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Wikipedia's Content Ripped Off More Egregiously Than Usual 284

Posted by timothy
from the hope-it-saves-wikipedia-some-hosting-fees dept.
Ultraexactzz writes "Wikipedia's content is licensed under the GFDL, which permits such content to be copied with attribution — and Wikipedia is used to its content being copied and mirrored. However, a new website at e-wikipedia.net appears to have taken this a step further by mirroring the entire English Wikipedia — articles, logos, disclaimers, userpages, and all. Compare Wikipedia's About page with e-wikipedia.net's. The site even adds to Wikipedia's normally ad-free interface by including text ads." Just try logging in or actually editing an article, though, and you'll get the message "The requested URL /w/index.php was not found on this server. Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request." If there's credit here, I don't see it — sure looks like it's intentionally misleading readers.
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Wikipedia's Content Ripped Off More Egregiously Than Usual

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  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @04:31PM (#23865009)
    This is perfect! Next time a teacher or other person in authority says I can't use Wikipedia because it is unreliable I just get the content from this site and I can say that it wasn't Wikipedia!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is perfect! Next time a teacher or other person in authority says I can't use Wikipedia because it is unreliable I just get the content from this site and I can say that it wasn't Wikipedia!
      Have you considered using the references that are linked by Wikipedia instead?

      I just don't understand why anybody would ever cite an encyclopedia. Unless they were studying encyclopedias, of course. It is about as useful as citing a dictionary.
      • Have you considered using the references that are linked by Wikipedia instead?
        Yes, but an interlibrary loan would take longer than the instructor has given for the project.

        It is about as useful as citing a dictionary.
        Some fields of study depend on the precise meanings of words and have adopted a set of standard dictionaries. For example, law in the United States uses Black's Law Dictionary [wikipedia.org], falling back to Merriam-Webster for any other words.
        • If an instructor gives assignments that can't be possibly done thoroughly until its deadline, they shouldn't complain to students using Wikipedia. Actually I know that in linguistics they often don't complain when the main goal the of essay assignment is to create a correct style the essay, not so much a correct content.

          It depends on the type of research, if it's a chemistry assignment and the library has access to many online journals, it won't be a problem to get all sources in a day. If it's an assignm

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by pclminion (145572)

      This is perfect! Next time a teacher or other person in authority says I can't use Wikipedia because it is unreliable I just get the content from this site and I can say that it wasn't Wikipedia!

      Crap like this is exactly WHY Wikipedia should not be cited formally as a reference. Even if Wikipedia could be trusted to be 100% correct (which it can't), how do you know you're not looking at some fake shit? Wikipedia is great for personal research. For formal citation, it's garbage. For one thing, the conten

      • by compro01 (777531) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @04:48PM (#23865261)
        1. Cite to a specific version of an article.

        2. Or cite to the items the wikipedia article cites. I find wikipedia to be a nice "springboard", as I can go to the references, and then to the reference's references, and so on. Quick way to get useful and cite-able info.
        • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @05:22PM (#23865873) Journal
          1) Fail. Because the if the specific version of the article is false or misleading, you will have used invalid data.

          2) Which is exactly how you should use wikipedia.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Sloppy (14984)

            1) Fail. Because the if the specific version of the article is false or misleading, you will have used invalid data.
            Aren't you facing the exact same risk whenever you cite any other source, too?
            • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday June 19, 2008 @06:35PM (#23866785) Homepage

              Aren't you facing the exact same risk whenever you cite any other source, too?

              Yes, anything can be misleading or inaccurate. That's not why citation matters. The purpose of citation is so that the reader can refer to the source to see (a) whether the source supports the interpretation you offer; and (b) how the source supports itself.

              The second reason (b) is why you should always cite primary sources. The point isn't that primary sources are infallible, but that if they're truly primary sources, they'll support themselves. They'll give examples, evidence, etc. as to why the claims they're making are true, and the reader is then able to evaluate the claims on the basis of the person who originated those claims.

