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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Wikimedia leak: Will the Foundation "run on Sun"?

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Julian Lemoine - known as speedblue - once wrote a search routine styled after the Google "suggest" tool; a design intended to give a result based, in part, on how many incoming links an article had. The routine might, he hoped, help the wiki software be used as a thinking tool, helping people follow their thoughts and inter-related topics through the rapidly developing English and French Wikipedia projects. He called it "Wikipedia suggest".

An internal Wikimedia communiqué was leaked over the weekend. Like many e-mails, the document is a chain of forwards, replies, and attachments. The attached Portable Document Format (PDF) file was from a PowerPoint presentation, entitled "Wikimedia Foundation: Past, Present, and Future". The presentation is watermarked confidential, do not distribute, and details the Foundation's recent financial, technical, and traffic history, outlines near-term forecasts for all three, and makes suggestions for slightly longer horizons as well. By itself the document led to several inter-connected news stories.

The software which underpins the Foundation's projects is constantly being developed, both from within and from third parties. Mediawiki is an open source software package, one with a significant share in its market; efforts to add functionality often have their own development projects and timelines. The presentation outlined some of these efforts and their respective timelines.

  • Wiki-to-print is currently in testing, and is expected to deploy February to March, 2008
  • Flagged revisions is currently in testing, and is expected to deploy before June, 2008
  • Collaborative video editing is currently in testing, and is expected to deploy initially perhaps in October 2008.
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