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The Internet Software

Wikipedia Planning a DVD Version 310

daria42 writes "The Wikipedia Foundation hopes to sell an English version of Wikipedia on CD-ROM and DVD before the end of the year. A boxed set of the German language version of Wikipedia has been available since last year. An updated version of the German Wikipedia was launched on Amazon.de this week, and the e-commerce site has received 8,000 pre-orders, according to Wikipedia Foundation president Jimmy Wales. Wales said it was easier to put the German version of Wikipedia onto CD as there are significantly less pages than there are for the English language version. He said that English Wikipedia would 'barely fit on 2 DVDs.'"
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Wikipedia Planning a DVD Version

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:39PM (#12171595)
    Frequent mentions of David Hassellhoff compress really well.
    • by Stevyn ( 691306 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:51PM (#12171702)
      AndbecauseGermansdonotwastebytesonspaces
      • by the pickle ( 261584 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @09:15PM (#12171886) Homepage
        I believe what you meant was "Onderspacen Der Deutschennobegewastenderbytesen."

        p
      • by nbert ( 785663 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @10:04PM (#12172151) Homepage Journal
        well, we just hate redundant information :D

        There is no way to turn AndbecauseGermansdonotwastebytesonspaces into one single German word btw.

        It is true that the German language allows combinations of nouns of arbitrary length, but in the English language constructs like this exist as well (e.g. railway consists of two nouns). The only difference is that those speaking English are not free to make up new ones.

        And as a general rule of thumb most combinations in English are limited to two words. While it wouldn't make sense to combine more than 5 words, because it would get to hard to read and understand the term, there are rare examples in German which consist of 3 or even 4 words.
  • I love it when /. posts an article only for me to see 'Nothing to see here.' for a minute. On the Other Hand, Only TWO DVDS? I better get to Wiki and start writing pages all about the writing Fan Fiction!
  • Whaaa? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zone-MR ( 631588 ) * <slashdot@zone-[ ]net ['mr.' in gap]> on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:40PM (#12171606) Homepage
    Last time I checked, the current version of the English wikipedia dump [wikimedia.org], is around 585MB. It should comfortably fit on one CD. Where did this figure of two DVDs come from?
    • Re:Whaaa? (Score:5, Funny)

      by amliebsch ( 724858 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:42PM (#12171628) Journal
      Where did this figure of two DVDs come from?

      Well, when you add in the theatrical trailers, "making of" featurette, production stills, and commentary tracks... What I want to know is, will it be in Dolby Digital 7.1?

      • Re:Whaaa? (Score:4, Funny)

        by nc_yori ( 870325 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @11:13PM (#12172529)

        The best part will be that the 7.1 sound will be put together from contributions by users just like you and me from all over the world!

        The levels will be mostly ok, except for the sections where people have entries for themselves in which the dB level will be upped by 10 +-5. Also, the encoding will be completely and totally correct, except for a very small flaw which will cause the center right speaker to output everything in Latin.

    • Re:Whaaa? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Servants ( 587312 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:45PM (#12171646)
      I followed your link:
      Last dump made: 2005-03-09 (30 days ago)
      Total size 50503MB (1460MB for just current revisions)

      These are SQL dumps of the current and old article revision databases for each wiki. They can be read into a local database and directly used with the MediaWiki software (MySQL, PHP, Apache required).

      These dumps are not suitable for viewing in a web browser or text editor unless you do a little preprocessing on them first.
      • Re:Whaaa? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Zone-MR ( 631588 ) * <slashdot@zone-[ ]net ['mr.' in gap]> on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:49PM (#12171683) Homepage
        Yeah, I know, but...

        1.5GB for current revisions would still fit on one DVD.

        Also, that 1.5GB is for all languages. The English version only uses 0.5GB of that.
      • Re:Whaaa? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pHatidic ( 163975 )
        Sounds like an excellent legal application for BitTorrent.
        • Re:Whaaa? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jacksonj04 ( 800021 ) <nick@nickjackson.me> on Thursday April 07, 2005 @09:44PM (#12172030) Homepage
          Nope. Wikipedia is available over HTTP in a much more up-to-date, interactive and dynamic format than DVDs. The whole purpose of the DVD sets is... I don't know. I really don't. but why BitTorrent it when you can just point your browser at wikipedia.com?
          • Re:Whaaa? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by saforrest ( 184929 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @10:30PM (#12172297) Journal
            Wikipedia is available over HTTP in a much more up-to-date, interactive and dynamic format than DVDs.