              If you cite a secondary source, then you're leading the reader on a trail of citations that might go nowhere. I could cite you, you could cite someone else, that someone else cite yet another person, and off we go. You're essentially setting up a research project for the reader to figure out where the information actually came from.

              Also, by the time the information comes through so many people, it can be distorted. It can be like a game of telephone, where what started out as a fact gets interpreted, and the interpretation gets interpreted, and that interpretation gets interpreted, ad nauseam. So by the end, you have no idea how distorted the truth is.

              So seriously, if your research paper is relying on certain facts, try to find the original piece of writing that asserted those facts, and read that work for yourself. If you can't do that (in the case of a lost work that no longer exists, but is cited elsewhere), find the source that is as close as possible to the original, and cite that. Always go to the most original point, and always cite the primary work.

              Wikipedia is a perfectly good place to start, and luckily they've started to encourage people to cite sources so that you can find the primary source for yourself. So when you want to use a fact from Wikipedia, follow their citation, read the work for yourself, and then you can cite *that* work as your primary source.

      • Re:This is perfect! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday June 19, 2008 @05:08PM (#23865627) Homepage Journal
        The science articles in wikipedia are better the any other source. Several tests of this have been made.

        In theory, it won't work, in practice it does.

        There is nothing wrong with Wikipedia that can't happen in any hard bound book.

        Most things are garbage for profession citation...hell most profession citations are garbage.

        • by JonathanBoyd (644397) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @05:44PM (#23866123) Homepage

          The science articles in wikipedia are better the any other source. Several tests of this have been made.

          You need to check those tests carefully. On average, science articles in Wikipedia may be more accurate than those of similar encyclopedias e.g. Brittanica, but they're not better than dedicated scientific texts and journals.

          • Yet Britannica et al are considered better for this than Wikipedia. All experts in the field can contribute to Wikipedia, while only hired researchers contribute to Britannica. A dedicated scientific text WILL have contribution and peer review by many experts in the field, and of course is a good source of information for inclusion in Wikipedia{{citation}}.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Nar Matteru (1099389)

          The science articles in wikipedia are better the any other source. Several tests of this have been made.

          In theory, it won't work, in practice it does.

          There is nothing wrong with Wikipedia that can't happen in any hard bound book.

          Most things are garbage for profession citation...hell most profession citations are garbage.

          {{fact}}
        • by Z34107 (925136)

          It would be interesting to have parts of Wikipedia articles "peer reviewed" by Smart Knowledgeable People. Specific versions/revisions of those articles could be tagged as "reputable slash cite-able slash magic."

          Then, it could have all the repute of a "hard bound book" and be updated every ten minutes!

        • by exley (221867) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @08:13PM (#23867559) Homepage

          The science articles in wikipedia are better the any other source. Several tests of this have been made.
          Citation Needed

      • by tlhIngan (30335) <.slashdot. .at. .worf.net.> on Thursday June 19, 2008 @05:21PM (#23865853)

        This is perfect! Next time a teacher or other person in authority says I can't use Wikipedia because it is unreliable I just get the content from this site and I can say that it wasn't Wikipedia!


        Crap like this is exactly WHY Wikipedia should not be cited formally as a reference. Even if Wikipedia could be trusted to be 100% correct (which it can't), how do you know you're not looking at some fake shit? Wikipedia is great for personal research. For formal citation, it's garbage. For one thing, the content can change. This is part of what makes it powerful, but it also makes it useless when cited on paper. You go to the URL and see something totally different from what the author was trying to cite.


        Actually, no encyclopedia (Wikipedia or otherwise) should be cited formally. It doesn't matter on how accurate it is, or who can edit it, or anything. An encyclopedia is not a primary source. It's a good starting point to find primary sources (and for those of us who aren't using it formally, a source of information) and general background information to pursue one's research, but that's it. This is most evident in Wikipedia's "No original research" stance - it knows it's not a primary source of information and it shouldn't be.

