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Wikipedia Timeline

Wikipedia has more than thirteen million articles in several different languages.

System Specifications

  • Bandwidth (Why Low?): Wikipedia’s processes are extremely simple and basic. While receiving an enormous amount of constant traffic, Wikipedia only has to send a fixed page of text and the occasional image.
  • CPU (Why Low?): The encyclopedia pages of Wikipedia are very easy to power and don’t require too many resources. The processing power used most likely powers the indexing, links, and search databases.
  • Disk (Why High?): With the millions of articles available to the public in dozens of languages, Wikipedia has to have a large amount of disk space in order to store them all.
  • RAM (Why Low?): The individual encyclopedia pages are not heavy on content and do not require a large amount of RAM to be displayed.
  • Scalability (Why High?): With a constant flow of traffic and having become a service in which people rely on, Wikipedia has developed a very scalable and efficient server solution in order to meet the demands of its website.

Overview
Wikipedia, one of the first online encyclopedias, has come a long way since its beginnings in 2001. Now, just after its ten-year anniversary, Wikipedia has more than thirteen million articles and over one hundred and sixty different language editions and is currently ranked number 8 on alexa.com with more than 10% of the world’s Internet users visiting the site.

History
In January 2001, Wikipedia went live. Originally, Wikipedia was only formed as a Wiki to help in the Nupedia project. Larry Sanger, Wikipedia’s chief instigator, said it originally was an “idea to add a little feature to Nupedia.” In only two months, Wikipedia had more than a thousand articles, and by October 2001, that number rose to thirteen thousand.

In December of 2002, Wikipedia’s sister project, Wiktionary, was launched. By January 2003, Wikimedia’s article count exceeded 100,000 articles. In June of the same year, Jimmy Wales, another founder of Wikipedia, formed Wikimedia, which now manages Wikipedia and several other sister projects.

In the following January, Wikipedia was shut down for a week after a significant computer crash. This prompted Wales to start a fundraiser to buy more computers. The nine computers he bought were then relocated to Florida. By April of that year, Wikipedia had a quarter of a million articles.

In 2004 and 2005, Wikipedia won many awards and received a significant amount of recognition. In 2005, it became a top 100 website according to Alexa.com. Wikipedia’s one millionth article was published in March of 2006 and in just three years that number would grow to a total of thirteen million articles available in a diverse range of languages.

Features
Wikipedia is a free, non-profit online encyclopedia that has surpassed more than 3.5 million articles in English alone and is one of the most highly trafficked sites on the web. The articles on Wikipedia are written and edited by thousands of volunteer contributors as it is funded solely by donations. Wikipedia founders vowed never to have advertisements on its site, which is a promise they have diligently kept.

Wikipedia features a simple search engine and a consistent format.

System
Wikipedia uses MediaWiki software to run its website. Its main U.S. data center, consisting of about 300 servers, is located in Tampa, Florida. Wikipedia also has a European data center in Amsterdam, EvoSwitch, where they have approximately 50 servers. There are also tentative plans to secure another data center in Virginia. Wikipedia currently uses Ubuntu Linux 2.6 as their operating system with a standard LAMP package.

Summary
Wikipedia, a non-profit online encyclopedia, has grown from just over a thousand articles at its beginnings in 2001 to over thirteen million articles in several different languages today. Wikipedia has an Ubuntu Linux 2.6 operating system and has one U.S. data center in Florida and one international center in Amsterdam. It was originally formed as a new feature for Nupedia, but now has several sister projects, such as Wiktionary, under the head organization, Wikimedia.

Sources

“History of Wikipedia.” Wikipedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Wikipedia (accessed January 15, 2011).

“Trophy Shelf.” Wikimedia.
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Trophy_box (accessed January 15, 2011).

“Wikipedia:About.” Wikipedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:About#Wikipedia_history (accessed January 15, 2011).

“Wikipedia Announcements.” Wikimedia.
http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikimedia_News&diff=prev&oldid=4133 (accessed January 15, 2011).

The State of Wikipedia

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