I was away from my computer for 4 days last week, to participate to a
conference (LIFT) in Switzerland. During this conference, the organiser
asked me questions about the financial situation of the projects. I
answered with plain honesty and unfortunately with some words which
raised the attention of a blogger in the room.
Never mind that the words were taken out of context, never mind the
smiles that went with the words, the words were out. Twisted.
So, if some of you have heard that Wikipedia might close in 4 months due
to financial difficulties, these are the words I am talking about.
For more on the discussion on the matter, please see the blog of Mr
Guissani. I had a long discussion with him on financial matters on
I think that summarize things pretty well.
The day the WMF will plan to close Wikipedia for lack of funds, believe
me, you'll know. Before the press.
Will Wikipedia close in 4 months ? NO. NO. AND NO.
TRANSPARENCY AND FIGURES
All of our financial statements for year 2004, 2005 and 2006 are public
and audited. Please find them here:
We also have a page where we state our needs for the coming 6 months.
(as a reminder, our fiscal year goes from june to june)
TO make it short, we currently have above 1 million (exact figures to
pick up from Carolyn, perhaps 1,5) in bank, available for use.
Current monthly expenses as of today are about 75 000 dollars.
We had an (optimistic goal) of hardware investment of 1,6 million before
june. We can expect bandwidth and hosting costs to naturally follow. We
also need more human help, at least hiring a permanent executive
director, a CTO and probably more developers.
Just have a look at the page and do count yourself. If you add current
daily operations + hardware investment + increase in bandwidth +
increase in hosting + 3 to 5 additional employees, we are already over
that 1.5 millions that we have in hand.
So, as of today, I think we can quietly say that
"yes, we have about 3-4 months of operations at hand". Not 6 months. Not
1 year. Not 2 years. Roughly 3-4 months.
If you look at the bottom of this page,
you'll see that the recommandations of auditors is always to try to have
6 months of reserve. We are far from it. We have roughly 4 months.
Having 6 months of reserve is financially wiser.
Did you have a way to know this previously ?
Yes you did. It was listed in the site notice during the full month of
fundraising. So, there is nothing new to wikipedians. There might be
something new to press though.
IS THAT A BIG DEAL ?
I repeat, we are not going to disappear. We have been in worse state in
the past. Well, in december 2006, some expenses were delayed, delayed
till the money from the fundraising was flowing in, and we could pay the
Someone mentionned image server a few days ago. Image server was planned
in september hardware quote. But purchase was delayed till december.
Because given our cashflow situation, it would have been unreasonable to
buy the image servers.
This should not happen. We should not come to the point where we delay
hardware investment. We should aim to provide the best service, not just
the service we can afford.
We should not try to pretend we do not need money. We do need more
money. People at the Foundation are trying to find creative ways to
collect more, with services (datafeed), royalties from brand use
(Wikipedia in particular), matching donations etc... but raising the
money for the projects should not become only the business of 10 or so
employees. This should be many people concern. Because Wikipedia is not
the website of a few people, not even the website of the community, it
is a common good.
This is an official WMF announcement.
The Board of Trustees accepts the resignation of James D. Forrester in
the volunteer role as Chief Research Officer. James has the gratitude
of the Board for volunteering his time and ideas to the projects in
the friendly, creative, skilled and professional manner that we have
come to know and appreciate him for.
The Board of Trustees has decided to rename the role to "Chief
Research Coordinator," and to appoint Gregory Maxwell to the volunteer
position. Gregory has long time experience working with and analyzing
Wikimedia data and interacting with others who do the same, is
familiar with both the internals of the projects and the workings of
the community, and is deeply committed to our values and principles.
A description of the role can be found at:
If you find out of date pages that need to be updated, please be bold and do so.
Executive Secretary, Wikimedia Foundation
The Commons Picture of the Year 2006 will be chosen in February.
Participate by voting for a picture out of the featured pictures
promoted in 2006. This vote is open to every established Wikimedian.
The election has two phases. In the first phase, taking place from 1st
to 14th February 2007, the ten best pictures will be chosen among all
2006 Featured Pictures.
At the end of phase 1, the top 10 images by number of votes will go to
phase 2 (the final). Only images with 3 or more votes are eligible for
During the final, to take place from 15th February to 28th February,
the Commons Picture of the Year 2006, and the two runners-up, will be
chosen from the eligible images.
The three winning pictures will be displayed on the Main Page and
enter the History Books of Wikimedia Commons forever :-)
Participate! The election is open from tomorrow on
The "problem with your article?" page for en:wp is:
It directs people to either the Help Desk or to OTRS. The Help Desk
appears to be getting a few reasonable queries from organisations,
which are being dealt with properly.
No flood of crap yet, which is good :-)
OTRS volunteers - how's it looking from your side?
According to this page (in Chinese):
袓 has two literal meanings. One is "hobby", the other is "beauty of the white color" (hope I
translate it correctly).