        The fact that Wikipedia is freely editable means one should really go to the original source for information.
        • Re:This is perfect! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Arterion (941661) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @06:28PM (#23866705)
          Wikipedia has gone beyond a traditional encyclopedia, though. Both in how many topics it covers, and that detail of information on each topic. For some articles, the information listed it more detailed than some textbooks I've seen, but of course YMMV. I'm not saying it should be a primary source, but not for the reason of "it's an encyclopedia!"
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by optikSmoke (264261)

            I'm not saying it should be a primary source, but not for the reason of "it's an encyclopedia!"

            Er, his point was that an encyclopedia is by definition a secondary source [wikipedia.org], and Wikipedia has policies that are meant to enforce this. When it comes to good research, as has been pointed out above and elsewhere in this discussion, primary sources are preferred for a bunch of reasons (creeping mis-/re-interpretation, citation wild goose chases, etc). Frankly, it doesn't matter how good an article on Wiki is, it sho

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by AaxelB (1034884)

            Wikipedia has gone beyond a traditional encyclopedia, though. Both in how many topics it covers, and that detail of information on each topic.
            It's not beyond a traditional encyclopedia, it's just a much more comprehensive and successful encyclopedia than any that have come before it. Having tons of information doesn't make it "beyond" an encyclopedia, it makes it a better/bigger/more useful encyclopedia.
  • Dupe (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lev13than (581686) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @04:31PM (#23865025) Homepage
    C'mon people - this story is a dupe. I just saw the exact same discussion on e-slashdot.org [e-slashdot.org]!
  • What!? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Aussenseiter (1241842) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @04:32PM (#23865047)
    You mean... someone is taking information freely available on the internet and claiming it as their own for profit reasons? My word, what a shocking turn of events!
  • It's no sin (Score:4, Informative)

    by Eco-Mono (978899) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @04:33PM (#23865063) Homepage
    The sauce is under GFDL. E-Wikipedia is also under GFDL. I don't see the problem.
    • Re:It's no sin (Score:5, Informative)

      by paulthomas (685756) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @04:44PM (#23865207) Journal
      I do not think that the GFDL covers trade marks and trade-dress. A default install of MediaWiki (the open-source engine behind Wikipedia) shows a generic logo with a text description of how to change it to your own.

      E-wikipedia.net uses the Wikipedia logo, which would require the explicit permission of the Wikimedia Foundation.
      • by Eco-Mono (978899)
        Whoops, forgot about that [e-wikipedia.net]. Yeah, they're gonna have some problems.
  • by LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @04:34PM (#23865065) Homepage
    Brought to you by the creators of Limbo of the Lost.
  • S[cp]ammer alert? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Antony T Curtis (89990) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @04:34PM (#23865069) Homepage Journal
    I noticed when I scrolled down to the bottom of the "e-wikipedia"'s clone of the About page, there was some junk words at the bottom which were not on the original.

    The site is probably just a reverse proxy with a few filters to insert ads, maybe embed malicious content, insert some junk text, white on white, and the site owners probably hope that when people are looking for info using a search engine, that they will mistake the site for the real Wikipedia.

    1. Create a Fake-e-pedia site
    2. ????
    3. Profit!!!

    I wonder what their #2 is...

    Just my 2cents.
    • by oahazmatt (868057) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @04:42PM (#23865189) Journal

      The site is probably just a reverse proxy with a few filters to insert ads, maybe embed malicious content, insert some junk text, white on white, and the site owners probably hope that when people are looking for info using a search engine, that they will mistake the site for the real Wikipedia.
      Yeah, but like the real Wikipedia, can this one survive the Slashdot effect? Let's find out!
      • by ELProphet (909179) <davidsouther@gmail.com> on Thursday June 19, 2008 @05:34PM (#23866011) Homepage

        The site is probably just a reverse proxy with a few filters to insert ads, maybe embed malicious content, insert some junk text, white on white, and the site owners probably hope that when people are looking for info using a search engine, that they will mistake the site for the real Wikipedia.
        Yeah, but like the real Wikipedia, can this one survive the Slashdot effect? Let's find out!
        Nope. Wikipedia already cut their access. This is an awesome new form of slashdotting...