            Well, yes, if you want to read it you're probably not going to download the entire bloody encyclopedia to your local machine via bittorrent.

            But some people would have valid reasons for wanting this. A lot of places resyndicate Wikipedia content, e.g. www.thefreedictionary.com [thefreedictionary.com]. or answers.com [answers.com]; I'm exactly sure why these sites do it, but I can think or many valid reasons.

            Maybe data miners or researchers want to run scripts on Wikipedia and make all kinds of conclusions (such things are entirely legal and above board, since the content is free).

            The whole purpose of the DVD sets is... I don't know. I really don't.

            Well, not all of us are connected to the Internet 24/7. Some of us have laptops without wireless Internet, and even computers without network cards at all.

            Lastly, there are many places in the world where you can't get a reliable net connection at all (e.g. various places in Africa, Asia).
      • Re:Whaaa? (Score:2, Informative)

        by Rylz ( 868268 )

        Those figures are for all language versions. For just English, these are the figures (further down on the same page):

        en.wikipedia.org
        cur - 585MB- md5 ec31110459e3d9680074bfaeddb8bfc9
        old - 26269MB- md5 94c2a48a0f68e17d0fd38c5b2e4c4ec3
      • what makes you think they need to store the articles on the cd/dvd uncompressed? since it's all text, it will compress extremely well
    • Probably accounts for the multimedia content referenced by wikipedia pages. Add up all the images and sounds, and you'd fill two DVDs easily.
    • by F13 ( 9091 )
      Yes but as it states on that page:

      Raw database dumps

      Last dump made: 2005-03-09 (30 days ago) Total size 50503MB (1460MB for just current revisions)

      Unless you are refering to the TomeRaider [wikipedia.org] archives

    • There are... (Score:4, Informative)

      by NumbThumb ( 468496 ) <daniel@@@brightbyte...de> on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:49PM (#12171687) Homepage Journal
      ...no images in the dump. Just text. And not reader software.

      Also, the current dump is about 800 MG, gzipped. enjoy.
    • Uncompress it, and add media
    • Re:Whaaa? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Knightmare ( 12112 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @09:00PM (#12171773) Homepage
      I bet people would like to be able to read it or even search it off of the DVDs, which means storing it in bz2 format on the DVD is probably a BAD idea... So yes it's only 585 megs when bzip2'd but that isn't a very friendly format to deal with.
      • Re:Whaaa? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by arodland ( 127775 )
        Still, I don't understand this. They must be doing something in the most simplistic way possible, or including all of the media (not just Commons). I've been working on a project recently, to create wikipedia CDs, and I've been able to get the full text of the English wikipedia, in a browsable format, into under 450MB. Searching isn't implemented yet, but I think it should be possible to fit a search index, plus all of the images from Commons, onto a single CD.
  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KingSkippus ( 799657 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:41PM (#12171613) Homepage Journal
    Not that I hope multitudes don't buy this, because any support of such and effort is good, but why would anyone buy it when you can just look it up and possibly get better updated results online?
    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pmazer ( 813537 )
      It makes sense for laptops which aren't always online. If you're writing a paper on your laptop and want to look something up, but can't easily get to a hotspot.
    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Chemical ( 49694 )
      Because their site is slow, and the search engine always seems to be disabled for "performance reasons". I would consider it if the DVD included an enhanced search feature.
    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Informative)

      by sinclair44 ( 728189 )
      Wikipedia's servers are often overloaded. My net connection can go offline somtimes. It's 100% positivly available for a research paper, and will 100% be around to back you up. You can run complex searches on an offline version much better/nicer/faster than an online version (if you can run it online at all). You can show it off to friends. Or a multitude of other reasons.
    • by acm ( 107375 )
      Not that I hope multitudes don't buy this, because any support of such and effort is good, but why would anyone buy it when you can just look it up and possibly get better updated results online?

      a) for when you bring your laptop with you on a safari and want to know the difference between a Bengal Tiger [wikipedia.org] and a Siberian Tiger [wikipedia.org].

      b) you work somewhere without an Internet connection at your desk (like I do), but would value Wikipedia as a handy resource to have available.

