Open Source Toolset

This page describes some of the open source/free software tools and standards used as part of content collaboration on the Wikimedia projects. Listing these tools gives us a better overview which tools might benefit from our support (by means of directing volunteer developers, funding particular functionality, or generally making editors aware of their existence).

Each of the tools listed here should at least be in a useful state, and demonstrably be used in Wikimedia projects already. This page should not list freeware, which is not free as in speech and creates a risk of vendor lock-in.


  • Mozilla Firefox is the most popular open source web-browser used to access Wikimedia websites.
  • SeaMonkey is a web-browser, advanced e-mail and newsgroup client, IRC chat client, and HTML editing made simple.


Wikimedians meet in several IRC channels. The following Internet Relay Chat clients are quite popular:


  • wikEd is a full-featured MediaWiki-integrated text editor. Features include: Wikicode syntax highlighting • Pasting, import, and conversion of formatted text, e.g. from Microsoft-Word and web pages • Regular expression search and replace • Edit preview and show changes on the same page without reloading • Fullscreen editing mode • Single-click fixing of common mistakes • History for summary, search, and replace fields • Jump to selected heading • Type-ahead find • Support for many languages. Currently wikEd works only for Firefox and other Mozilla browsers. Help is sought for making wikEd work under IE7 and Opera 9, please contact Cacycle.

Image editing

  • Krita [2] is part of KDE's KOffice. There is currently no Windows version available as it depends on KDE, which has not been fully ported to Windows yet. It likely will be as part of the KDE4 release.
  • jpegtran [4] Lossless rotate images.
  • [G'MIC] is an open source image processing software. It contains for example some denoising algorithm (through the -denoise command). It can thus replace commercial tools such as Noise Ninja and Neat Image.


  • Gnuplot. Granddaddy of unix commandline graphing tools has been used to produce many of the graphs on Wikimedia projects, Gnuplot scripts can be found on image image talk pages. It now has SVG output.
  • Graphviz is a specialized tool for drawing and automatic layout of directed and undirected graphs. It is used to on Wikimedia projects create graphs for process descriptions, state-machines, etc.
  • Dia is an interactive diagram editor with SVG output. Used in many of the same applications as graphviz but with a very different mode of operation.
  • Xcircuit is a special purpose graphing tool for electrical circuits. Xcircuit's output can be converted to SVG.
  • R is a programming language and software environment for statistical computing and graphics. (simple example)
  • GeoGebra is a dynamic geometry program that can be used to create geometric objects free-hand using compass-and-ruler tools. It can also plot points and algabraic or parametric curves. It can export to SVG, PNG and various other formats. For its usage for Wiki projects and its limitations see: [5].

Audio editing

  • Audacity is a powerful open source audio recorder/editor and very commonly used to create and edit Ogg Vorbis audio files on the Wikimedia projects.
  • Ardour is a more powerful open source multrack audio record/editor. Although it is more flexible than audacity it has a much steeper learning curve. Ardour has an integrated online collaboration tool called ardour-session-exchange.
  • Rosegarden is a MIDI and audio sequencer used for synthesized audio.

Video editing

  • HyperEngine-A/V is an unusual open source editing program for the Macintosh which can capture, arrange, edit and process video, audio and text in a free-form, trackless document, to create movies and slide shows.
  • ffmpeg2theora A command-line converter to create Ogg Theora files.
  • Kino Kino is a non-linear DV editor for GNU/Linux.
  • LiVES LiVES is a Video Editing System.
  • peek is an animated GIF recorder for linux, for very small screen-recordings
  • recordMyDesktop is an ogg video/audio recorder for linux
  • [6] CapCut is a video editing app developed by ByteDance, the same company behind TikTok. It's available for both Android and iOS devices and offers a range of features for editing videos, including adding effects, transitions, text, music, and more. CapCut has gained popularity for its user-friendly interface and powerful editing capabilities, making it a popular choice among content creators and social media users

3D modeling

  • Blender is a very powerful open source "3D content creation suite"; it has been used in works of the highest professional level, including the open source movie Elephants Dream. Used for n:wikinews:Broadcast in its brief existence.
  • Art of Illusion is a free, open source 3D modelling and rendering studio. It is written entirely in Java and should be usable on any Java Virtual Machine.
  • Open Cascade is software development platform freely available in open source. It includes components for 3D surface and solid modeling, visualization, data exchange and rapid application development.

