oliver.moran at gmail
Aug 15, 2011, 1:14 AM
Post #25 of 42
Yes, it's not about the "end of the world is neigh" type scenario. It's just
Re: We need to make it easy to fork and leave
[In reply to]
a simple matter of, 'If I wanted a complete copy of Wikipedia, how do I get
There answer is that there are several ways.
First off, there are the DB dumps (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Database_download). However, these
are so phenomenally large that they cannot be considered for everyday
use. These are what I assume professional forks of Wikipedia content are
based off today.
For everyday users, the simplest way to fork a project is to use
the Special:Export/Special:Import tools (e.g.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Export). Using these, anyone can simply
choose the articles they want to fork, export them to a file, and then
import that file them into their own MediaWiki installation. Templates are
included and if images are from the Commons then these will be picked up by
a MediaWiki installation anyway.
There is also the API (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/api.php), which is a very
useful tool. If someone had a particular requirement for forking (e.g. they
wanted to create a compendium of articles that they or their friends had
contributed to on Wikipedia), the API would be a very able tool to do
so. Yes, you need technical knowledge to do so, but no more than you would
need to properly maintain a fork in any case. For someone with medium
programmings skills, it's not hard, and there are tools out there to make it
even easier (http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/API:Client_Code).
In all, it is quite easy to fork any Wikimedia project. There may be
a question of distributed sharing of the DB dumps (e.g. share via a torrent
so that if the Wikimedia turned evil there may still be seeders of the DB
dumps out there). But, all things being considered, there are plenty of Plan
C's out there - and they are being used in practice already.
2011/8/15 David Richfield <davidrichfield [at] gmail>
> On Mon, Aug 15, 2011 at 6:04 AM, Tim Starling <tstarling [at] wikimedia>
> > On 12/08/11 20:55, David Gerard wrote:
> >> THESIS: Our inadvertent monopoly is *bad*. We need to make it easy to
> >> fork the projects, so as to preserve them.
> > I must have missed the place where you actually made this case. I
> > tried reading your blog posts but I didn't see it there.
> > In 2005 you said that the point is to insure the data against the
> > financial collapse of the Foundation.
> It's not just financial collapse. When Sun was acquired by Oracle and
> they started messing about with OpenOffice, it was not hard to fork
> the project - take the codebase and run with it. It's not that easy
> for Wikipedia, and we want to make sure that it remains doable, or
> else the Foundation has too much power over the content community.
> Let me make it clear that I currently am happy with the Foundation,
> and don't see a fork as necessary. If the community has a problem
> with the board at any point, we can elect a new one. If things
> change, however, and it becomes clear that the project is being
> jeopardised by the management, we need a plan C.
> David Richfield
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