Wikipedia is the ultimate web success story, something made possible by the internet and one of the big examples of why the internet is so great. But the internet is only great if you can use it, which, even in the most developed parts of the world, is not always possible.
That shouldn't stop you from accessing Wikipedia though. At least, that seems to be the thinking behind a very interesting project, a full copy of the site available to anyone willing to download a 9.7 GB torrent.
"If you’d like to read Wikipedia in an airplane (of the offline variety) or in an area with no or limited connectivity, or install it in a university, or just to have it handy in case of a zombie apocalypse, you can now download a full text copy of the English Wikipedia (from January 2012) in the convenient OpenZIM format, which was specifically developed for sharing wiki content," Wikimedia announced
was put together by Emmanuel Engelhart, the developer of Kiwix, a wiki reader app. However, any app capable of handling a OpenZIM file can use the copy.
This copy contains only the text articles along with lists, tables, citations and most other text and metadata. Images are not included though, not to mention other media files. Including just the thumbnail images for all the articles would have swollen the archive to more than 100 GB.
It's hardly the first copy of a Wikipedia, but it's the first full copy of the English version, a previous attempt only archived 45,000 articles, a small fraction of the total, and dates from 2010.
There are copies of the other Wikipedia sites as well, for example full copies of the Spanish or Japanese Wikipedia, including images, dating from March 2012. The English version is from January 2012.