Sometimes the character will be confused with 祖 because they look very similar. 祖 means
I heart the character 袓 is been randomly chosen to be used on the Wikipedia logo. If this is
correct then I would be a little surprised because the meaning "beauty of the white color" is very
suitable for current Wikipedia logo.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: foundation-l-bounces(a)lists.wikimedia.org
> [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf
> Of Jon Harald Soby
> Sent: Friday, February 16, 2007 8:23 PM
> To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] The Chinese New Year Wikipedia Logo
> IMO, this logo looks great. It is considerably better than
> the one used last year (which was, no offense, quite
> horrible). Just one
> question: You say that the character 袓 is exchanged with 豬,
> which means pig. What does 袓 mean?
> On 2/16/07, THD <theodoranian(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> > Hi,
> > 2 days later, it will be the Chinese New Year, and some Chinese
> > Wikipedian has made the Chinese New Year celebration
> Wikipedia logo.
> > During the Chinese New Year period (Feb. 18 to 23), I think Chinese
> > Wikipedians are proposing a celebration of new year on Chinese
> > Wikipedia. You can take a look of this logo,
> > http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Wiki_pig.png
> > There are 2 changes:
> > 1. The logo is using red color which means happiness and
> > in Chinese community.
> > 2. The logo is changing the original Chinese character 袓 to 豬，the
> > later one
> > 豬 means pig. This year is the year of pig.
> > Please comment.
> > THD
> > _______________________________________________
> > foundation-l mailing list
> > foundation-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org
> > http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
> Best regards,
> Jon Harald Søby
> Website - http://www.alqualonde.com/
> Wikipedia - http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruker:Jhs
> MSN messenger - jhsoby(a)gmail.com
> Skype - jon.harald.soby
> foundation-l mailing list
�z���ͬ��Y�ɳq �� ���q�B�T�֡B�ͬ��B�u�@�@���d�w�I
List members might be interested in this Open Knowledge event we are
organizing which will take place in London in March. One of our
particular aims is to keep space (physical and temporal) at the event
for 'extra', and perhaps unplanned, presentations, demos and workshops.
So if you are working on something related to open knowledge that you'd
like to tell people about please let us know and come along.
Open Knowledge 1.0
Saturday 17th March 2007, 1100-1830
Limehouse Town Hall
Organized by the Open Knowledge Foundation
* Programme: http://www.okfn.org/okcon/programme/
* Registration: http://www.okfn.org/okcon/register/
* Wiki: http://okfn.org/wiki/okcon/
On the 17th March 2007 the first all-day Open Knowledge event is taking
place in London. This event will bring together individuals and groups
from across the open knowledge spectrum and includes panels on open
media, open geodata and open scientific and civic information.
The event is open to all but we encourage you to register because space
is limited. A small entrance fee of £10 is planned to help pay for costs
but concessions are available.
### Open Scientific and Civic Data
* Tim Hubbard, leader of the Human Genome Analysis Group at the
* Peter Murray-Rust, Professor in the Unilever Centre for Molecular
Science Informatics at Cambridge University
* John Sheridan, Head of e-Services at the Office of Public Sector
### Geodata and Civic Information
* Ed Parsons, until recently CTO of the Ordnance Survey
* Steve Coast, founder of Open Street Map
* Charles Arthur, freeourdata.org.uk and Technology Editor of the
### Open Media
* Paula Ledieu, formerly Director of the BBC's Creative Archive
project and now Managing Director and Director of Open Media for Magic
* Fleur Knopperts of DocAgora
* Zoe Young of http://www.transmission.cc/
## Theme: Atomisation and Commercial Opportunity
Discussions of 'Open Knowledge' often end with licensing wars: legal
arguments, technicalities, and ethics. While those debates rage on, Open
Knowledge 1.0 will concentrate on two pragmatic and often-overlooked
aspects of Open Knowledge: atomisation and commercial possibility.
Atomisation on a large scale (such as in the Debian 'apt' packaging
system) has allowed large software projects to employ an amazing degree
of decentralised, collaborative and incremental development. But what
other kinds of knowledge can be atomised? What are the opportunities and
problems of this approach for forms of knowledge other than Software?
Atomisation also holds a key to commercial opportunity: unrestricted
access to an ever-changing, atomised landscape of knowledge creates
commercial opportunities that are not available with proprietary
approaches. What examples are there of commercial systems that function
with Open Knowledge, and how can those systems be shared?
Bringing together open threads from Science, Geodata, Civic Information
and Media, Open Knowledge 1.0 is an opportunity for people and projects
to meet, talk and plan things.
Because licensing has been an active topic in the community, the Board
has discussed the issue at its recent meetings; thank you to those
whose thoughtful input furthered the discussions.
A formal declaration in the form of a Board resolution has not yet
been made and will be forthcoming; however, we hope that this longer
message will provide the explanation behind the resolution. The
resolution will seek to clarify something that has been true for some
time but may not have been stated in a clear enough form as guidance
for the various communities to follow.
The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to develop educational
content under a free content license or in the public domain. For
content to be "free content", it must have no significant legal
restriction on people's freedom to use, redistribute, or modify the
content for any purpose.
It is therefore vital that all projects under the Foundation umbrella
use these standards, not only because of our desire to enable the
creation of free reference works, but also because of our commitment
to allow those works to benefit everyone who wishes to use and reuse
them. Because of this, all media we allow on our projects must be free
for all users and all purposes, including non-Wikimedia use,
commercial use, and derivative works. (Some media may be subject to
restrictions other than copyright in some jurisdictions, but are still
considered free work.)
