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librsvg logo
Original author(s) Raph Levien
Developer(s) GNOME Project
Stable release 2.40.9[1] (26 March 2015; 7 months ago (2015-03-26)) [±]
Development status Active
Written in C
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Graphics library

librsvg is a free software SVG rendering library written as part of the GNOME project, intended to be lightweight and portable.[2]


librsvg uses two other libraries to perform tasks from reading the file to rendering to the screen.

  • libxml is used to parse the XML code orientation of an SVG file into a form that can be accessed quickly by the library.
  • cairo is used to render the information obtained by libxml to a block of memory.


librsvg is developed for the GNOME desktop environment and as such is used by GNOME Files but is also intended to be used in other software applications. As a notable example, wikis hosted by Wikimedia use librsvg to render SVG images.[3] It was once picked for these web applications because it was decidedly "fast but not very accurate", according to MediaWiki.[4]

Upon switching to the cairo vector rendering engine in 2005,[5][6] librsvg became more accurate and more visually pleasing. Since 2012 an independent developer published Win32 console ports rsvg-convert.exe, as of April 2015 version 2.40.9.[7] The rsvg-view manual page is also available online.[8]


  1. ^ download mirror, 26 March 2015, retrieved 27 March 2015 
  2. ^ "librsvg is a library to render SVG files using cairo". librsvg. GNOME Live. Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  3. ^ Lucideer (April 27, 2009). "Manual:Image Administration - MediaWiki". MediaWiki. MediaWiki. Retrieved April 6, 2011. 
  4. ^ "SVG benchmarks - MediaWiki". MediaWiki. MediaWiki. Retrieved April 6, 2011. 
  5. ^ Worth, Carl (2 September 2005). "svg shootout". gmane.comp.gnome.lib.librsvg.devel. Retrieved 29 November 2014. the librsvg maintainers … have now added cairo support to librsvg. Many thanks are due to Caleb Moore and Dom Lachowicz for this work. The source can be compiled --with-cairo and it builds separate and libraries 
  6. ^ Moore, Caleb (3 November 2005). "using librsvg cairo". gmane.comp.gnome.lib.librsvg.devel. Retrieved 29 November 2014. Librsvg-2.13 cannot link to libart since that backend was majorly broken when we released 2.13 and thus must link to cairo. 
  7. ^ TumaGonx Zakkum (2012-06-10). "RSVG-Convert SVG image conversion tool". Open Source Software and Windows 32-bit. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  8. ^ Paul Brossier, Dom Lachowicz, Alex Larsson, e.a. "rsvg-view" (man page). Retrieved 2014-12-28. 

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