Wikimedia projects, including the flagship English Wikipedia, have been restricted in access to people with internet access. kiwix is opening that up, via its offline reader. I have blogged before about kiwix - this article is an effort to tell other people how to do the same. Kiwix is a cross-platform reader of zim files. Zim is an open, standardised file format to store Wiki content efficiently for offline usage. It is compressed (LZMA), with fast resolution of inter-article links.
- Kiwix, an offline wikipedia selection, is installed at Kwena Malapo school. I have blogged before about creating offline copies of wikipedia for use in school computer labs that do not have internet access. Wikimedia, the umbrella organisation behind wikipedia and other related projects, is also keenly interested in offline uses of wikipedia. From November through January, the offline taskforce had a series of IRC meetings where we attempted to answer questions relating to the use of these offline copies.
- I have been involved for a number of years with Hilton Theunissen and the Shuttleworth Foundation and their efforts to bring computers to township schools. A part of that software suite was an offline copy of wikipedia. Early attempts I have blogged before about my own project Wizzy Digital Courier putting thin client labs down in South African classrooms. That also included a copy of the english language wikipedia. Initially in 2003 I took the whole of the then-existing English wikipedia, installed a copy of the mediawiki software in conjunction with mysql and apache as database and webserver respectively.
- Wikipedia has started its regular fund drive with a video from the founder, Jimmy Wales. He starts by expounding the knowledge-for-everyone mantra of wikipedia, and in particular promoting wikipedias in third world languages like Swahili. The video finishes up with clips of people around the world talking about wikipedia, how it has benefited them, and how they contribute, including people typing articles in on cellphones .. There is a clip of me, at Lavender Hill Secondary school (at a township close to Muizenberg more renowned for its gangs) talking about my placement of a complete copy of wikipedia down at schools that have no daytime internet access, and also the Lab administrator Shanaaz talking about her wish for more content on the Afrikaans wikipedia.