[Wikimediaindia-l] troubleshooting Wikipedia for schools offline project

Nikhil Sheth nikhil.js at gmail.com
Tue Feb 1 04:41:03 UTC 2011

Hi Jessie and All,

Thanks so much for the appreciation.

Request: I want to get an Offline edition of the Hindi, Marathi and Gujrati
Wikipedia. (Indian languages) - preferably in the .ZIM format.
I read about Malayalam / Tamil offline versions being in the works, but not
in .ZIM

Why I advocate .ZIM is that it turns wikipedia into an easily search-able
single-file E-book, hence making it so much more portable (Try moving the
other forms having 1000s of files between drives and you'll get what I'm
talking about). Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that Emmanuel and his
team have actually assembled the largest ebooks that mankind has ever seen.
If we give it a spin like that and give an alternate description of Kiwix as
a new kind of ebook-reader for reading very very large volumes with very low
memory footprint, then we can probably catch even more attention and we
might even witness other publishers switching to something like it.

But I digress, so back to my task..
I have no clue how we can create the .ZIM files (don't have the expertise to
see and understand the format specifications), and I understand that
Wikipedia dumps creation aren't there for anybody or else the servers would
be brought down.

So can anyone help with obtaining Hindi / other Indian languages Wikipedia?
The reason I'm asking for them is: I'm trying to take the Wikipeida For
Schools to under-resourced schools in my country and in most, it would be
much, much easier to get permission from authorities to install and spread
it if I actually gave them an Indian language wikipedia and bundled the
Wikipedia for Schools with it. In their minds, getting the indian language
one on their computers may be a much bigger novelty.

So, to hypothesize, if I handed over to a municipality in my state
(Maharashtra, India, main language is Marathi) a DVD having just "Wikipedia
For Schools", they may just keep it at the side and forget about it.
But if I gave them a DVD having the "Complete Hindi and Marathi Wikipedia,
plus Wikipedia for Schools free!" then I think that will catch more
attention. This is just hypothetical, of course, but I want to give it a

The Kiwix/ZIM Wikipedia For Schools package is about 2.7 GBs only when burnt
to DVD, so there's plenty of room for putting more stuff, even for pen
drives as we'll be using a 4GB pen drive.

Further troubleshooting: (now moving into further exploring)

The Kiwix+Wikipedia for Schools package is a portable version of Kiwix with
the index and library file already built and stored inside the root\data
folder (size 141MB)

When I opened wikipedia_en_wp1_0.7_30000+_05_2009_beta3.zim in the same
software, it did not create the library and index for the same inside this
package; rather it is stored elsewhere on my comp and I can't find it. (I'm
on Win 7 by the way)

If I want to share other versions on Wikipedia in a ready-to-run form, I
will need to create and have the index inside the Kiwix software's folder.
Or else on every new computer there will be a lengthy indexing process which
is wasteful and might actually result in non-use by people who don't know
how to go about it.

So, how can one go about it? Making Kiwix such that any .ZIM file it opens
and indexes, the index is stored INSIDE the program folder rather than
anywhere else? Or maybe such that it does BOTH and checks one source first
and the other later?

Also, what is the command-line syntax for opening Kiwix with a particular
.ZIM file?
I want to have a package of multiple instant options, so that if someone
double-clicks on a "Wikipedia for schools" shortcut or .bat or .exe then
that opens; if someone double-clicks a "Hindi Wikipedia" then that opens,
and so forth.

Nikhil Sheth
Pune, India
Teach For India <http://www.teachforindia.org/> Fellow, 2011-13
Find me on: Twitter <http://twitter.com/nikhiljs> |
LinkedIn <http://in.linkedin.com/in/nikhiljs> | Google
Join me on: Pune Documentary
Club<http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=138497769525636>| Let's
Do it Pune <http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lets-do-it-Pune/103857326346659> |
Toastmasters in
For Schools project<http://education.wikia.com/wiki/Wikipedia_For_Schools_Offline_Edition>

On Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 11:57 PM, Jessie Wild <jwild at wikimedia.org> wrote:

> All - thanks so much for your work here; this is fantastic progress and
> incredibly helpful for the offline work at large.
> On 1/20/2011 11:48 AM, Emmanuel Engelhart wrote:
>> 1. A proliferation meetup where a lot of us can get together and copy
>>> >  the dump to our laptop/netbook/USB drive. 1 goes to 20... and we can
>>> >  scale up the project like crazy.
>> Would be great, I'm interested in any simple Ideas/Solutions to build
>> something like a small digital kiosk where people could easily choose
>> what they want to get on their USB stick. The wireless version,
>> something like a WIFI Spot with only one Web Site could also be
>> interesting.
> Having some sort of dedicated offline meet-up is something that a few of us
> have been talking about for the past month or so, so I'm glad it was brought
> up again.  Logistically, when do we think this could happen?  Although it is
> a couple months away, an easy way to leverage an existing organizational
> plan would be to tack onto the Chapter's meeting in Berlin at the end of
> March.  Europe would also be a relatively central meeting place for us.
> Thoughts? Availability?  Once we carve out a block of time, we can work out
> a schedule of most important things to tackle and discuss (I also have lots
> of suggestions ;).
> --
> Jessie Wild
> Special Projects Manager
> Global Development
> Wikimedia Foundation
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