Wikipedia offline (2)

(see part 1)

Okawix is, in theory, easier to install. The browser itself is available for Windows, Linux and Mac. The browser allows you to import the Wikipedia files directly. Like with Wikitaxi, you can choose a Wikipedia language version or one of the other projects. You can also choose whether to install it with or without pictures, which makes a huge difference in data size.

Alas, some downloads take a lot of time and cannot be taken up again when interrupted. For example, Wikipedia in German needs 3 GB, the additional images 13 GB. The image free versions can be downloaded also via torrent. Because of the file sizes you might tend to use the torrent, and that makes installation more complicated (you must know how to handle torrents, and link Okawix to the downloaded file). The data seem to be from September 2010.

In use, Okawix has some drawbacks. From all of the three browsers, it seems to be the less stable. A crash from time to time can happen, especially when you use the search function. Searching in general tends to take some time. On the left side bar you are offered a list of search results that thematically fit your search which is quite nice. A very stupid and unnecessary flaw are the (too) tiny letters in the search field.

Okawix has small Wikipedia pictures in the articles, but some appear very distorted. There appear a lot of links that don’t work and also are not supposed to work (?). The interface can appear in several languages and several skins; you find them if you happen by chance to do a right mouse button click. When you click on the help button in the menu, you get a blank documentation sheet.

OKAWIX RATING: installation 8 points, stability 5 points, interface 7 points, flexibility of content 10 points, illustrations 7 points, up-to-date 5 points


Kiwix as a browser combines the stability of WikiTaxi and the more advanced and button steered interface of Okawix. Kiwix uses the Wikipedia articles in the Open Zim file format which is recommended by the Wikimedia Foundation. You can download them directly from a site, or via torrent. The latter is very good because of the large files. For example, German has 13 GB (text and pictures always together). The data are from October 2010.

After the download of one of 21 language versions you tell the browser where on your hard disk is the file. The first page is the Wikipedia article about “Wikipedia”, which might be funny but is not very helpful. Why not present the main page? A major fun killer is the indexing: After the installation, when you try to use the search function you are told that the pages must be indexed, and after clicking Yes, you will see a time bar with the progress. Indexing takes very long, possibly more than half of a day, so you may do that over night.

But when everything is ready, you will enjoy your Kiwix which is a quick and stable browser. From all of the three browsers, it resembles the original Wikipedia click and feel the most. The pictures are small but good, the links work, also the categories. Using a different language version requires going to the menu and open the file in question.

KIWIX RATING: installation 6 points, stability 8 points, interface 8 points, flexibility of content 4 points, illustrations 9 points, up-to-date 5 points

Conclusion: Kiwix with its stability, quickness and images gives certainly the best browser feeling. But when you need smaller files, because your hard disk is small, use Okawix or WikiTaxi. The latter is the only one that provides you with the latest versions, while only Okawix is available also for Linux and Mac.


5 thoughts on “Wikipedia offline (2)

  1. Again, thanks for the hard work of testing, Ziko. Could you please elaborate on one point: I think about using an offline version of the German Wikipedia as a fallback solution for talks in schools which tend to have rather limited bandwidth if they are situated in the countryside. So I wonder whether Wikix, or indeed any other Wikipedia browser you have mentioned so far provides the articles as well as talk pages, and the page histories which is essenatial for a full demonstration? I would just try it out if the download were not so big, as 13GB would take some 13 hours of online time (and bandwidth) in my location. Thx!

  2. Dear Jfenn, talk pages were in no browser-system I have seen. These offline versions make a pretty encyclopedia but show, indeed, nearly nothing of the work behind the scenes.

  3. anything for a PPC mac? I tried Kiwix and Okawix to no avail :(.
    Please help, I’ve been trying for a week. Mediawiki has a plugin but I’m far from a php programmer and the install weighed heavy on my brain. Mediawiki is installed yet, I have no clue how to install the huge data dump I already have downloaded.

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