This Instructable will set out how to construct what I believe to be a unique implementation of Wikipedia in an offline, portable device. It involves installing a stripped-down distribution of Linux on a Psion 5mx handheld, and installing a static HTML version of Wikipedia for use with one of two browsers. Most importantly, you do not have to be a Linux wizard to achieve this. I will assume a basic familiarity with computers, but you do not need experience with the intricacies of filing systems, compiling source code and the stuff that traditionally puts people off using Linux. Following the steps in this Instructable should let you create your own HHGTTG- I will explain what I am doing but also try to give as explicit instructions as possible.
(For this reason, seasoned linux hackers can take the "skip this step" instructions provided at the top of the steps involving partitioning the CF card and unpacking archives to it)
Also, I apologise deeply for how dry this Instructable is. I have tried hard to make the bulk of it readable without skimping on detail or being overly prolix, but explaining how to partition a removable volume and unpack .tgz archives to it is difficult to make amusing. Sorry.
Lastly, but by no means least, I could not have done this without the efforts of:
- the people who ported Linux to the ARM,
- the OpenPsion (née PsiLinux) community for porting Linux to the Psion,
- Adrian Wells for Kludged Linux, and of course
- all the good folks at Wikipedia.
Step 1: Required materials
The other parts can be easily obtained more cheaply- I spent about Â£15 for all the parts except for the Psion, which was a gift.
You will need: (with approximate cost)
- A working Psion 5mx PDA. Around Â£70 (ebay), or possibly free if you search enough attics.
- A Compactflash card of at least 1GB- I recommend a 4GB card. Â£11 (ebay)
- A Compactflash card adapter for your PC, either USB or PCMCIA. Â£4 (ebay)
- A PC running Linux. If you don't have it installed, I would suggest burning a live CD or making a bootable USB drive for a distribution such as Puppy.
- The archives with which to install Kludged Linux on your Psion. These may be found at Adrian's site here, at the bottom of the page under "download". If his site should disappear, let me know and I will provide my copies for download
- Static HTML dump of Wikipedia.
Text-only dump from 2003 (large file download)
CD distribution of 4,500 good articles with thumbnail images (warning, 750MB file download)
There is a static dump of the entire English language Wikipedia as of June 2008 here: http://static.wikipedia.org/downloads/2008-06/en/
- A flask of weak lemon drink