcc
  • autoconf
  • automake
  • libtool
  • pkg-config
  • liblzma
  • libicu
  • libmicrohttpd
  • zlib
  • libcrypto++
  • cmake
  • wget
  • aria2
  • libuuid
  • libssl
  • libzim
  • libpugixml
  • libctpp2
  • xulrunner

Debian is the only distribution providing natively all these packages. Ubuntu provides most of them, excluding xulrunner and zimlib. You will have to download and install them separatly or run configure --with-static-dep=SELF. Then run the following commands:

Run automake


Configure the compilation check --help for options. Most dependencies accept --with-dep=XX and with-static-dep=XX.a. Static version of libraries are used for building static binaries (server, indexer, etc) Use --with-dep=SELF or --with-static-dep=SELF to trigger fetch and build for the dependency.




Optionaly install on the filesystem

sudo make install;

Mac OSX Universal

WARNING: To build the Mac OS version you will have to install proprietary software which are free of charge. You will also need to build on an Apple Mac computer.

Configure Macports

Install the following tools and libraries

sudo port install autogen +universal pkgconfig +universal wget +universal gmake +universal coreutils +universal libidl +universal autoconf213 +universal icu +universal;

NOTE: the following commands seem to work better on OS X Yosemite, apparently 'universal' is less relevant and various packages are no longer available as universal options.

sudo port  install autogen pkgconfig  wget  gmake  coreutils  libidl  autoconf213  icu;
sudo port -v install aclocal automake libtool autoconf cmake imagemagick
./ alt && ./configure --enable-compileall;
cd src/dependencies && make;
make clean;
./ alt && ./configure --enable-compileall --enable-compileall --disable-dependency-tracking --with-target-arch=i386;
make distmac;
make clean;
./ alt && ./configure --enable-compileall --enable-compileall --disable-dependency-tracking --with-target-arch=x86_64;
make distmac;
make universal;
Debugging tips:
  • components file type can be either Mach-O dynamically linked shared library or Mach-O bundle but above instructions will create dynamic libraries.
  • Shared Object (.so files on Linux) have .dylib extension on OSX.
  • use dtruss to inspect program execution like strace.
  • dyldinfo -lazy_bind | dyldinfo -bind components/zimAccessor.dylib |grep zim
  • nm -gm components/zimAccessor.dylib | nm -u | nm -g
  • otool -L libzim.dylib
  • install_name_tool -change @executable_path/../libicuuc.dylib libicuuc.dylib kiwix-serve
  • lldb


Look at android/README


  • Install Windows XP SP2+

  • Install Visual Studio Express 2010

  • Install 7-zip

  • Install MozillaBuild 1.6

  • Install ActivePerl

  • Install Ruby

  • Install NSIS 2.46

  • Install nsis_locate

  • Install nsis_uac

  • Replace installed UAC.dll by new one.

  • Install all software in default locations.

  • Change your Windows PATH environment variable:

    • 7zip
    • NSIS
    • ruby
    • Perl
    • mozilla-build\msys\bin\
  • Get shell from c:\mozilla-build\start-msvc10.bat

mkdir -p /c/slave/windows-32b
git clone git:// kiwix
cd kiwix
./ alt
./configure --disable-indexer --enable-jar
make win
make windist
make wininstaller


Email: or


IRC: #kiwix on

You can use IRC web interface on



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