How to: Carry Wikipedia content on a USB pen drive

This instruction is meant for Windows users.

You’ll need atleast a 16 GB pendrive to carry Wikipedia.

Method 1 : Easy method
For those who are not willing to go through a lot of pain in learning new things, this is the simpler method

  1. First download the latest content from Wikipedia. This is a single file of size 5.1 GB as on today and downloading could take hours.
  2. The latest dump is presently at http://dumps.wikimedia.org/enwiki/latest/enwiki-latest-pages-articles.xml.bz2. Copy the downloaded .bz2 file to, say C:\wikipedia.
  3. After this 5.1 GB download is complete, it is necessary to download the software that can read this huge file.
  4. The simplest is wikitaxi. Download Wikitaxi and unzip to the same folder, C:\wikipedia
  5. You should see two executable files now. The wikitaxi executable is the one that should be used to run wikipedia. The wikitaxi importer executable is the one we need to use to convert the .bz2 file downloaded into a .taxi file.
  6. Run the wikitaxi importer executable and let it convert the .bz2 file into a .taxi file. This takes a long time and produces a single 9.2 GB file with a .taxi extension.
  7. Once .taxi file is made run the wikitaxi executable and open the .taxi file. You should be able to browse  the content of wikipedia, but with a slightly different look.
  8. Now copy the C:\wikipedia folder to a pendrive and you have a portable version for personal reference.


Method 2: For the geeks

You probably don’t need to read this, but the best way is to clearly to host the entire content on the same platform that Wikipedia does.

  1. Install XAMPP on a pen drive
  2. Install Mediawiki on XAMPP
  3. Download the latest Wikipedia dump
  4. Import the dump to Mediawiki.

Voila! You have the portable and perfect replica of Wikipedia.

How to change the skin of a mediawiki based site?

Unlike wordpress users who are spoilt for choices, there aren’t really many good skin options for mediawiki users.

There are not many sites that distribute mediawiki skins.

Wikimedia has a few skins and Mediawiki2u.com has another few. If you google hard enough, you can find a few more sites out there.

  1. Lets us say we want to install a theme whose name is bluetheme.
  2. Down load your mediawiki skin. It is usually a zip/rar/tgz archive. bluetheme.zip/bluetheme.rar/bluetheme.tgz
  3. Unzip the archive to a local folder and examine it.
  4. Usually, the .php files for the theme are in provided along with the theme.
  5. In this case you should have two files called bluetheme.php and bluetheme.deps.php and all other files should be in a subfolder bluetheme.
  6. Upload bluetheme.php, bluetheme.deps.php and the blue themes subfolder to the /skins folder your mediawiki directory.
  7. To activate the theme that was just uploaded you will need to modify your LocalSettings.php file in the / folder of your mediawiki installation.
  8. Open LocalSetting.php in a text editor. Locate the text “$wgDefaultSkin = ‘monobook’;” and replace it with “$wgDefaultSkin = ‘bluetheme’;”
  9. Clear your browser cache and refresh the site to see the new theme.

In case bluetheme.php is not a part of the theme you downloaded, you can manually create it by editing the existing files. For more detailed instructions, read this.