        1. Proxy someone else's site
        2. Add Ads
        3. Slashdot
        4. Owners of original site block your IP from theirs.
        5. NO Profit!

        No ??? needed.
    • by skelly33 (891182)
      If they were smart, #2 would be some sort of HTTP proxy that eliminates the need for replicating the content and functions; they could just be a man-in-the-middle and insert ads rather inconspicuously and even rewrite URLS for media assets to go to the original site to control bandwidth costs. I've done similar things as part of a CDN migration process for a set of sites pushing over 700Mb/s and it seems to work well enough.
    • by PastaAnta (513349)

      I wonder what their #2 is...
      2. Get your worthless site mentioned in an article on slashdot containing numerous links ...
    • by Shivetya (243324)
      #2. Get posted to Slashdot and Digg...

    • Re:S[cp]ammer alert? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 19, 2008 @04:58PM (#23865433)
      Access denied: remote loader detected.

      This request has been identified as coming from a remote-loading website. This is not Wikipedia, please update your bookmarks. Access Wikipedia only through *.wikipedia.org.

      A remote loader is a website that loads content from another site on each request. The content is typically filtered, framed with ads, and then displayed to the user.

      The remote loader either:

              * Pretends to be the source website, perhaps using a deceptive domain name; or
              * Converts all instances of the name of the source website to some other name.

      We consider remote loading websites to be an unfair drain on our server resources, and so they are systematically blocked, as this one has been.
  • I got this: Warning: "curl_error(): 1 is not a valid cURL handle resource in /home/rocky/domains/e-wikipedia.net/public_html/1.php on line 193" when trying to get a random page. Obviously Rocky has a pretty smart business model for keeping his content up to date...
  • So each blatantly duped entry has the following text right below it (or something similar): "...Brought to you by Carl's Jr."?
  • by oahazmatt (868057) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @04:45PM (#23865219) Journal
    Interesting.

    I was already logged into Wikipedia. I went to e-wiki, and did a search for itself. I decided I'd have some fun and create the article. I clicked to create it, and it brought me over to en.wikipedia.org to create it.

    Very interesting. Not even -trying- for original content.
  • I'm getting tired of people bitching about this or that license. Oh noes! Someone is making a buck from shared & public information. What else is new. People will always abuse any principle.

    Since the site is _dependent_ on wikipedia for the information in the first place, the real "value" is the contributors, not some artificial one, and as a contributor, that is the main thing to me: guaranteeing that the information will stay free for everyone. if i was concerned about someone "ripping" the info
  • by quarrel (194077) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @04:49PM (#23865281)
    There are many many many of these sites.

    While I notice it hasn't in this case, google is normally pretty quick to remove them from its indexes as well, so if you use google, you'll mostly not be able to find them.

    However, the basic meme of copy content, add ads and publish, particularly for content like wikipedia that is self-referential, is very widely used.

    --Q
  • by DRJlaw (946416) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @04:51PM (#23865305)
    This does nothing to resolve the trademark problem that the 'mirror' creates, but it is instructive to look at the actual text of the license [wikipedia.org].

    "2. Verbatim Copying [] You may copy and distribute the Document in any medium, either commercially or noncommercially, provided that this License, the copyright notices, and the license notice saying this License applies to the Document are reproduced in all copies, and that you add no other conditions whatsoever to those of this License."

    The pages do appear to be verbatim copies of the Wikipedia pages, despite the lack of some images (note: verbatim - in precisely the same words used by a writer or speaker). You'll also note that the license does not require attribution (found in other words in Section 4), just a requirement for reproduction. Wikipedia is the one that must resolve its failure to include a copyright notice on the pages, not the mirror.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Titoxd (1116095)
      At the bottom of every page:

      All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License [wikipedia.org]. (See Copyrights [wikipedia.org] for details.)

