Title : Host your own wikipedia backup
Date : 13 November 2019
Tags : openbsd wikipedia life
## Wikipedia and openzim
If you ever wanted to host your own wikipedia replica, here is the simplest
As wikipedia is REALLY huge, you don't really want to host a php wikimedia
software and load the huge database, instead, the project made the *openzim*
format to compress the huge database that wikipedia became while allowing using
it for fast searches.
Sadly, on OpenBSD, we have no software reading zim files and most software
requires the library openzim to work which requires extra work to get it as a
package on OpenBSD.
Hopefully, there is a python package implementing all you need as pure python
to serve zim files over http and it's easy to install.
This tutorial should work on all others unix like systems but packages or
binary names may change.
## Downloading wikipedia
The project Kiwix is responsible for wikipedia files, they create regularly
files from various projects (including stackexchange, gutenberg, wikibooks
etc...) but for this tutorial we want wikipedia:
You will find a lot of files, the language is contained into the filename. Some
filenames will also self explain if they contain everything or categories, and
if they have pictures or not.
The full French file is 31.4 GB worth.
## Running the server
For the next steps, I recommend setting up a new user dedicated to this.
On OpenBSD, we will require python3 and pip:
$ doas pkg_add py3-pip--
Then we can use pip to fetch and install dependencies for the zimply software,
the flag `--user` is rather important as it allows any user to download and
install python libraries in its home folder instead of polluting the whole
system as root.
$ pip3.7 install --user --upgrade zimply
I wrote a small script to start the server using the zim file as a parameter, I
rarely write python so the script may not be high standard.
from zimply import ZIMServer
if len(sys.argv) == 1:
print("usage: " + sys.argv + " file")
print("Can't find file " + sys.argv)
And then you can start the server using the command:
$ python3.7 server.py /path/to/wikipedia_fr_all_maxi_2019-08.zim
You will be able to access wikipedia on the url http://localhost:9454/
Note that this is not a "wiki" as you can't see history and edit/create pages.
This kind of backup is used in place like Cuba or Africa areas where people
don't have unlimited internet access, the project lead by Kiwix allow more
people to access knowledge.