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kiwix, kiwix download
Kiwix is a free and open-source offline web browser created by Emmanuel Engelhart and Renaud Gaudin in 2007 It was first launched to allow offline access to Wikipedia, but has since expanded to include other projects from the Wikimedia foundation as well as public domain texts from the Project Gutenberg Available in more than 100 languages, Kiwix has been included in several high-profile projects, from smuggling operations in North Korea to Google Impact Challenge's recipient Libraries Without Borders


  • 1 History
  • 2 Description
  • 3 Available content
  • 4 Deployments
    • 41 Stand-alone
    • 42 Package managers and app stores
  • 5 Motivation
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links


Kiwix's CH Open Source Award 2015

After becoming a Wikipedia editor in 2004, Emmanuel Engelhart became interested in developing offline versions of Wikipedia A project to make a Wikipedia CD, initiated in 2003, was a trigger for the project

In 2012 Kiwix won a grant from Wikimedia France to build kiwix-plug, which was deployed in universities in eleven countries in the Afripedia Project

In February 2013 Kiwix won SourceForge's Project of the Month award

Kiwix won a CH Open Source Award in 2015


Wikipedia on a USB drive, using Kiwix

The software is designed as an offline reader for web content It is used on computers without an internet connection, computers with a slow or expensive connection, and to avoid censorship It can also be used while travelling eg on a plane or train

Downloading new content files on an early version of Kiwix

Users first download Kiwix, then download content for offline viewing with Kiwix see picture Compression saves disk space and bandwidth All of Wikipedia, with pictures, fits on a USB stick 54G as of May 2016, 16G with no pictures

All content files are compressed in ZIM format, which makes them smaller, but leaves them easy to index, search, and selectively decompress

The ZIM files are then opened with Kiwix, which looks and behaves like a web browser Kiwix offers full text search, tabbed navigation and the option to export articles to PDF and HTML

There is an HTTP server version called kiwix-serve; this allows a computer to host Kiwix content, and make it available to other computers on a network The other computers see an ordinary website kiwix-plug is a version for plug computers which is often used to provide a wifi server

Kiwix uses the deprecated Mozilla framework localised on Translatewikinet, but plans to replace it

Available content

Reading “Le Petit Prince” through Kiwix on an e-book reader in Mali Reading Wikipedia through Kiwix on a boat in the South Pacific

A list of content available on Kiwix exists; sublists for content in specific languages also exist Content can be loaded thought Kiwix itself see screenshot

Since 2014, most Wikipedia versions are available for download in various different languages The servers are updated every two to six months, depending on the size of the file For English Wikipedia, a full version containing pictures as well as alternative version containing text only can be downloaded from the archive This allows users to save disk space and bandwidth while downloading

Besides Wikipedia, content from the Wikimedia foundation such as Wikisource, Wikiquote, Wikivoyage, Wikibooks and Wikiversity are available for offline viewing in various different languages

In November 2014 a ZIM version of all open texts forming part of Project Gutenberg was made available

Besides public domain content, works licensed under a Creative Commons license are available for download For example, offline versions of the Ubuntu wiki containing user documentation for the Ubuntu operating system, ZIM editions of TED conference talks and videos from Crash Course are available in the Kiwix archive as ZIM file formats


A ship with Kiwix on board in Antarctic waters One Laptop per Child deploys Kiwix Locations of 13 universities where Kiwix was deployed as part of the Afripedia Project A Raspberry Pi, with wi-fi dongle and a Powerbank, used to serve Kiwix in Tanzania

As a software development project, Kiwix itself is not directly involved in deployment projects However, Wikimedia or third part organisations use the software as a component of their own projects Examples include:

  • Universities and libraries that can't afford broadband Internet access
    • The Afripedia Project set up kiwix servers in French-speaking universities some of them with no Internet access in 11 African countries
  • Schools in developing countries, where access to the internet is difficult or too expensive
    • Kiwix is installed on the computers used for the One Laptop per Child project
    • Kiwix has been installed on Raspberry Pis for use in schools with no electricity in Tanzania by the Tanzania Development Trust
    • Kiwix was installed on tablets in schools in Mali in the MALebooks project
    • The Fondation Orange has used kiwix-serve in its own technological knowledge product they have deployed in Africa
  • Schools in the developed world
    • A special version for the organisation SOS-Kinderdorf was developed, initially for developing countries, but it is also used in the developed world
  • At sea and in other remote areas
    • Aboard ship in Antarctic waters
    • Kiwix is included in Navigatrix, a Linux distribution for people on boats
  • On a train or plane
  • In jail
    • Wikimedia CH has deployed Kiwix in many jails in Switzerland


Kiwix can be installed on a desktop computer as a stand-alone program through the Kiwix webpage

Package managers and app stores

Kiwix was formerly available in the native package managers of some Linux distributions However, Kiwix is currently not available in most package databases, due to XULRunner, a program on which Kiwix depends, being deprecated by Mozilla and removed from the package databases Kiwix is available in the Sugar and ArchLinux Linux distributions It is also available on Android

