KDE and Wikipedia Announce Cooperation

Today Jimmy Wales, chairman of the Wikimedia Foundation, announced the beginning of a cooperation between Wikimedia and the KDE project at LinuxTag in Karlsruhe, Germany. As the first applications, like the media player amaroK, start to integrate Wikipedia content the idea is to create a webservice API to access the information from Wikimedia projects such as Wikipedia or Wiktionary. There are also plans for a KDE API.

Wikipedia in amaroK

The API would allow KDE applications to easily embed Wikimedia content, data could even be fetched from a local database depending on your online/offline status. First progress can be seen in Knowledge, a Qt 4 based offline reader for Wikipedia.

Jimmy was also searching for people who want to help with the design of this API, so if you want a good API for your application join the efforts!

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by Rinse (not verified)

>I mean the principle of wiki: low entrance barrier for participation.

Not suitable for translating software
You need some barrier, in order to maintain quality.

>Diffs are your friend.
No, they are not :)
Not when it comes to translations..
using diffs would mean that you need 3 files, the old English file, the new English file, and the translation.
Not very usefull...

by david (not verified)

>>I mean the principle of wiki: low entrance barrier for participation.

>Not suitable for translating software
>You need some barrier, in order to maintain quality.

Equally unsuitable for an encyclopeadia then, since you need to maintain quality there too.

by rinse (not verified)

Well, you should at least keep in mind that a wiki encyclopeadia could contain errros.
But the difference between an wiki encyclopeadia and is that the lather uses instant publishing. You read the article, you notice an error, you change it, and it gets published as soon as you hit the 'publish' button (or similar)

This is not the case with software documentation, if you find an error and correct it, the improved docs won't be available until the next version of the application, which could take 6 months or even longer (depending on the release cycle the application uses...)

So in short, while a wiki encyclopeadia with a large audience would quite fast gain in quality, it would take a lot longer before software documentation would reach the same quality level if it was translated in the same way.

Also, users who don't upgrade everytime a new version of the application comes out, will be using the documentation with errors for a very long time..

by ac (not verified)

That's indeed commonly claimed to be a weakness of wikis.

by rinse (not verified)

Well, if you don't want to spent time looking at the specs that the translation team of your language uses, the chance that your translation is actually useable is very small.
20 minutes of your translation on the fly would mean 1 hour of my time trying to correct your errors in consistency, etc.
If that is what a new infrastructure should bring, then no thanks.
Rather have a small dedicated team that produces translations of an acceptable quality, but a bit lower quantity, then a large translation team without any structure that gives high quantity and nice stats, but no quality at all..


by Andre (not verified)

Same problem for wikipedia. Your small team cannot keep up with 3rd party applications. In wikipedia we have the quality offensive.

you can also lock parts as you can lock pages.

you can enable comments as in the wiki discussion page

> 20 minutes of your translation on the fly would mean 1 hour of my time trying to correct your errors in consistency, etc.

Don't think so. the usual process would be not to adopt the patch and say "see this spec, improve and resubmit".

It is all about getting people involved.

by Rinse (not verified)

>the usual process would be not to adopt the patch and say "see this spec, improve and resubmit".

Yes, and the new, improved and resubmitted version comes in one day after the release of the software resulting in an unfinished translation shipped with the application.
Not much different from the current situation :o)

Wiki is great for what it is meant for: instant publishing of articles.
With software, this is different, because the translation are not instantly published, but packaged with a certain release.
So if the translation is not 100% at release time, the application will be partially translated until the next release..

by Bram Schoenmakers (not verified)

I think it would be better if it automatically redirected you to the local Wikipedia, if available, else it should fall back to the English WP.

(P.S. It would be cool to integrate KWorldClock with WP, just click on a country/city/area et voila...)

by Torsten Rahn (not verified)

Actually it should behave just like specified in your KDE settings:
If KDE specifies a fallback language in the Regional/Language settings then of course it should be shown (as far as it is available in your online/offline ressources). So if you have specified french as your primary language in KDE and you chose german and english as a second and third then it should also behave similar with respect to wikipedia ressources of course.

by Milan Svoboda (not verified)

Wiki language setting should not be tight with Regional/Language setting of the entire KDE. Wiki would need a separate setting.

by Torsten Rahn (not verified)

Sorry but this is unnecessary featurecreep and nonsense.

by cm (not verified)

Is there a way to add languages to this dialog in the controle centre without installing complete i18n packs?

For example, I'd understand a french wikipedia entry (and would like to read some in french) but I wouldn't ever use KDE in french or read some application's docs in french. So normally no reason to install kde-i18n-fr. But IIUC I would not be able to add french to the regional settings language list then, would I?

by cm (not verified)

Another thing that's tied to that list: Content negotiation for the WWW. Sometimes (if the quality of the german translation of a site is just too bad) I would like to change the precedence of the languages and put english in the first place but AFAIK that would require me to switch the language of the complete desktop...

Is there a hidden setting to tweak this? Will the Wikipedia interface have one?

by Ian Monroe (not verified)

This is where an API would come in very handy. Currently its difficult to know what languages are a given topic is in without first choosing a language and downloading its whole page.

by Petteri (not verified)

Hopefully this will be more broader than just Wikipedia, mayby mediawiki specific? There are so many other good wikis :) For example kdevelop could use http://gpwiki.org/ for help pages when doing game programming etc.

This project sound really exiting can't wait for the new amarok to arrive to Debian.

by Ævar Arnfjörð B... (not verified)

Yes, whatever will be done will be a MediaWiki plugin and not special Wikipedia service.

by Bojan (not verified)

I got nothing really useful to say, other than this is really cool. I think this could add a lot of power and neat features to many applications, and the KDE desktop in general.

by mmebane (not verified)

...when do we get a Wikilyrics? A Google search shows one with this name, but the site appears to be dead. Wikipedia already has lots of info on albums, it would be nice if it could have lyrics, too.

by KDE User (not verified)

For copyright reasons, I don't think you could ever have that.

Amarok already uses http://lyrc.com.ar/ to get lyrics.

by Derek Slovin (not verified)

Would this api be specific to KDE? or can any application use the webservice (like a gtk app, windows app, osx app, etc). It seems to me that this is just a webservice and I am confused as to why kde is involved.

by Anonymous (not verified)

> Would this api be specific to KDE?

The Wikipedia one? No. The one within kdelibs? Sure.

> I am confused as to why kde is involved.

KDE is the one to initiate this and the first one to use it.

Remember, KDE - the desktop with momentum. ;-)

by Ian Monroe (not verified)

Yes, others will be able to use the mediawiki API. Its just that a KDE app, amaroK, is already showing how Wikipedia can be used in applications.

It appears a KDE API is also being planned, to make it easy for any KDE app to insert Mediawiki content (basically a wrapper around the webservice, perhaps with offline features). That would be specific to KDE.

by Zot (not verified)

Could the help system use this?
Obviously, there would need to be a mechanism for storing a local minimal version during install, but then this API could be used to keep the help up to date.
This would also allow the help by way of wiki to include more tips and tricks and such.

by Sepp (not verified)

Sounds like a great idea.
I think that using a wiki to write help/docs would speed this process up a lot. Adding help would also be easier (no need for a svn account and command line tools)