      Additionally, all the pages Wikipedia deals with are modified versions of prior GFDL'd documents, so Section 4 of the GFDL (Modifications) and all of its attribution requirements apply. While the GFDL is an awful license to use in a wiki, lack of attribution requirements is not one of those reasons.

      • by DRJlaw (946416)

        Additionally, all the pages Wikipedia deals with are modified versions of prior GFDL'd documents, so Section 4 of the GFDL (Modifications) and all of its attribution requirements apply.

        I think that there's a reasonable argument that the requirements of Section 4 of the GFDL do not apply to the mirror. At the very least, if you argue that the mirror has violated the GFDL then you're arguing that Wikipedia has violated the GFDL. If I had to defend the mirror in court, I can virtually guarantee that I would

  • WHOIS information (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 19, 2008 @04:51PM (#23865309)
    Archived WHOIS on e-wikipedia.net domain from 2008/04/27 (it's now using a privacy protect WHOIS service):

    Registration Service Provided By: NameCheap.com
    Contact: support@NameCheap.com
    Visit: http://www.namecheap.com/

    Domain name: e-wikipedia.net

    Registrant Contact:
          -
          John Heys (allegro.share2@o2.pl)
          +46.0851041152
          Fax: +1.5555555555
          Virkesvagen 5
          Stockholm, n/a 12030
          SE

    Administrative Contact:
          -
          John Heys (allegro.share2@o2.pl)
          +46.0851041152
          Fax: +1.5555555555
          Virkesvagen 5
          Stockholm, n/a 12030
          SE

    Technical Contact:
          -
          John Heys (allegro.share2@o2.pl)
          +46.0851041152
          Fax: +1.5555555555
          Virkesvagen 5
          Stockholm, n/a 12030
          SE

    Status: Locked

    Name Servers:
          ns1.hostpower.pl
          ns2.hostpower.pl

    Creation date: 28 Feb 2008 20:23:45
    Expiration date: 28 Feb 2009 20:23:45

    ---

    Other domains hosted at that IP:

    Strzelecki.info
    E-teledyski.org
    Giexx.com
    Moderowany.net
    Songstexts.info
    Tibianews.info
    Wartibia.com
    Wikipedia2009.com
    Axeee.com

    I'll spare everyone the WHOIS data for all of those domains as well - look it up on your own. :-)
  • Diary of a blonde super criminal [insert pathetic MUAWAHAHAH here]

    1. Make counterfeit dimes.
    2. Buy SCO shares then sue everyone...eer again
    3. Copy Wikipedia
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 19, 2008 @04:52PM (#23865337)
    I had a high school student turn in a long report that obviously wasn't her work. I googled it and she had cut and pasted about 10 pages of material right from Wikipedia into her report. I brought her in, told her that some of the writing didn't look like she wrote it:

    Me: "Did you write this whole thing yourself?"
    Her: "Yes, of course!"
    Me: "Are you sure"
    Her: "Yes, 100%"
    Me: "Well, a huge chunk of your report is straight from Wikipedia."
    Her: "Um, yeah, well, um I wrote that Wikipedia page."

    • Re:Anonymous coward (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 19, 2008 @05:06PM (#23865573)
      I can top that, I once had a teacher accuse me of copying from Wikipedia. Only I was able to point to the page history and log into my account to prove that I had in fact written the article
    • by quantaman (517394) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @05:55PM (#23866299)

      I had a high school student turn in a long report that obviously wasn't her work. I googled it and she had cut and pasted about 10 pages of material right from Wikipedia into her report. I brought her in, told her that some of the writing didn't look like she wrote it:

      Me: "Did you write this whole thing yourself?"
      Her: "Yes, of course!"
      Me: "Are you sure"
      Her: "Yes, 100%"
      Me: "Well, a huge chunk of your report is straight from Wikipedia."
      Her: "Um, yeah, well, um I wrote that Wikipedia page."
      Slightly OT but that reminds me of a classmate back in high school.

