Wikimedia provides and uses freely-licensed/open source tools for participation and collaboration in creation of free-content educational resources. Empowering people is one of our values, and open source empowers people to contribute to achieving our mission. See FLOSS-Exchange, MediaWiki and more.

Closed source in our ecosystem




Usage of closed source/unfree software is generally frowned upon. No unfree software may ever be integrated with the Wikimedia projects or used to run them.

A violation of this principle would be especially egregious if running counter the right to fork. Any exception would need total transparency, extremely wide announcements and a consensus in the general community.

Software as a service


Software as a service, or rather service as a substitute of software (SaaSS), is problematic for a number of reasons.[1][2]

Some tasks on Wikimedia servers use external hosted services using content that is already public. In order for this to done in accordance with the Privacy Policy, the communication with the external service must originate from Wikimedia hosts, and may only include content that is already public, such as open source code and free content.

Content translation engines
Elia, Google Translate, LingoCloud, NNLB-200 (Flores), Yandex, Youdao. See mw:Content translation/Documentation/FAQ#Yandex is not based on open source software. Why are we using it?
Wikimedia provides a complete software development stack for teams to use, including Git repositories hosted on Wikimedia servers. Once a change is submitted into these code repositories, it is replicated into a w:Github fork, and some projects have Github triggers utilising other hosted services such as w:Travis CI, w:Appveyor, , - See phab:T96601, phab:T101807, phab:T74863
The MediaModeration extension uses Microsoft PhotoDNA to identify child exploitation images after they are uploaded.

Services used where the users are directly accessing an external service, where their personally identifying information may be stored in, or captured by, the external service:

In these instances, links to these services should be clearly marked, and the front page should clearly explain the risks of continuing.

Services used only internally within Wikimedia affiliated organisation where users do not interact with the service and user/donor-data is not stored data in the service, is typically a decision by the individual organisation. Examples include Banking services, Project management, Teleconferencing. Many Wikimedia organisations (including Wikimedia Foundation) use Google's Google Apps for Work for documents and collaboration.

Other SaaSS is occasionally used by individuals or proposed for use by Wikimedia projects, like:

See also



  1. Stallman, Richard. "Who Does That Server Really Serve?". (in en-us). Free Software Foundation. 
  2. Hill, Benjamin Mako (2010-06-04). "Free Software Needs Free Tools".