      I would love to have the usenet archi

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by amliebsch ( 724858 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @09:30PM (#12171959) Journal
      First, to "lock in" decent versions of controversial articles. But second and more importantly, to be able to produce a stable, constant "edition" that can be referenced and cited to. How do you cite Wikipedia, when the content is always changing? Now you could write a paper and cite something like Person, Random, "Wikipedia Article," Wikipedia 2d ed. (2006). Very, very, important if WP is to become a legitimate source of information.
      • Really? WHY? It's not factual, often more farcicle. Wiki is based on consensus and not facts, and reality (nor the facts) change because a large number or people believe something is so.

        Going to Wiki is a waste of time, I honestly can't understand why people do it.
        • I probably HBT, but anyway - your "waste of time" statement is just not true. Many, many articles on Wikipedia are excellent: informative, detailed, and well-written. In particular, I often have occasion to look up information about mathematical topics, and have usually found the maths articles to be highly useful.

          For example, compare the Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] for "Lie group" with the Mathworld entry [wolfram.com]. There are many other pages of a similar, or higher, level of quality.

          Of course, you have to take everything on
  • But... (Score:5, Funny)

    by over_exposed ( 623791 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:42PM (#12171621) Homepage
    How will the trolls deface a read-only version of it?
  • why this is good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by izzo nizzo ( 731042 )
    Because you gotta love it when people get paid while continuing to give you their stuff for free. Everybody wins.
    • Re:why this is good (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DerekLyons ( 302214 )
      Because you gotta love it when people get paid while continuing to give you their stuff for free. Everybody wins.
      The problem is, the people making money off the DVD aren't the people creating the content. Nobody wins.
  • Neat idea, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kyle90 ( 827345 ) <kyle90@gmail.com> on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:42PM (#12171629) Homepage Journal
    I think it's a good idea to have wikipedia available in other formats than just online, but isn't the whole point of it that anyone can come and edit the articles to make them more correct? You couldn't do that with a DVD version. And unless someone is going to go through every article before putting it on a disc, you'd run the risk of buying an encyclopedia with some things blatantly wrong. I could envision pranksters trying to sneak in false information just before the DVD release...
    • you'd run the risk of buying an encyclopedia with some things blatantly wrong

      That's a standing risk with Wikipedia anyway. So what's changed?

      • by kyle90 ( 827345 )
        Well, wikipedia now is free. If I'm spending money on an encyclopedia, I'd rather it be factual. If it's free, though, I don't mind the occassional error.
      • It does seem like it might be wise not to put anything brand new on the DVD. Perhaps use the most recent version of each article that lasted for 2 weeks or more?
    • I could envision pranksters trying to sneak in false information just before the DVD release...
      But that's the benefit of the DVD ... you can do some better quality checking before the publication which ensures that (less) silly/false articles make it in.

      It also means that organisations don't waste bandwidth visiting Wikipedia all the time. Imagine a school of several thousand students, and the bandwidth used if they use the Wikipedia heaps. The school won't like it. Alternatively, the school can for
  • humm.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thundercatslair ( 809424 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:44PM (#12171637)
    I thought the whole idea behind wikipedia was that it is constantly changing. Will updated dvds be sold? And if so, will previous buyers get a discount?
  • The footprint of the english version fits on a floppy!
  • by FunWithHeadlines ( 644929 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:46PM (#12171657) Homepage
    You know how controversial subjects in the Wikipedia get fights over entries. Back and forth it goes, with one person putting their "truth" and then the opposite side removing or replacing it with their version of the "truth." Now, just picture it: The deadline for the gold master version to be put on disc is announced, and like people pouncing on an EBay auction at the last second, the warring factions will rapidly replace each other's versions of an article, hoping that their version is the one to be immortalized on disc.
  • by rice_burners_suck ( 243660 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:47PM (#12171662)
    With Wikipedia taking up so much space on DVD, I certainly hope they compress the text. It should actually compress quite nicely, I think.

    I wonder... does this 2-DVD set include all articles from Wikipedia? (As opposed to some just selected somehow...) Also, I wonder if the DVD version will include all the version changes to the articles. If not, then perhaps the best version was picked out somehow?

