Most of us read Wikipedia in our web browsers but those looking for an alternative, app-like experience on Linux will want to check out Wike.
Wike is a GTK4/libadwaita Wikipedia reader for Linux. It’s sort of like a site-specific browser for Wikipedia but offers additional features and better integration than a standard browser tab can.
Being able to read Wikipedia using a desktop app rather than a browser tab has benefits:
- Faster access to Wikipedia
- Customize the look and presentation of articles
- Bookmarks articles in custom lists
- Read free of browser distractions
But let’s take a closer look at what else this app offers.
A Wikipedia App for Linux Desktops
Articles within Wike work almost exactly like the Wikipedia website. Clicking a link to another Wiki article inside of the app takes you to it. Enable link previews to be able to hover over internal links and get a short excerpt and image preview of the post before you read it.
You can also customize the appearance of articles, with options for page zoom (global; affects all open tabs), font family and font size, and window theme (system, light, dark, or sepia).
There are also a number of app-specific features that elevate the experience further:
- Uses system font (or select any font on your system)
- Reader themes
- Optional link hover previews
- Search bar suggestions
- Save articles to custom bookmark lists
rshortcut to load random article
- Supports over 300 Wikipedia languages
- Search for articles from the GNOME Shell overview (off by default)
- Text search inside of articles (with highlighting)
- Responsive design
A side panel groups together some core features, including an overview of article contents, links to the same article in other languages, bookmarks (with support for making custom lists), and an accessible overview of recently read articles (with clear history button).
The sidebar is hidden by default but a click of the toolbar icon for it slides it in to view, over the article or page that is open. Clicking on the ‘pin’ icon inside the toolbar’s tab bar keeps it visible, but renders the sidebar alongside content (rather than over it), which is a nice touch.
The lack of in-app offline support is Wike’s biggest weakness. Were this app able to cache articles for offline reading/reference it’d arguably be even more useful. On the upside, Wike lets you export articles as a PDF via its Print options.
Is this an app for everyone?
I imagine only those who use Wikipedia regularly for research will appreciate the “app-ified” experience Wike offers, but some features, like being saving articles to PDF, will attract interest from more casual perusers of this iconic encyclopaedia.
• Get Wike on Flathub