The internet is by far a well-rounded source to get information on just about anything you might be needing info on. The internet is, however, extremely broad and doesn’t in fact, give you specifics on some info you might be searching for.
This is where Wikipedia comes in. Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia that is ultimately a part of the internet but it narrows down your search to exactly what it is that you may be searching for and this is why it’s used by millions around the world.
All the content on Wikipedia are made available by individual contributors and they are continually improved and developed on by an estimated 70,000 volunteers day after day around the world .
While Wikipedia is a great resource with over 35 million archived articles in 291 languages, it is inaccessible without an internet connection which, of course, is the biggest downside of the online-based encyclopedia.
Kiwix is a software that aims to change this by giving you an unparalleled offline access to Wikipedia right from your desktop.
Kiwix is an open source offline reader for Wikipedia that uses the highly compressible open Zim file format for storing Wikipedia content.
Kiwix like its web counterpart is extremely diverse in the sense that it’s split into different categories to better serve users looking for specific Zim files for specific purposes and is available on the most used desktop and mobile platforms including Linux, Windows, OSX, Android, and iOS.
As listed on Wikimedia, the most important features and Technical specifications of the program include:
- Portable: Kiwix is a portable application you don’t need to install. Kiwix supports a wide range of systems and architectures.
- User-friendly: Kiwix works like your web browser and is translated into your native language.
- Library: Kiwix own library allows you to gather content at first sight.
- Search Engine: Kiwix has got a title suggestion system. This helps you to quickly get the information you need.
- Web Server: Kiwix allows you to share content on your LAN with Kiwix-serve, the Kiwix HTTP server.
- Open: Kiwix uses open formats and protocols. Kiwix produces open-source software.
- Pure ZIM reader
- Content and download manager
- Case and diacritics insensitive full-text search engine
- Bookmarks & Notes
- Kiwix-serve: ZIM HTTP server
- PDF/HTML export
- Multilingual (UI in more than 110 languages)
- Search suggestions
- ZIM indexing capacity
- Support for Android / iOS / MacOSX / Linux / Windows / Sugar
- DVD/USB launcher for Windows (autorun)
Installing Kiwix in Linux
All you need is visit the download page and download the appropriate package which contains setup files for all systems; The download sizes as at the time of this writing ranges from 63GB to 2GB (depending on the package you choose). The largest being the entire Wikipedia and the smallest Wikiquote. Like i mentioned above, each package contains setup files for all desktop platforms; after extraction, you’ll find another compressed tar.gz file for Linux which you’ll then extract.
The mobile operating systems on the other hand, can download the application from their respective depository.
After extraction, locate the Kiwix file (hard to miss) and launch it; the software runs independently of the system so you don’t need to get any extra dependencies and whatnot.
It’s worth noting that the extracted compressed file containing the Kiwix executable for Linux has to be in the same directory as the extracted Zim files — this way, the Kiwix program is able to auto locate the compressed Zim files and run.