    Hmmm... This is what I think needs to happen: Wait a few more years for Wikipedia to gain even more information, and then put some kind of button on pages that allows users to "vote" for that page to be included in a dead-tree encyclopedia version of Wikipedia. The idea is to put only those articles that have the highest votes into a traditional-style encyclopedia that can rival the likes of commercially made ones. Of course, there would need to be ways to cite sources, to make the encyclopedia worthy of academic research and the like, and preferably there should also be a way for people who want to do other stuff than write articles to submit photographs or whatever kind of artwork, of their own creation and released under the free license of Wikipedia, for inclusion in the articles. For the print version, people might be able to vote for the "best" photographs and artwork for inclusion. At that point, it should be a matter of running some perl script or something to typeset the whole darn thing. This might find its way into libraries and into peoples' homes. Imagine that!

  • Out of date already? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by toddbu ( 748790 )
    I like the fact that Wikipedia is always current, so I don't know why I'd ever want this on DVD. For example, they had a great article on the pope the other day which was current right up through his death. Since I can just look this up online, why would I want stale information stored on my computer? I have a set of World Books on the shelf, and we keep them around for when you want to do research when "otherwise occupied" (i.e. sitting on the can). Of course now that I have a Zaurus with wireless netw
    • If you have access to all that information online, why do you even need the books?

      If you don't have access to all that information online, why would you say no source of information which is probably more up-to-date than the books? And, at ten euros for the German version, almost certainly WAY cheaper?

    • why would I want stale information stored on my computer?

      Because they only things you can cite to in legitimate academic or scholarly work are volumes or editions that do not change, so that anybody can use your citiation to verify your source.

  • by spagthorpe ( 111133 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:49PM (#12171681)
    How often do existing pages change? Maybe in a case where people catch errors.

    I have a spare 20GB lying around that I would install this on, if there was some way to sync it with the current state and have it download new pages and update current ones.
  • School usage (Score:3, Insightful)

    by under_R_run ( 816581 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:50PM (#12171689)
    This would be great for schools. They could buy the DVD set and set up a local "mirror" of Wikipedia to increase access speed and decrease Wikipedia bandwidth usage.
    • And not have to worry that something might get defaced or vandalised.

      Can you imagine the uproar if lil' Johnny's parents saw "disgusting language" in printouts he was using for a school project on baseball?

      Having research material in a known state should reduce the school's administration's collective anxiety level.
    • Re:School usage (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Horrortaxi ( 803536 )
      No no no. One of the reasons you do research papers in school is so you can learn to evaluate sources of information--basically so you can tell shit from shinola. Wikipedia would never make it into the reference page of anybody who was taking their assignment seriously. I'm sure as teachers get hip to Wikipedia they'll start explicitly telling students not to use it.
  • by Phexro ( 9814 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:51PM (#12171693)
    ...when I say, "two single-layer DVDs, or dual-layer?"
  • No real point for me (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Altima(BoB) ( 602987 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:52PM (#12171705)
    Say what you will about Wikipedia's well know flaws (revert wars, submitters with thinly veiled political agendas and other various sub-vices) but part of the appeal of Wikipedia is simply the form of its current incarnation.

    Right now, if I wanted background information on something, I just load up the (usually speedy) bookmark, enter the search and within seconds I have my answer. Why should it then become a more laborious to use resource? 2 DVDs? No only would constantly inserting and removing discs and launching extra applications provide more hassle (not too much more, but enough to make its value as an ultra speedy information center reduced) how would the information be sorted? Imagine half the links on any page requiring you to switch discs? For me, one of the great ways to use Wikipedia is to wander from article to article following the various text links. A multi-disc setup like this would only discourage that method.

    Finally, I don't really think Wikipedia is ready to be put onto physical media for distribution. I certainly wouldn't trust it for more than satiating my curiosity, for instance I'd never cite it in an essay as a source. Articles with heavy disputes in their comments abound and many have no easy answers with how to solve an article's problems. So putting it on DVDs is a two fold problem, you don't get the advantage of having your data updated constantly by other users, but you'll also be working with a lot of flawed data that will be flawed forever on the disc. Perhaps I'm exagerating the problems a little, but really, who needs this? It's not like it's a cheapr printed encyclopedia alternativ to Brittanica, and since it'll be in electronic form anyway, why NOT use the web for it, you don't have to store any of it yourself.

    The only audiance I can think of that would need this are Wikipedia addicts who spend a lot of time without internet access.

    Sorry for being overly negative, I really love using Wikipedia, but I think this move kind of messes up the point...
    • "I certainly wouldn't trust it for more than satiating my curiosity, for instance I'd never cite it in an essay as a source. Articles with heavy disputes in their comments abound and many have no easy answers with how to solve an article's problems."

