Wikipedia squeezed onto a single CD

Posted by Emma Woollacott

A South American group has managed to shrink virtually the full content of Wikipedia onto a CD which can be read with on-the-fly compression.

The Argentinian Python users' group, PyAr, aims to distribute the CDPedia CD to remote schools which lack connectivity.

The CD contains the full Spanish-language Wikipedia for either a 680MB CD-R or a 4.5GB DVD-R. Bittorrent is used to distribute -iso images, which can be burned to a CD-R, as well as a larger version that fits on a DVD-R.

There's a copy of the Python language - available on Linux and OSX - included on the disk for Windows users.

Content, obviously, is frozen at the point the disk was finished -  mid-2008.

In  an interview with TechEye,  PyAr's Alejandro J Cura said that the encyclopaedia was virtually complete.

"The DVD9 version has all 448,038 articles of the Spanish Wikipedia that were dumped to html in June 2008, and 98 percent of the images," he said. "The CD version carries a big percentage of these articles and the images of the most relevant articles."

He said a more up-to-date version would be available by the end of March.

The code of the scripts used to generate CDPedia is free software, licensed under a GPL license and available at http://code.google.com/p/cdpedia/