Skip to content
This repository has been archived by the owner on Jun 27, 2020. It is now read-only.


Switch branches/tags

Name already in use

A tag already exists with the provided branch name. Many Git commands accept both tag and branch names, so creating this branch may cause unexpected behavior. Are you sure you want to create this branch?

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time

zimwriterfs (migrated to zim-tools repository)

latest release Build Status Docker Build Status CodeFactor License: GPL v3

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 Zimwriterfs compilation. Following libraries need to be available:

  • ZIM (package libzim-dev on Debian/Ubuntu)
  • Magic (package libmagic-dev on Debian/Ubuntu)
  • Z (package zlib1g-dev on Debian/Ubuntu)
  • Gumbo (package libgumbo-dev on Debian/Ubuntu)
  • ICU (package libicu-dev on Debian/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 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


A Docker image with zimwriterfs can be built from the docker directory. The project maintains an official image available at


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 LICENSE for more details.