Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Offline Encyclopedia Content - Spanish

For the last couple years I've been looking for a good source of encyclopedia content in Spanish for Linux with pictures included. In the past I've used downloaded wikipedia dumps, but these did not include photos and did not include smart searching functionality.

I then stumbled across CDPedia in Spanish. I downloaded CDPedia project and found it worked well on Win XP machines, but did not work on the Ubuntu or Linux Mint machines I had. Additionally, it took days to download the CD version and weeks for the DVD version as there were limited torrent seeders with limited bandwidth.

Most recently a couple new programs with a lot of promise have shown up: Kiwix and Okawix. Both of these are opensource with free content. Both are relative newcomers.

Kiwix uses the open source ZIM format. It can be installed in Ubuntu derivative OS's natively from a personal package archive as follows.
  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kiwixteam/ppa
  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get install kiwix
  • download ZIM file from
  • Open ZIM file after moving to desired location.
  • Before performing first search the system will ask you to index the file which will take a while.
Kiwix shows a lot of promise and seems to be quite stable and simple to use. Tested version is 0.9 alpha. After opening the Spanish wikipedia for the first time, it reopened the same file then next time it was launched. I am excited to see how this will progress. The one drawback is that there seems to be limited zim files created for Spanish content. There is the Spanish Wikipedia, but none of the other wiki content that I have yet found, but I imagine that is just a matter of time. This is definitely a strong contender for inclusion on my remastered DVD.

Okawix is similar to Kiwix. I tested version 0.7. You need to download then run its executable. If you want to access this program from the menu you need to manually make make the entries which makes setup more labor intensive and not for the novice. However, adding content is easier than Kiwix since it is literally point and click first language then type of content desired. This is a huge feature and there is much broader Spanish language content available. Also you actively choose whether to include photos or not and the files include indexes so the indexing step of installation is not required. Once a okawix wiki is included (by downloading or linking ot local source) it is included in the list of available corpus and switching between the installed wikis is simply point and click. In my last test, Okawix froze up a couple times over several days for unexplained reasons.

I'm excited to watch both of these. For Kiwix I like that is installs easily with a menu entry, seems quite stable, and has slightly simpler controls when only a single corpus is desired. For Okawix I like the broader content available. Since Wikipedia is the principal content desired, for now, I will be moving forward with Kiwix and watching Okawix waiting for a little further development.