      Because, of course, authors of printed materials are always objectives, have no hidden agenda of any sort, and don't get lost in holy wars. Yeah. Sure.

      Having been all the way into university, I can swear to you that absolutely no reference whatsoever ever kee

    • I totally couldn't agree more. Wikipedia is not a definitive source but most of the time just out of interest you can learn a lot. In reality citing any encyclopedia for serious research is unheard of. The last time I used an encyclopedia for a project and cited it was in elementary school.
  • Is this legal? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nebaz ( 453974 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:52PM (#12171710)
    In order to publish and SELL this information on CD/DVD, does the Wikipedia Foundation have to get the permission of all the article writers, or is there, perhaps, a clause on the website that says something like 'we own all the stuff put on here'. What would happen if Slashdot sold versions of article comments on DVD?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:53PM (#12171715)
    A lot of vandals copy/paste text from copyrighted websites onto Wikipedia, usually they get found and deleted but some are missed. If they sell copies of Wikipedia then they are going to get tons of copyright infringement lawsuits.
  • by rice_burners_suck ( 243660 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:57PM (#12171751)
    Here's an idea I just dreamed up... It shouldn't be too hard or costly to do, but it might make the Wikipedia folks quite a lot of money, if it works:

    On each Wikipedia article, there should be a button where users can vote an article as being "worthy" for academic research and the like. Articles that receive high votes would actually get published in a monthly (or even by-weekly) magazine... So, for example, each month, subscribers would receive the magazine in the mail, and it would contain, in addition to paid advertising like any other magazine, something like ten or fifteen articles randomly chosen from Wikipedia. These would cover a broad range of topics. One month, you might receive a magazine with articles about Argentina, transaxles, grep, electromagnetism, George Washington, the Berlin wall, Apollo 9, goldfish, ballpoint pens, and cow manure. Some subscribers will already be familiar with some of the topics; others might not be interested in some of the topics; but chances are that if you pick up this magazine and read it, even for a few minutes a month, you'll learn some interesting new facts here and there, usually about topics that you'd never consider reading about in any serious manner, but which you're reading because the Wikipedia Magazine happens to be there.

    Links at the bottom of articles would direct the reader to the article online. This would serve an additional purpose: People who find something missing or something that could be improved in an article would perhaps be more likely to find out about it and then go online and fix it, thereby improving the quality of the entire Wikipedia.

    Money from subscriptions; money from advertisers in all fields (not just technical, and perhaps based on the content of that month's magazine) would finance the magazine and help finance Wikipedia. I see this as an opportunity to make quite a profit on something that is free, while mainly benefiting the community by doing so.

  • Unless.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Teja ( 826685 )
    Honestly, I'm wondering how the CD will be like. Will they include an option for you to have the ability to update the content at your setting? Or will it be so that you have to buy a new version everytime? I'm thinking that they will include an option to update but you can also buy newer versions so that you don't have to spend time updating (I hope)
  • How much will it cost? If it is more then ten bucks then I'll probably just warez it.
    • Re:Hmm (Score:2, Informative)

      by pluke ( 801200 )
      from the amazon site http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/3898530205/q id=1112923136/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl/302-436 0157-7192803 it's 9,90 euro which is about $6-7.
  • by AeonOfReason ( 757301 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @09:11PM (#12171854)
    You know, Wikipedia is ripe for a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy treatment.

    Put it in a little handheld, stick an Ipod hard drive in it, give it a usb port so it can grab updates, and presto.

    As for Wiki itself, "At least where it is inaccurate, it is definitively inaccurate." -Douglas Adams
  • The fine print (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bifurcati ( 699683 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @09:19PM (#12171906) Homepage
    Just so we're clear, the article says that the majority of the price is going towards production costs and paying amazon. But if you're cheap, and really want a DVD set, then you can just download the images off "various websites", presumably to burn at your leisure.

    It's hard to get a more friendly distribution method than that!

  • Vandals (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bifurcati ( 699683 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @09:22PM (#12171919) Homepage
    Although vandals are rare, it's not inconceivable that across their entire page set there would be at least one vandalised page. Kind of unfortunate if that gets included in the DVDs!

    Anyone know if they have any way of stopping this?

