Wikimania 2007 begins in Taipei, Taiwan
Friday, August 3, 2007
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The third annual conference for users of the Wikimedia Foundation projects, Wikimania, began today in Taipei, Taiwan. Over 1,100 people registered from 98 countries. Fifty-five percent of attendees were from Taiwan. There are over 100 presenters holding a total of 65 sessions.
Florence Devouard, Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation, in the opening to the conference, reviewed what has been accomplished in the past year. Among the accomplishments are the creation of the Wikimedia Taiwan chapter, and the creation of Wikiversity. Florence also said that the Russian Wikipedia was the fastest growing Wikipedia, with the Chinese Wikipedia coming second. There still is huge disparity in language though, with projects such as the Afrikaans Wikipedia having 6 million native speakers, but less than 8,000 articles
An estimation of the current total assets of the foundation was stated to be around $3.5 million. Florence Devouard also discussed the need for scalable sources of revenue for the foundation. These sources, she stressed, must be consistent with the foundation's non profit status, with the open/free content movement and with community wishes. Potential revenue sources include the continued sale of live datafeeds, a print on demand service, board games, puzzles and other merchandising. She stated that the foundation will not sell DVDs or paper versions due to legal risks.
Also, Jimmy Wales, in the press conference, mentioned that in mainland China, lots of media or information is still unfree or not to be unveiled, such as Baido.com, so that may restrict the development or providing of freely contents and correct information, and is surely not a good example. And then he'll come to visit mainland China to solve those problems of freely contents developments.
Other speakers included Benjamin Mako Hill discussing the definition of free culture, Kat Walsh on Wikimedia foundation use of free content, Samuel Klein on the one laptop per child and addressing systemic bias, Jimmy Wales, Angela Beesley and Gil Penchina on Wikia.