When you ask Amazon's Alexa, "What is Wikipedia?" Alexa took this line directly from Wikipedia's entry on Wikipedia, as it does with many of its answers. Perhaps what it should have said was this: "Wikipedia is the source from which I take much of my information, without credit, contribution, or compensation." Amazon recently donated $1 million to the Wikimedia Endowment, a fund that keeps Wikipedia running, as "part of Amazon's and CEO Jeff Bezos' growing work in philanthropy," according to CNET. It's being framed as a "gift," one that--as Amazon puts it--recognizes their shared vision to "make it easier to share knowledge globally."
Here's what it has to say about itself: "Wikipedia (/ˌwɪkɪˈpiːdiə/ (About this sound listen) WIK-i-PEE-dee-ə or /ˌwɪkiˈpiːdiə/ (About this sound listen) WIK-ee-PEE-dee-ə) is a free online encyclopedia with the mission of allowing anyone to create or edit articles. Wikipedia is the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet, and is ranked the fifth-most popular website. The project is owned by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit which "operates on whatever monies it receives from its annual fund drives"."
YouTube's plan to combat conspiracy videos with information sourced from Wikipedia got push back from a number of different quarters -- including, surprisingly, Wikimedia itself. Seems Google didn't mention the plan to the foundation before unveiling it at SXSW earlier this month. Wikimedia executive director Katherine Maher responded with an even-keeled statement reiterating that, while the crowd-sourced encyclopedia's information is, indeed, free to use, well, it might be nice if corporations that used it gave a little back. "Wikipedia's content [is] freely licensed for reuse by anyone," Maher wrote, "and that's part of our mission: that every single person can share in free knowledge. We want people all over the world to use, share, add to, and remix Wikipedia.
The holiday season is a time to panic and have eggnog-fueled meltdowns relax with family, give gifts, and eat far too many carbs. It's also traditionally been a time when charities see big bumps in donations. Giving even has its own day, "Giving Tuesday" to follow the weekend bounded by Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There are plenty of charities to give to, but if you use free and open-source software, why not give back to the projects that create those tools that you use without charge? The phrase "freedom isn't free" is usually applied to the military, but it also applies to free software.
People in Afghanistan are set for greater access to the internet and free information thanks to a new partnership between a local telecommunications company and the Wikimedia Foundation. Roshan Communications and the internet giant announced on Monday that all of the company's customers would be able to access the Wikipedia website through their phones without being charged for data usage for the next 12 months. The initiative, called Wikipedia Zero, is due to launch later this month. It will be a fully functional version of the website, meaning users will have access to all content, search and editing functions. The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organisation that runs Wikipedia, the internet encyclopedia, as well as funding dozens of other open-source and other free knowledge projects.