A tool for creating ZIM files based on contents on a local filesystem
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mgautierfr Merge pull request #86 from dattaz/fix_readme_static
Fix #59 : Update README with good information about static building
Latest commit 4d52bf3 Oct 4, 2018



zimwriterfs is a console tool to create ZIM files from a locally-stored directory containing "self-sufficient" HTML content (with pictures, javascript, and stylesheets). The result will contain all the files of the local directory compressed and merged in the ZIM file. Nothing more, nothing less. The generated file can be opened with a ZIM reader; Kiwix is one example, but there are others.

zimwriterfs works - for now - only on POSIX-compatible systems, you simply need to compile it and run it. The software does not need a lot of resources, but if you create a pretty big ZIM files, then it could take a while to complete.


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


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


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

On (recent) Debian/Ubuntu, you can ensure these are installed with:

sudo apt-get install liblzma-dev libmagic-dev zlib1g-dev libgumbo-dev
libzim-dev libxapian-dev libicu-dev

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 a more recent version by hand.

If you want to install these dependencies locally, then ensure that meson (through pkg-config) will properly find them.


zimwriterfs builds using Meson version 0.39 or higher. Meson relies itself on Ninja, pkg-config and few other compilation tools.

Install first the few common compilation tools:

  • Meson
  • Ninja
  • Pkg-config

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 zimwriterfs 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 -Dstatic-linkage=true option to the Meson command.

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


If you want to install zimwriterfs 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 zimwriterfs:

ninja -C build uninstall

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


Statically pre-compiled binaries are provided here https://download.openzim.org/release/zimwriterfs/.


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://github.com/ninja-build/ninja.git
cd ninja
git checkout release
./configure.py --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.