As part of his keynote address last Thursday at the LinuxTag conference in Karlsruhe, Germany, Wales revealed that Wikipedia would be integrated into the KDE desktop. Incorporation of content from other Wikimedia projects, such as Wiktionary, is also being contemplated.
KDE is already using Wikipedia to provide artist, album, and track information for the Amarok music player. The primary new application planned as part of this effort is an offline reader for Wikipedia (called "Knowledge"), so that content is available even without an internet connection. Wales pointed out that this would be helpful in his goal of bringing Wikipedia content to areas where internet access is generally unavailable. A number of other possible applications have been suggested, such as integrating astronomical information from Wikipedia into KStars, a planetarium program that is part of KDE.
The announcement received a fair amount of coverage from online German sources and apparently has generated considerable enthusiasm. Wales said, "It seems that a lot of people are excited about the concept of KDE integration".
In order to facilitate access to Wikipedia for this project, the Wikimedia Foundation plans to provide a web service API that can be queried by the applications involved. KDE could then access the service if a network connection is available, or launch the Knowledge reader if not. The API would also be available for other projects, thus promoting possible integration of Wikipedia elsewhere as well. To gauge how this would affect the Wikimedia servers, Wales launched a discussion on the wikitech mailing list on how the traffic from these applications would be managed.
The collaboration with KDE represents part of a growing incorporation of Wikipedia into software products from outside organizations. Plans have also been discussed to include Wikipedia as part of the next Linux distribution from Mandriva. And even without explicit partnerships with the Wikimedia Foundation, various projects have decided to build in ways to use Wikipedia, including recently the new dashboard widgets from Apple (see archived story).