      We had to write a report on something, I don't recall what, but the teacher felt the submitted work was somewhat above the writing level of that particular student and questioned its originality. When the student defended their authorship then teacher than preceded to inquire about the passage of the report where the student claimed 20 years of research in the field.
  • Just because you can use the content doesn't mean you can use the name. Go after them for trademark infringement and take all their earth moneys.
  • by s7uar7 (746699) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @04:56PM (#23865393) Homepage
    If someone references e-wikipedia.net in an article on Wikipedia will the internet collapse in on itself?
  • A simple notice to a dev/admin [irc] would of taken care of this a long time ago.
    • Re:Nuked (Score:4, Funny)

      by OverlordQ (264228) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @05:06PM (#23865595) Journal
      Well that shoulda been: irc://irc.freenode.org/wikimedia-tech

      <Splarka> I clicked http://e-wikipedia.net/w/en/Special:Random and it's trying to load [[Leech_(computing)]] but not having much success
      <Splarka> > Access denied: remote loader detected.
      <Splarka> <3
      <brion> sorry folks, i ruined your fun
      <OverlordQ> awww
  • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @05:04PM (#23865547)
    If you try and access it now, it displays this:

    Leech (computing)

    Access denied: remote loader detected. This request has been identified as coming from a remote-loading website. This is not Wikipedia, please update your bookmarks. Access Wikipedia only through *.wikipedia.org.

    A remote loader is a website that loads content from another site on each request. The content is typically filtered, framed with ads, and then displayed to the user.

    The remote loader either:
    • Pretends to be the source website,perhaps using a deceptive domain name; or
    • Converts all instances of the name of the source website to some other name.
    We consider remote loading websites to be an unfair drain on our server resources, and so they are systematically blocked, as this one has been.
    So, obviously this site was fetching Wikipedia content in real-time, and sticking in ads and whatnot (rather than using their own local copy of the Wikipedia database). This is obviously a silly drain on Wikipedia's servers.

    Moreover, this is a stupid way to design it, since it's trivial for Wikipedia to detect what you're doing, and serve a custom error page, as they have done. In short, why did these people assume Wikipedia was going to let them continue infringing their trademark and taxing their servers?
  • by RTofPA (984422)
    When I did a search on it, it returned a "leech" message. Obviously,they didn't even bother to copy it, as far as I can tell, they are just returning wikipedia pages. In fact, the page it returned specifically warned me only to use pages from *.wikipedia.org and that this site was leeching off them. If your going to try something like this, you should at least not be a total idiot, to the point where your copy actually points out that it is fake.
  • Evil Genius! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RingDev (879105) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @05:06PM (#23865577) Homepage Journal
    Step 1) Duplicate highly successful web site, rip off all content, images, layouts, etc...
    Step 2) Secure Advertising
    Step 3) Submit story on /. and Digg about rampant abuse of IP
    Step 4) Profit!

    -Rick
  • This doesn't come as any surprise to me, I've seen dozens of commercial sites using Wikipedia content. The other day, I noticed that the pet social networking site animalattraction.com appears to have used the Wikipedia entries for their breed information.
    • by Titoxd (1116095) on Thursday June 19, 2008 @06:02PM (#23866383) Homepage
      That is not the problem.

      The problem is not using the information that Wikipedia provides--after all, that's why it is contributed under copyleft. The problem is that someone is essentially hosting a site that routes all the heavy computational, database, and programming work through Wikimedia's servers, usually with the intention of making a quick buck by spamming or selling ads.
  • Lazy script kiddies (Score:2, Interesting)

    by KalvinB (205500)
    http://cubia.dawnofthegeeks.com/ [dawnofthegeeks.com] is a mirror of wikipedia that takes takes the mediawiki database and converts it into a static easy to manage database. To find an article in the DB the title is lc'd and MD5'd and the first two characters are the table and then the entire MD5 is the key for the entry in the table.

    Throw in a MediaWiki parser and you have your own lightweight mirror. Every page has a link back to the original Wikipedia entry.

    Not so surprisingly a 933Mhz system can't handle Wikipedia. But i

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