  • by bombadier_beetle ( 871107 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @09:43PM (#12172026)
    ... maybe the zealots who use Wikipedia as their ideological battleground (e.g. this, [wikipedia.org] this, [wikipedia.org] or this [wikipedia.org]) can host their own wikipediae, with their own versions of The Truth, and thus the revision wars on the original Wikipedia will stop.

    Or not.
  • by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @10:15PM (#12172219) Homepage
    I first heard about this back in July of 2004. The people at Mandrake had already approached some of our people, and told us they wanted to put Wikipedia on DVD. The stumbling block was, of course, copyright issues. We launched a copyright tagging project in August - basically, they did an sql dump of the list of all uploaded files that had no copyright tag and tagged them. In January, Angela sent them an email, telling them it was done, and that's when the DVD project actually started.
  • Stupid Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MSTCrow5429 ( 642744 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @10:29PM (#12172295)
    What's the point? Wikipedia is an inherently online medium. The articles change daily, new ones are created, etc. This cannot be reasonably placed on a static medium.
  • Deutche has an amazing built-in fractal encoding scheme. For example, the German version may say:
    Gerflugenichterschweitzenbaggen.
    whereas the English version has to write out:
    Shortly after September 11, 2001, the United States attempted to rally its allies for a strike against the presumed Al-Queda stronghold in Afghanistan.
    Unfortunately, the RAR algorithm averages a 3% compression ratio on German text, in comparison to 82% for English and 94% for French - it's like bzipping a .gz file. On the other hand, there are significant savings due to the lack of entries on "sweet nothings", "pillow talk", and "Bavarian romantic verse".
  • by andrew71 ( 134546 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @11:00PM (#12172466) Homepage

    self upgrading... and of course, based on GNU/Linux :)
  • I think you're all missing the point. I'd love to kick back with Wikipedia during a long plane trip and depth-first traverse myself into oblivion. I have friends who live in rural areas with bad phone lines who might still like to read a few articles. A lot of restaurants in my town still don't have wifi, so I can't browse during lunch.

    I can think of a million and one reasons why having a fixed version that is instantly available would be a very handy thing indeed. I have all the Internet connectivity I could want (short of a neural interface), but I'd still probably shell out a few bucks for a copy.

  • by cbreaker ( 561297 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @11:19PM (#12172565) Journal
    Althought I think actually USING the DVD set for normal use when you have broadband kinda defeats the purpose, I can think of a few reasons why it could be a good thing.

    A) Archival. Average users will be able to get a working, usable snapshot of Wikipedia, with media.

    B) Preservation. If Wikipedia were to shut down, you'd have a copy of it.

    C) Faster access. If you have a slow connection, you can still access Wikipedia at fast speeds. This benefit dwindles over time as articles are updated.

    D) Offline access. If you're on the road with no net connection, you can still access Wikipedia. This benefit also dwindles over time as articles are updated.

    E) Although backed by Google now which helps with the financials, if it brings in some cash to help support itself it's likely to stay around for much longer.

  • by hacker ( 14635 ) <hacker@gnu-designs.com> on Friday April 08, 2005 @12:11AM (#12172848)
    I've been working on the Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], Wikiquote [wikiquote.org], Wiktionary [wiktionary.org] and other similar works to convert them to Palm handheld formats (primarily Plucker [plkr.org] format, but now iSilo for those users as well, with less functionality in iSilo, of course). I did a lot of work to the core Mediawiki [sourceforge.net] software that drives it, to make it more usable on handheld devices.

    You can see my work so far at the following links:

    ..and of course, my beautiful anti-alias fonts for Plucker [plkr.org], made with PalmFontConv [sourceforge.net] by Alexander Pruss [palmgear.com].

    I've also converted the Creating XPCOM Components [mozilla.org] book by Doug Turner and Ian Oeschger to Plucker format [plkr.org] as well as the FreeBSD Handbook [plkr.org].

    I have literally hundreds of similar-quality works I'll be releasing over the next few months to the community on an ongoing basis.

    If there's something you'd like to see, just let me know [mailto]

  • by blonde rser ( 253047 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @12:23AM (#12172917) Homepage
    I hope the take the history of Mathworld [wolfram.com] as a warning as what can happen in the publishing world.
  • Wikimedia Foundation (Score:4, Informative)

    by dolmen.fr ( 583400 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @12:24PM (#12177146) Homepage
    This is about the Wikimedia Foundation [wikimedia.org], not Wikipedia Foundation which doesn't exist.
    Both the article and the /. post are wrong.

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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