3D animation

  • Blender is a very powerful open source "3D content creation suite" so it also does animation.

Text collaboration

  • Gobby is a mature stand-alone text editor for real-time collaboration with other users (multiple people working on the same file at the same time, color highlighting each individual's edits). It was used at Wikimania 2006 to transcribe sessions, and also in the development of the Definition of Free Cultural Works adopted by Wikimedia. It is still quite buggy and does not have undo functionality.
  • Etherpad (Wikimedia's)

Specialized tools

  • Shtooka Recorder is a specialized audio recorder for the creation of pronunciation files, highly optimized to allow the user to record a large number of pronunciations in very short time. It is used on Wiktionary. Don't forget to propose your record to the Shtooka Project (You can send them .zip packages of your audio files)
  • PP3 is a tool to generate celestial charts, used to illustrate most of the Wikipedia articles about constellations.
  • GRASS is powerful GIS software used to produce a number of the maps used on Wikimedia projects.
  • Lilypond is a powerful and flexible program for engraving musical scores.

Codecs and file formats

  • Ogg Vorbis is a high quality lossy audio compression codec developed by the Xiph.Org Foundation. It is a replacement for MP3 and other common audio formats unencumbered by patents.
  • Ogg Theora is a high quality lossy video compression codec developed by the Xiph.Org Foundation and originally based on VP3. It is a replacement for common video formats unencumbered by patents.
    • Cortado is a free software Java player which impliments both Ogg/Vorbis and Ogg/Theora. It is used by the in browser java video player.
  • SVG is a web standard for "Scalable Vector Graphics", supported natively by all major web browsers except for older versions of Microsoft's Internet Explorer (which needs a plugin).
    • rsvg-view can be used to preview how their SVGs will look when rendered by MediaWiki.
  • DjvuLibre is a set of open source tools for manipulating Djvu formated documents. Not only is DjvuLibre used to create many djvu documents on Wikimedia commons, it is also used on the the Wikimedia servers to assist in displaying djvu files.
  • PNGCrush is a tool to losslessly compress PNG graphics files.
  • FileViewer - an online tool for viewing many obscure or obsolete graphics formats (PPM, TGA, PCX, etc.), and converting them to JPG or PNG.

Metadata extraction

  • Zotero is citation manager with a connector to Firefox. It can read COinS citation metadata (used by Wikipedia's cite series of templates and can export citations in those as well.)
  • Operator is a Firefox plugin which can read Microformats, such as geo which are generated by Wikipedia's coor series of templates.
  • The DejaVu fonts Provide fairly wide coverage of unicode as well as a very high quality coverage of latin characters required for acceptability as a general purpose desktop font by speakers of many languages.
  • A large collection of free software fonts ready to install and use on Mac OS X, Windows and Linux is at

Tools developed specifically for Wikimedia projects

  • Pywikibot is widely used cross platform set of tools for the python programming language which enables Wikipedia users to develop automated tools which speak to mediawiki sites.
  • See Toolhub for many web-based tools specifically developed to work with Wikimedia projects.

MediaWiki development


The MediaWiki code that powers thousands of wikis and all Wikimedia projects such as Wikipedia, is open source. It is written in the scripting language PHP, it stores information using MySQL databases (and other engines), its source code is kept in a Git version control system, and its bugs are tracked in a Bugzilla bug tracking system; these are all open source tools. There are open source developer tools for all aspects of MediaWiki code development, such as Eclipse with the PHPeclipse extension and many other PHP-aware code editors.

See also


Lists on other projects