Browse Wikipedia Offline With WebArchives For Linux

Browse Wikipedia without an Internet connection

WebArchives is a web archive reader for Linux desktops which provides the ability to browse articles offline from websites such as Wikipedia or Wikisource, in multiple languages.

The application is useful for those without a permanent Internet connection or those using metered connections - the offline sources can be downloaded at a friend's house, copied on a USB stick, and imported into WebArchives. Or maybe you want to do some research somewhere up in the mountains where there's no Internet. No problem, install WebArchives and download the Wikipedia source on your laptop before you go. After downloading a source, no Internet connection is needed to read, search and browse Wikipedia.

The software supports reading ZIM files, an open file format that stores wiki content for offline usage, and it offers download links for a large number of sources, including Wikipedia, Stack Exchange sites (including Code Review, Super User, AskUbuntu, Bitcoin, etc.), ArchWiki, RationalWiki, TED talks, Vikidia, WikiMed Medical Encyclopedia, Wikinews, Wikisource, and many others.

WebArchives doesn't directly download Wikipedia and other sources (it doesn't have a built-in download manager). The application contains links to these sources and offers to start the download in either a web browser or using a BitTorrent client.

From the WebArchive interface you can select the language for the sources to download, but as expected, you'll find less sources for languages other than English.

Some of these sources require a lot of hard disk space to download. However, WebArchives provides download links for multiple versions, which include or exclude media like pictures or videos. This way you get to decide if you need pictures and videos and download the appropriate archive.

The application features a clean interface that respects the GNOME HIG, with a simple list for recent, local and remote sources. For browsing offline sources such as Wikipedia, WebArchive provides a search feature, bookmarks, history, zoom controls, as well as a basic night mode. The user interface also provides options for opening a new tab or window.

Offline Wikipedia Linux

Other features include keyboard shortcuts, option to print a page and a random page button.

Many other features are planned for future releases, including a fullscreen mode, support for table of contents, a responsive mode, global search, and more.

WebArchives makes use of the Kiwix archive database. Unfortunately Kiwix, another nice tool to browse websites like Wikipedia offline, has not always been reliable on Linux, at least for me. In fact, the Linux download provided on the Kiwix website does not currently start on my Ubuntu 18.04 desktop.

Install WebArchives in Linux



You may not get any results for the remote sources the first time your run WebArchives. In this case, click the refresh button next to the Remote source in the main WebArchives user interface, and wait a bit - a list of sources available for download / offline reading should be fetched in a few seconds.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review.
    I wonder what effort was made by the authors of this software to collaborate with the Kiwix project? So many forks in Linux because people fail to communicate?

    I have run Kiwix and the web server version of Kiwix on Arch Linux for years without problem. The web server version is obviously excellent on a LAN.

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  2. I think you should issue a warning that this is a Flatpack only installation. Some of us wish to avoid the Microsoft style of "distribute and duplicate" all dependencies.
    Those wishing to sandbox their desktop apps may precede their execution command with "firejail"

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