Tech

You Can Download the Entirety of English Wikipedia to Browse Offline

This is good news for users of Kiwix, an offline browser for web content.
10 July 2020, 2:00pm
You Can Download the Entirely of English Wikipedia to Browse Offline
Photo: Simon Goodall via Wikipedia

A new archive of the entirety of English Wikipedia for Kiwix, an offline browser for web content, is now available for download to anyone who wants to read offline or simply have a local backup of the online encyclopedia.

The archive was noticed by a person on Reddit who shared it in a post. The person included a link to the website for Kiwix, where the 89 GB ZIM file (a format for offline wiki content) is available for download.

Wikipedia routinely makes a dump of its databases available publicly, which Kiwix then compresses into an archive so it can be more easily shared. For its latest archive, Kiwix used Wikipedia’s database dump made on June 23. Stephane Coillet-Matillon is the co-founder of Kiwix and told Motherboard the most recent archive has been available on the Kiwix website since early July.

“Essentially, we’re trying to make a copy of the whole internet for offline use,” Coillet-Matillon said. “So we get stock exchange, we get Ted Talks. Anyone can come up with a request and if we can make a copy and it’s legal, it’s fine, and we distribute it.”

The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia, has funded part of Kiwix’s work, Coillet-Matillon said.

Kiwix makes and distributes archives of Wikipedias in all languages, but the English version is by far the largest. A new archive of the entire English Wikipedia by Kiwix hasn’t been available since October 2018.

“There have been many dumps released since October '18, but we failed every time,” Coillet-Matillon said. “Back then the whole process took 3 weeks, and as per Murphy's law would crash on day 20, sending us back to square one.”

Coillet-Matillon said the main reason for providing the archives is so that people without access to the internet can still have access to Wikipedia.

“There’s 4 billion people without internet access in the world,” Coillet-Matillon said. “It took 30 years for the richest half of the world to be connected to the web. I don’t think it’s going be any easier or faster to connect the poorest half.”

This article originally appeared on VICE US.