created_at2023-07-21 08:02:55.015619
updated_at2024-05-24 22:14:40.814546
descriptionA library to render SVG images to Cairo surfaces. GNOME uses this to render SVG icons. Outside of GNOME, other desktop environments use it for similar purposes. Wikimedia uses it for Wikipedia's SVG diagrams.
Federico Mena Quintero (federicomenaquintero)




This is librsvg - A small library to render Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), associated with the GNOME Project. It renders SVG files to Cairo surfaces. Cairo is the 2D, antialiased drawing library that GNOME uses to draw things to the screen or to generate output for printing.

Do you want to render non-animated SVGs to a Cairo surface with a minimal API? Librsvg may be adequate for you.

Supported SVG/CSS features: Please see the chapter for supported features in the development guide.

This is the file for the Rust crate; you may want to see the main for the whole project.

Using librsvg

Non-Rust dependencies:

Librsvg depends on a number of non-Rust libraries that must be installed on your system. They need to have a pkg-config .pc file installed so that librsvg's compilation can find them via system-deps:

  • Cairo - used for the main rendering
  • FreeType2 - font renderer
  • gdk-pixbuf - image decoder
  • gio/glib - I/O primitives and streams
  • Harfbuzz - text shaping
  • libxml2 - XML parser
  • Pangocairo - text rendering
  • PangoFT2 - render text via Pango and FreeType2
  • Fontconfig - system fonts and rules for using them

There are some security considerations for these non-Rust libraries, which you may want to read.

Bug tracking: If you have found a bug, take a look at our bug tracker. Please see the "reporting bugs" page in the development guide to see how to provide a good bug report.

Asking questions: Feel free to ask questions about using librsvg in the "Platform" category of GNOME's Discourse. You can also ask via chat in the Matrix room for GNOME Rust.

Security: For a list of releases with security issues, instructions on reporting security-related bugs, and the security considerations for librsvg's dependencies, see the Security chapter in the development guide.

Contributing to librsvg's development

There is a code of conduct for contributors to librsvg; please see the GNOME Code of Conduct.

Please see the Development Guide for librsvg on how to contribute to librsvg, how to report bugs, how set up your development environment, and for a description of librsvg's architecture.

Goals of librsvg

Librsvg aims to be a low-footprint library for rendering SVG1.1 and SVG2 images. It is used primarily in the GNOME project to render SVG icons and vector images that appear on the desktop. It is also used in Wikimedia to render the SVG images that appear in Wikipedia, so that even old web browsers can display them. Many projects which casually need to render static SVG images use librsvg.

We aim to be a "render this SVG for me, quickly, and with a minimal API" kind of library.

Feature additions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

You can read about librsvg's supported SVG and CSS features in the development guide.

Non-goals of librsvg

We don't aim to:

  • Implement every single SVG feature that is in the spec.

  • Implement scripting or external access to the SVG's DOM.

  • Implement support for CSS-based animations (but if you can think of a nice API to do this, we would be glad to know!)

  • Replace the industrial-strength SVG rendering machinery in modern web browsers.

Of course, contributions are welcome. In particular, if you find nice ways of doing the above while still maintaining the existing API of librsvg, we would love to know about it!

Who uses librsvg?

Librsvg is part of the GNOME platform. Inside GNOME, librsvg takes multiple roles:

  • Loads SVGs from the generic gdk-pixbuf loader infrastructure, so any application which uses gdk-pixbuf can load SVGs as if they were raster images.

  • Loads SVG icons for the desktop.

  • Creates SVG thumbnails for the file manager.

  • Loads SVGs within GNOME's default image viewer, Eye of Gnome.

Outside of GNOME's core:

  • GNOME games (chess, five-or-more, etc. to draw game pieces)

  • GIMP

  • GCompris

  • Claws-mail

  • Darktable

  • Mate-panel

  • Evas/Enlightenment

  • Emacs

  • ImageMagick

  • Wikipedia, to render SVGs as raster images for old browsers. Special thanks to Wikimedia for providing excellent bug reports.

Presentations on librsvg

"Replacing C library code with Rust: What I learned with librsvg" was presented at GUADEC 2017. It gives a little history of librsvg, and how/why it is being ported to Rust from C.

"Patterns of refactoring C to Rust: the case of librsvg" was presented at GUADEC 2018. It describes ways in which librsvg's C code was refactored to allow porting it to Rust.


The maintainer of librsvg is Federico Mena Quintero. Feel free to contact me for any questions you may have about librsvg, both its usage and its development. You can contact me in the following ways:

  • Mail me at

  • Matrix: I am @federico on the GNOME Hackers and Rust ❤️ GNOME channels on's Matrix. I'm there most weekdays (Mon-Fri) starting at about UTC 14:00 (that's 08:00 my time; I am in the UTC-6 timezone). If this is not a convenient time for you, feel free to mail me and we can arrange a time.

  • I frequently blog about librsvg. You may be interested in the articles about porting librsvg from C to Rust, which happened between 2016 and 2020.

Commit count: 0

cargo fmt