Interview: Wikinewsie Kim Bruning discusses Wikimania

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Tuesday, August 9, 2005

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

On Thursday, August 4, 2005, Wikimedia opened its doors to the first-ever Wikimania Conference, a five-day event put together by the Wikimedia Foundation.

The event, held in the Haus der Jugend in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, featured discussion and interaction on all Wikimedia projects, including its well-known Wikipedia project, an online encyclopedia which touts figures of millions of articles in over 70 languages.

Conference attendee and Wikinews contributor Kim Bruning talked to Wikinews, represented here by contributor Jonathan Collwer, about the event.

Interview with Kim Bruning

Jonathan Collwer: Kim, thanks for taking out some time for a quick interview. Let's begin with press coverage. Were any major news organizations present?

Kim Bruning: Yes, Wikimania received its fair share of press attention. According to the Wikimedia Foundation, over 100 press representatives were present at the event, as the conference was held in Frankfurt.

Jonathan Collwer: As many know, Jimbo Wales, the founder of Wikimedia was a featured speaker at the conference. What was the focus of his speech?

Kim Bruning: Jimbo Wales' speech was about a series of blog posts. He's doing a Lawrence Lessig blog. It's called Ten Things That Want to Be Free.

Jonathan Collwer: Ward Cunningham, the creator of the wiki, also spoke at Wikimania. Could you tell us a little bit about what he had to say?

Kim Bruning: Cunningham's speech focused on both the history of the wiki and what he envisions the future to hold for wiki software. Ward Cunningham first described an Apple Hypercard project that eventually developed into the wiki we know today. Hypercard allows the user to create a "stack" of virtual "cards" that display information. Cunningham created a work-around for the program that created a stack of cards to display information about certain keywords -- if there wasn't a card about a certain keyword, Hypercard would create one. While this emulates the gist of today's Wikipedia, Hypercard is not natively a wiki-like program, so Cunningham determined it necessary to write a dedicated program. He called it the wiki.
After describing the wiki's past, Cunningham described his vision for the future of the wiki. He hopes to see the wiki become distributed across computers worldwide. The wikis could drift to and fro between computers and keep a history of where they've been. Each computer would automatically keep only links to the information that is on that machine. In all, Cunningham wants to see it embraced that partial data is acceptable. Why? Because this would allow people to use Wikipedia (and other Wikimedia projects, for that matter) even if they don't have a connection to the internet, thus extending the reach of public human knowledge. So that's the inventor of the wiki's take on what the future holds -- a more scalable wiki.

Jonathan Collwer: So, overall, was the Wikimania conference successful in the eyes of the beholder?

Kim Bruning: The Wikimedians I talked with seemed to be quite pleased with how the event turned out. Wikimania allowed people to finally meet each other face to face, without the computer monitors in the way.

Jonathan Collwer: Lastly -- are there any plans for a future Wikimedia meetup?

Kim Bruning: Too early to say. There is a plan floating around for something in 2008, but that's not official yet.

Jonathan Collwer: Thanks for talking with us, Kim.

Kim Bruning: Thanks for interviewing. :-)


This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.