Do you happen to have 650 GB of free diskspace? If so, you can grab a copy of Wikipedia. Don’t fret: The compressed download of all language editions only clocks in at 40 gigabytes. Thanks to our developer Tim Starling for working on this project.

As a non-profit organization and a social movement, it’s our core mission to give free knowledge away to everyone. All the text content of Wikipedia is available for free download, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. The point of offering these downloadable archives is not just to make it possible to read Wikipedia while you’re on a plane or without Wi-Fi — it’s to enable people without Internet connectivity to use our content in ways that make sense. In particular, using these copies, it becomes very straightforward to set up a copy of Wikipedia for a school or university with no or limited Internet access. And, if you’re clever, you can use the dump as a starting point to create a version running on DVDs or USB sticks. (As the download page notes, if you create a product using the “Wikipedia” trademark or logo, you need official permission from the Wikimedia Foundation.)

For the technically inclined: The static HTML dumps are an alternative offering to our XML dumps in the original wiki syntax. The key advantage is that they don’t require any additional software to be useful: You can literally simply download them (provided you can handle the amount of data) and open them in your web browser. The wiki syntax format, on the other hand, offers third party users more flexibility in the ways they want to render the output.

Go ahead and download the data while it’s fresh. And if you have interesting stories about the ways in which you’re using your static copy, please drop a note to our Head of Communications, jwalsh(at)wikimedia(dot)org. :-)

Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation<