On the 15th of January 2001, Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales founded Wikipedia, the free Internet encyclopedia. In February, the main page of Wikipedia was saying:
We started work in January 2001. We’ve got over 1,000 pages already. We want to make over 100,000. So, let’s get to work!
What can we say now, when we are on the list of the most popular websites in the world, with 20th place on Alexa and a Google PageRank of 9?
In this English version, started in 2001, we are currently working on 917,700 articles.
And that’s only the English version. The whole project has now more then 3 million pages/articles.
Ignoring what Larry, Jimbo, and anyone else is thinking at this moment about Wikipedia – it’s one of the biggest non-profit projects in the entire world. I really like what Jimbo said one day:
Imagine a world where every single person is given free access to the sum of human knowledge. We don’t have to imagine it. We’re doing it.
Today, with more than 170k articles, the Polish Wikipedia will soon become the fourth biggest Wikipedia in the world, right after the English, German and the French one. Our quality still isn’t the best, but we still have a lot of information, and we’re ready to improve our work.
And, lastly, to quote Jimbo Wales just once more:
I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself. I’m doing this for the child in Africa who is going to use free textbooks and reference works produced by our community and find a solution to the crushing poverty that surrounds him. But for this child, a website on the Internet is not enough; we need to find ways to get our work to people in a form they can actually use.
And I’m doing this for my own daughter, who I hope will grow up in a world where culture is free, not proprietary, where control of knowledge is in the hands of people everywhere, with basic works they can adopt, modify, and share freely without asking permission from anyone.
We’re already taking back the Internet. With your help, we can take back the world.