The Kiwix Linux Packaging Project aims to get Kiwix into Linux package databases; it is currently seeking 10 000 Swiss francs and an SSL security certificate

Kiwix is available on GooglePlay and iTunes


Founder Emmanuel Engelhart sees Wikipedia as a common good, saying “The contents of Wikipedia should be available for everyone! Even without Internet access This is why I have launched the Kiwix project Our users are all over the world: sailors on the oceans, poor students thirsty for knowledge, globetrotters almost living in planes, world’s citizens suffering from censorship or free minded prisoners For all these people, Kiwix provides a simple and practical solution to ponder about the world”


  1. ^ a b c d e "Kiwix" SourceForge Retrieved 22 March 2012 
  2. ^ Kiwix iTunes page
  3. ^ a b c d Joe Sutherland: Emmanuel Engelhart, Inventor of Kiwix: the Offline Wikipedia Browser In: Wikimedia Blog 12 September 2014 Accessed on 26 November 2014
  4. ^ "The plot to free North Korea with smuggled episodes of "Friends"" Retrieved 27 April 2016 
  5. ^ "Les Lauréats du Google Impact Challenge" Retrieved 27 April 2016 
  6. ^ Citazine article on Afripedia in French
  7. ^ Traoré, Kardiatou "Afripédia : un projet de promotion de Wikipédia en Afrique" wwwafrikcom Retrieved 2016-03-08 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Kiwix Aims to spread Wikipedia's Reach" Slashdotorg 2013-02-04 Retrieved 2013-07-10 
  9. ^ "OSS Awards küren Schweizer Open-Source-Projekte" Netzwoche Retrieved 2015-12-08 
  10. ^ a b "Content in all languages - Kiwix" wwwkiwixorg Retrieved 2016-08-08 
  11. ^ Kiwix-serve
  12. ^ "Kiwix-plug - Kiwix" wwwkiwixorg Retrieved 2016-03-08 
  13. ^ "Translating:Kiwix - translatewikinet" translatewikinet Retrieved 2016-03-08 
  14. ^ a b "Linux Packaging project - Kiwix" wwwkiwixorg Retrieved 2016-03-08 
  15. ^ Children in Mali can now read Wikipedia offline
  16. ^ Sailing the South Pacific
  17. ^ Zim archive for Kiwix
  18. ^ Emmanuel Engelhart: 50000 public domain books available to everybody, everywhere, offline In: Wikisource-l-Mailinglist 19 November 2014 Accessed on 26 November 2014
  19. ^ "Words and what not: #Wikimedia & Project #Gutenberg - the sum of all knowledge" ultimategerardmblogspotch Retrieved 2016-03-08 
  20. ^ Ubuntuusers Hilfsmittel
  21. ^ Kiwix archive for TED
  22. ^ Kiwix archive for additional content
  23. ^ Kiwix in Antarctica
  24. ^ a b "Main Page - Kiwix" wwwkiwixorg Retrieved 2016-03-08 
  25. ^ "Afripedia project increasing off-line access to Wikipedia in Africa" Wikimedia blog Retrieved 2016-03-08 
  26. ^ "fr ASRI Education may 2013" in French Asri-educationorg Retrieved 2013-07-10 
  27. ^ "Raspberry Pi in Masekelo: Bringing Wikipedia to a school without electricity" Wikimedia blog Retrieved 2016-03-08 
  28. ^ "Children in Mali can now read Wikipedia offline, thanks to MALebooks e-readers" Wikimedia blog Retrieved 2016-03-08 
  29. ^ Fondation Orange: le programme "écoles numériques"
  30. ^ "Sailing the South Pacific with a copy of Wikipedia on board: The Goodall Family" Wikimedia blog Retrieved 2016-03-08 
  31. ^ "Hans Oleander: Using offline Wikipedia to guide tours at the bottom of the Earth" Wikimedia blog Retrieved 2016-03-08 
  32. ^ "Navigatrixnet - A Voyager's Companion" navigatrixnet Retrieved 2016-03-08 
  33. ^ "Navigatrix – the first Linux distribution for cruisers" Your Cruising Editor Retrieved 2016-03-08 
  34. ^ Amarilli, Antoine "A local copy of Wikipedia with Kiwix - a3nm's blog" a3nmnet Retrieved 2016-03-08 
  35. ^ Offline online, Annabelle, September 2014
  36. ^ "Debian - Kiwix" wwwkiwixorg Retrieved 2016-03-08 
  37. ^ "Kiwix, Wikipedia offline - Android Apps on Google Play" playgooglecom Retrieved 2016-03-08 
  38. ^ "Kiwix on the App Store" App Store Retrieved 2016-03-08 

External links

  • Official website
  • Kiwix on SourceForgenet
  • Explanation of Kiwix from Wikimania 2013
  • Kiwix Mobile Android package at the F-Droid repository
  • Kiwix stories on the Wikimedia Blog

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