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Old 07-12-2016, 06:34 PM   #1
pyroshroom
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Offline Wikipedia on Kobo (Guide)

Hey everyone, so I have been trying out a few guides to load wikipedia offline on the Kobo Aura by using kiwix-serve, but I never got it to work. However, as I was messing around, I noticed that the Kobo detected the ZIM wikipedia files I loaded on my SD card and added it to the library and I could load the wikipedia articles too. I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere yet, so here's the guide!

*NOTE: I have only tried this on my Kobo Aura on firmware 3.19.5761, but I am pretty sure that it would work on any Kobo e-reader on that firmware, it would be nice if people with the other Kobos would be able to confirm that it works too!
**EDIT: Other people have confirmed that it works on the other Kobo devices on firmware 3.19.5761 now

Album of the pictures used in the guide: http://imgur.com/a/1LxII

Adding the ZIM files to your Kobo:

Step 1: Download a Non-indexed ZIM of the Wikipedia that you want from http://www.kiwix.org/wiki/Content_in_all_languages

Step 1b: If the ZIM file you downloaded is bigger than 4GB, you'll have to split the file to put it on your FAT32 formatted microSD card (FAT32 is the filesystem format the unmodified Kobo will want and recognize by default) - See "My ZIM file is too big, what should I do?" here: http://www.kiwix.org/wiki/FAQ

Step 2: Put the files on your microSD card. This is what my microSD card looked like: http://imgur.com/af5mc3i

Step 3: Put the microSD card in your Kobo and wait for the Kobo to scan the microSD card for files to add to the library.

Step 4: Done!


Using the Wikipedia ZIM files:

Step 1: Open one of the Wikipedia's that is now in your library as you normally would open an ebook. http://imgur.com/83uXR4K

You should then see the home/front page of the wikipedia that you have loaded. http://imgur.com/sMfGY6a

You'll notice that if you just turn the page, you'll just scroll through the front page of the Wikipedia.

Step 2: In order to access the other articles, tap the centre of the screen to open up the Reading Menu, then click the button in the bottom right hand corner with the 3 horizontal lines. The menu that pops up should have the "Wikipedia" option for you to click. http://imgur.com/Z1VIYAS

Step 3: In the "Wikipedia" search menu that pops up, you can now search for article titles in the Wikipedia file that you loaded, click on one of the suggestions that shows up as you search to get to that article. http://imgur.com/7Fxm8EZ

You will then see a properly ebook formatted version of the article on your Kobo! http://imgur.com/zCXdOq7

(I had this freeze my Kobo on me when I was first testing it out with searching for the 'Zoo' article since it was later in the file, but it worked properly after a reboot)

Finally, I would like to thank the hard-working devs at Kobo and Kiwix for making this possible!

Last edited by pyroshroom; 07-22-2016 at 02:27 AM. Reason: Confirmed to work on the other Kobos
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Old 07-13-2016, 04:42 AM   #2
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Thank you for this information. The Kobos might have been able to do this since several years, but nobody noticed it.
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Old 07-18-2016, 01:25 PM   #3
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No problem! Another new thing I have noticed is that the Wikipedia menu also shows up when reading other books, and searching in that menu will load the offline wikipedia pages whether you are online or offline (Mine loads pages from my Wikipedia 0.8 ZIM).
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Old 07-18-2016, 11:49 PM   #4
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What's the difference between the 54GB 'all' and the 1016MB 'simple all'?
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Old 07-19-2016, 04:54 PM   #5
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The 54 GB "all" file contains all articles with pictures from the English Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/.

The 1016 "simple all" file contains all articles with pictures from the Simple English Wikipedia at https://simple.wikipedia.org/.
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Old 07-20-2016, 08:15 AM   #6
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Thanks for this. I followed your instructions and loaded the files onto my H2O. It works almost perfectly - almost because like you it crashed when I do a search on zoo, but in my case it continues to crash even after a reboot. zoology and zztop however appear fine. So not a big problem but a curiosity.
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Old 07-20-2016, 04:55 PM   #7
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Huh, that's really odd, I tried testing it out some more after what you said and here's my results:

1) Fresh boot, Loaded Wikipedia 0.8 (with pictures), tried to load the "Zoo" article immediately = Always crashes the Kobo

2) Fresh boot, Loaded Wikipedia 0.8 (with pictures), loaded another article first (I tested "Fire" and "Zoology" articles) which loaded properly, then tried to load the "Zoo" article = Loads Zoo article properly

3) Fresh boot, Loaded Wikipedia 0.8 (with pictures), loaded the "Zztop" article which loaded properly, then tried to load the "Zoo" article = Always crashes Kobo again

4) Fresh boot, Loaded Wikipedia 0.8 (with pictures), loaded the "Fire" article, then loaded the "Zztop" article, then loaded "Zoo" article = Loads Zoo article properly

So I really have no idea what's going on with the Zoo article, just that if you load the "Fire" or "Zoology" article first after a boot (Only ones I have tried, there's probably way more that work), then you can load the Zoo article. But the same thing didn't work for loading "Zztop" first before loading "Zoo".


