|Developer(s)||Emmanuel Engelhart, Renaud Gaudin|
|Operating system||Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, Windows 10 Mobile|
|Available in||100 languages|
Kiwix is a free and open-source offline web browser created by Emmanuel Engelhart and Renaud Gaudin in 2007. It was first launched to allow offline access to Wikipedia, but has since expanded to include other projects from the Wikimedia Foundation as well as public domain texts from Project Gutenberg. Available in more than 100 languages, Kiwix has been included in several high-profile projects, from smuggling operations in North Korea and encyclopedic access in Cuba to Google Impact Challenge's recipient Bibliothèques Sans Frontières.
Founder Emmanuel Engelhart sees Wikipedia as a common good, saying "The contents of Wikipedia should be available for everyone! Even without Internet access. This is why I have launched the Kiwix project."
After becoming a Wikipedia editor in 2004, Emmanuel Engelhart became interested in developing offline versions of Wikipedia. A project to make a Wikipedia CD, initiated in 2003, was a trigger for the project.
In 2012 Kiwix won a grant from Wikimedia France to build kiwix-plug, which was deployed to universities in eleven countries known as the Afripedia Project. In February 2013 Kiwix won SourceForge's Project of the Month award and an Open Source Award in 2015.
The software is designed as an offline reader for web content. It can be used on computers without an internet connection, computers with a slow or expensive connection, or to avoid censorship. It can also be used while traveling (e.g. on a plane or train).
Users first download Kiwix, then download content for offline viewing with Kiwix. Compression saves disk space and bandwidth. All of English-language Wikipedia, with pictures, fits on a USB stick (78 GB as of March 2020, or 16 GB with no pictures).
All content files are compressed in ZIM format, which makes them smaller, but leaves them easy to index, search, and selectively decompress.
There is an HTTP server version called kiwix-serve; this allows a computer to host Kiwix content, and make it available to other computers on a network. The other computers see an ordinary website. Kiwix-hotspot is an HTTP server version for plug computers, which is often used to provide a Wi-Fi server.
A list of content available on Kiwix is available for download, including language-specific sublists. Content can be loaded through Kiwix itself.
Since 2014, most Wikipedia versions are available for download in various different languages. For English Wikipedia, a full version containing pictures as well as an alternative version containing text only can be downloaded from the archive. The servers are updated every two to ten months, depending on the size of the file. For English Wikipedia, the update frequency is thus substantially lower than the bzip2 database downloads by the Wikimedia Foundation, which are updated twice a month.[circular reference]
Besides Wikipedia, content from the Wikimedia foundation such as Wikisource, Wikiquote, Wikivoyage, Wikibooks, and Wikiversity are also available for offline viewing in various different languages.
Besides public domain content, works licensed under a Creative Commons license are available for download as well. For example, offline versions of the Ubuntu wiki containing user documentation for the Ubuntu operating system, ZIM editions of TED conference talks and videos from Crash Course are available in the Kiwix archive as ZIM file formats.
As a software development project, Kiwix itself is not directly involved in deployment projects. However, third party organisations do use the software as a component of their own projects. Examples include:
Kiwix was formerly available in the native package managers of some Linux distributions. However, Kiwix is currently not available in most package databases, due to XULRunner, a program on which Kiwix depends, being deprecated by Mozilla and removed from the package databases. Kiwix is available in the Sugar and ArchLinux Linux distributions. It is also available on Android.
Kiwix is available in the Microsoft Store, on Google Play, and Apple's iOS App Store. Since 2015, a series of "customized apps" have also been released, of which Medical Wikipedia and PhET simulations are the two largest.
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