NRI Vinod Khosla, wife give Wikimedia big boost

April 8th, 2008 - 11:34 am ICT by admin  


Bangalore, April 8 (IANS) Indian expatriate philanthropists Vinod Khosla and his wife Neeru Khosla have made a $500,000 donation to the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit charitable organisation promoting the sharing of free content via cyberspace globally. “I can tell you that the Khoslas are good friends of the Wikimedia Foundation. They strongly support our mission and care about the projects,” the foundation’s head of communications Jay Walsh told IANS on e-mail from the US.

“We have been in discussion with them for a number of months,” Walsh said.

Pune-born Vinod Khosla, 53, is an Indian American venture capitalist and considered to be an influential personality in Silicon Valley. He was also one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems.

“We are thrilled and very grateful,” said Wikimedia Foundation executive director Sue Gardner in an online announcement.

Gardner added: “Vinod and Neeru share the Wikimedia Foundation’s vision - a world in which every single human being can freely share all knowledge. Today they have moved us closer to making that vision a reality.”

The foundation promotes the “growth, development and distribution” of free, multilingual content. It aims to provide the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge.

Currently, the Wikimedia Foundation operates some of the largest collaboratively edited reference projects in the world, including the collaboratively crafted online encyclopaedia, the Wikipedia, which has surprisingly grown into one of the 10 most visited websites in the world.

Wikipedia’s name combines the words wiki (a technology for creating collaborative websites) and encyclopaedia.

Wikipedia was launched in January 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger and is one of the fastest-growing and most popular general reference works currently available on the internet.

“Vinod and I are proud to help Wikipedia, a valuable global educational resource,” Neeru Khosla, co-founder and chair of CK12, a non-profit organisation, was quoted as saying.

CK12 supports the worldwide creation of “flexbooks”, collaborative, open-source textbooks. “Wikipedia proves that mass collaboration works can reap extraordinary returns. We are happy to be part of it,” she added.

The foundation said: “The gift comes at a critical time in the history of Wikimedia, which has just relocated to San Francisco to be closer to Bay Area technical talent, like-minded non-profit organisations, and educational and research institutions.”

Wikipedia is itself written, edited and maintained entirely by a global community of thousands of volunteers. The Wikimedia Foundation, founded in 2003, has a staff of 15, and provides organisational support for Wikipedia and eight other information projects.

In coming years, the foundation plans to launch outreach projects designed to encourage contributions to Wikipedia from targeted groups like academics, speakers of small languages, people in developing nations and older people.

It also plans to increase the distribution of material from Wikipedia and its other projects in non-web-based formats such as DVDs and books, to provide information for people who are not online.

(Frederick Noronha can be contacted at frederick.n@ians.in)

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