For those of you that can't get enough Wikipedia, or even for those of you lamenting the cessation of a printed copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica, now you can take it with you in your offline life. Wikipedians can now download the entirety of the English Wikipedia - all 9.7GB of it - and access it anytime you want without the need to connect to the Internet.
The gargantuan file contains every Wikipedia page and fact up through January 2012 and comes in the OpenZIM format, which was prepared by Emmanuel Engelhart, the developer of Kiwix, which is one of the reader applications on which you you can read the Wikipedia file.
From Wikipedia's blog post announcing the new downloadable version of its English archive:
Start your BitTorrent client and grab a copy of the 9.7GB file (.torrent link, other download options). You can also download content packages directly from within Kiwix using its library feature, including content from sister projects like Wiktionary and Wikisource, as well as non-Wikimedia content.
While the ZIM file doesn’t include images (that would blow it up to ~100GB for thumbnail-sized images), it does come with all the lists, tables, citations, and even mathematical formulas included in the online version.
Honestly, even if it did include images and the file size did balloon to over 100GB of data, I have to believe that there are people who would still try to download the file.
According to Erik Moeller, the Deputy Director at the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikipedia downloads in languages other than English are also available. In an email, Moeller said that Wikipedia provides "regularly updated raw XML dumps at http://dumps.wikimedia.org/backup-index.html." He added, "We're not yet running a ZIM service of our own. ZIM files are independently provided and updated by the Kiwix project and copies in several languages can be found on the Kiwix homepage."
Do any of you think you'd actually download this file so as to have an accessible copy of Wikipedia whenever you're not online? Any particular reason? Share your thoughts below.