There are many different licenses that allow these freedoms. The
licensing page on the Wikimedia Commons,
<http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Licensing>, discusses some
of these license terms and gives links to the many licenses that are
acceptable to use.
While we appreciate the goodwill of those who give special permissions
for Wikimedia to display a work, this does not fulfill our greater
purpose of giving others the freedom to use the content as well, and
so we cannot accept media with permission for use on Wikimedia only.
Derivative uses are also important. The value of allowing
modifications becomes clear to anyone who edits the projects, as new
work builds on the work of others, and work you cannot change to meet
your needs and purposes is not free.
Commercial and non-commercial use is more controversial, as many
people are concerned that allowing commercial uses allows others to
abuse their generosity. But ultimately Wikimedia's longstanding and
carefully considered position is, as with many other organizations
devoted to free content, that disallowing commercial use does not
provide significant benefit to the content creator or to the public.
Non-commercial licensing stops many valuable uses that help distribute
and support free works, and hence does not further our mission. Where
commercial use spreads the works without taking away others' rights to
use and distribute them for free, it helps our purpose of making the
content as widely available as possible. This is a long enough message
without going deeply into detail, but Erik Moeller's essay at
<http://www.intelligentdesigns.net/Licenses/NC> is a thorough and
clear explanation of the reasons why the harm is more than the
benefit, and so why non-commercial content is not something we use.
It is for these reasons, which we have long supported, that all media
on Wikimedia sites which are used under terms that specify
non-commercial use only, no-derivatives only, or permission for
Wikimedia only, need to be be phased out and replaced with media that
does not have these restrictions.
Some Wikimedia projects use media that is not free at all, under a
doctrine of "fair use" or "fair dealing". There are some works,
primarily historically important photographs and significant modern
artworks, that we can not realistically expect to be released under a
free content license, but that are hard to discuss in an educational
context without including the media itself. Because the inability to
include these works limits scholarship and criticism, in many
jurisdictions people may use such works under limited conditions
without having license or permission. Some works that are under
licenses we do not accept (such as non-derivative) may meet these
conditions. Because of our commitment to free content, this non-free
media should not be used when it is reasonably possible to replace
with free media that would serve the same educational purpose.
Since individual projects have differing community standards and there
are potentially legal issues in different jurisdictions, individual
projects may choose to be more restrictive than Foundation policy
requires, such as the many projects that do not allow "fair use" media
at all. However, no project may have content policies less restricive,
or that allow licenses other than those allowed on Wikimedia Commons
and limited fair use.
We hope this clears up some of the uncertainty about what types of
material may be uploaded to and used on the projects as well as why we
take this position.
Thanks to everyone for your input and hard work.
For the Wikimedia Foundation,
Wikimedia needs you: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Fundraising
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Mindspillage | (G)AIM:Mindspillage
mindspillage or mind|wandering on irc.freenode.net | email for phone
The discussions on this mailing list are very interesting, but over 200
emails about one single subject is a *very very* lot. Lots of people are
fleeing from this list due to the number of emails (not everybody has gmail;
some people still get all email through pop). I would like to suggest two
1: Leave foundation-l as it is, but start as well a announcements-list for
the foundation, where important announcements (like the hire of new
personnel, a new project etc) can be included, and sent to the foundation-l
automaticly too. It should include automaticly a link to the thread on
foundation-l in the online archives, so people can read the discussion if
they are interested. This announcementslist should be moderated, and only
used for announcements and notices that a discussion will be started on the
foundation-l (the discussionlist). This would make the important stuff
easier to follow. Disadvantage: people have to find the list again all over.
2: move the discussion to foundation-discuss-l where the more broad
discussions can be done, the discussions on foundation-l should be limited
to short notices, sometimes short discussions, directly related, and as soon
as the discussion becomes too extensive, move it to the discussion-list with
again a link to the relevant archives and a note on what the subject will
Another "solution" will be to forget for a part the mailinglistidea and move
the heavy discussions to a forum.
I hope the foundation (comcom? sandy?) will take a look at this problem, and
see what might be the best (or least worse) solution.
Greetings from a overwhelmed mailbox, Lodewijk
Hi, this is a follow-up to my posts regarding "The Ideal Wiki
Software" on foundation-l, from late January.
I've uploaded my Wikimedia Commons image/media search tool, dubbed
"Mayflower", to the toolserver; it's available at http://
Just to recap, this tool allows full-text searching of the Commons
database, returning a gallery-based results page, much like Google
Images and similar services. The main goal was to make a user-
friendly interface, so that even non-Wikimedians can take advantage
As I said back in January, I'm still interested in Brianna Laugher's
idea of making a gallery-based, full-text search feature available as
a MediaWiki extension, so that it can take advantage of the existing
MediaWiki search index and the stability of the main servers.
Any comments and/or suggestions would be most welcome.
(Sorry if this looks like an advertisement; I don't usually advertise
new tools, but I thought the foundation-l and commons-l communities
would be interested.)