In addition, the thing I mentioned before about the "Wikipedia" option being present in the menu when reading other books. If you have multiple ZIM files on your Kobo, it selects the Wikipedia it searches in that menu randomly on boot, and I have no idea how to select which Wikipedia it picks on that menu when reading other books.
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Old 07-21-2016, 05:40 AM   #8
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will this work on glo hd?
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Old 07-21-2016, 06:56 AM   #9
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Seeing all Kobo eReaders (except the original Kobo and Kobo WiFi) use the same firmware (apart from some minor h/w specific changes) I see no reason that it wouldn't.
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Old 07-21-2016, 12:35 PM   #10
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Yes, I think it should work on the glo HD too since it's the same firmware. I think the only issue with the glo HD is the lower available storage (Unless you have modded it). You could probably still fit the Wikipedia 0.8 nopic ZIM file on there though (Just copy it over directly via USB when you connect your kobo to your computer).
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Old 07-21-2016, 07:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pyroshroom View Post
Yes, I think it should work on the glo HD too since it's the same firmware. I think the only issue with the glo HD is the lower available storage (Unless you have modded it). You could probably still fit the Wikipedia 0.8 nopic ZIM file on there though (Just copy it over directly via USB when you connect your kobo to your computer).
As PeterT said, it will work on all the current devices running the current firmware. Kobo uses the same code for all the device. The differences in the firmware packages are in device specific drivers and some included fonts and images.

Edit: I probably should have said I have done some brief testing with the medicine and Ray Charles files on my Glo HD. They worked with no problems.

Last edited by davidfor; 07-22-2016 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 07-22-2016, 12:25 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by pyroshroom View Post
Huh, that's really odd, I tried testing it out some more after what you said and here's my results:

1) Fresh boot, Loaded Wikipedia 0.8 (with pictures), tried to load the "Zoo" article immediately = Always crashes the Kobo

2) Fresh boot, Loaded Wikipedia 0.8 (with pictures), loaded another article first (I tested "Fire" and "Zoology" articles) which loaded properly, then tried to load the "Zoo" article = Loads Zoo article properly

3) Fresh boot, Loaded Wikipedia 0.8 (with pictures), loaded the "Zztop" article which loaded properly, then tried to load the "Zoo" article = Always crashes Kobo again

4) Fresh boot, Loaded Wikipedia 0.8 (with pictures), loaded the "Fire" article, then loaded the "Zztop" article, then loaded "Zoo" article = Loads Zoo article properly
they
So I really have no idea what's going on with the Zoo article, just that if you load the "Fire" or "Zoology" article first after a boot (Only ones I have tried, there's probably way more that work), then you can load the Zoo article. But the same thing didn't work for loading "Zztop" first before loading "Zoo".
Without being able to unpack the file and look at what is in each part, I can't think of a way to check. I assumed they were a zip file with some specific file contents (similar to an ePub), but that is not the case. My quick searching has found a format description, but no tools to unpack them. Maybe looking at the original Wikipedia pages would give a hint about what is wrong.

The other thing to do is look for a trace log in the .kobo directory. As the device is crashing, there should be one produced. These can be provided to Kobo to help debug problems. What they will do with it, I don't know. This is an unannounced feature, so they don't officially support it. They might look at it and fix the problem, or they might ignore it.
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Old 07-22-2016, 02:24 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by davidfor View Post
Without being able to unpack the file and look at what is in each part, I can't think of a way to check. I assumed they were a zip file with some specific file contents (similar to an ePub), but that is not the case. My quick searching has found a format description, but no tools to unpack them. Maybe looking at the original Wikipedia pages would give a hint about what is wrong.

The other thing to do is look for a trace log in the .kobo directory. As the device is crashing, there should be one produced. These can be provided to Kobo to help debug problems. What they will do with it, I don't know. This is an unannounced feature, so they don't officially support it. They might look at it and fix the problem, or they might ignore it.
Unfortunately, there was no crash log found in the .kobo directory after the crash (Or whatever you would call the device loading to a blank white screen while being completely unresponsive to any input aside from the reset button).

There also doesn't seem to be anything particularly unique about the Zoo article itself from wikipedia either, it's not overly long/large and doesn't seem to have any weird formatting.

Also, if you were really curious about inspecting the contents of the ZIM file, there is a utility for that documented here http://www.openzim.org/wiki/Zimdump, though you would need to compile the tool yourself. I'm not going to look into it any further though, since as you have said, it is an unannounced feature that Kobo is probably still working on and I already have an easy workaround for it in the meantime.

Last edited by pyroshroom; 07-22-2016 at 02:28 AM.
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Old 07-22-2016, 04:12 AM   #14
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I tried some zim files. Yes, they worked. But evidently, I had too high expectations.

One point is that internal links do not work (at least with those zim files that I tried, one of them being wikipedia_en_ray_charles.zim). They had either no effect (or brought me to the first page of the current document itself), or they delivered kind of empty content of varying length (the ones I saw were between 3 and 16 pages). Maybe zooming or panning might have led to something? I should have tried, but I did not.
My main problem with the inability to follow links is that if the software does not support the keyboard needed for the language of the wikipedia, you cannot access its contents, or only a very small fraction of it, even if the opening page contains an extensive index with links. (I know it is possible to patch the keyboard. But the number of alternative keys is rather limited.)

The other problem I had was that, with the exception of the Hindi Wikipedia, all showed in the library with the same titles an authors (Wikipedia, or Wiktionary), so that I had to identify them by their file size. One could say I should blame the meta data of the zim file, but still the result is rather uncomfortable.

Last edited by tshering; 07-22-2016 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:01 AM   #15
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Am I missing something or did wikipedia remove the zim generator from the book manager?
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