Chapter 1. Becoming an Ankur Volunteer

This chapter outlines the process of becoming an Ankur Volunteer. Ankur is currently, heavily working on GUI translation (English to Bangla). Also, it is working on font development, Bangla spellchecking (on the basis of an extensive wordlist), archival of literary works in Bengali on the Internet (sort of a mini Bangla Project Gutenberg), and more. Also, it also takes part in some coding work (mostly patching and BugFixing of existing Bangla rendering engines). So, Ankur requires a variety of volunteers, ranging from translators to hardcore coders, experienced in all sorts of Free/OpenSource technologies and languages such as C, C++, Java, etc. Ankur also needs experienced font developers. If you are a font developer, and even if you do not want to take an active part in the project, you can relicense your font under the GNU GPL (available here) and let us know. Don't worry, the copyright of the font remains with you.

The basic requirement for any Ankur volunteer is a knowledge of Bangla (both colloquial and written as well as concepts of classical Bangla). Familiarity with the Bangla letters alone will not suffice, you it is expected that the volunteer must have will possess a proper command over Bangla spellings and Bangla grammar as well as linguistic and syntactic nuances of the language. The volunteer should also be prepared to innovate, ideate and find solutions for "fitting" the language to the Information Technology application context.

The second most important requirement is a knowledge and understanding of the concept of Free/Open Source Software development model, or to be more specific, the "Bazaar" model of development. The work in Ankur is done in a collaborative manner, utilizing mailing lists with each member free to comment on others' works, and the final work is only accepted after a full peer review process. Thus the volunteer should be willing to submit oneself (himself/herself) to a meritocratic and democratic evaluation as well as improve oneself continually. The collaborative nature of the Project also entails familiarity with the norms and etiquette of mailing lists in general and developer-lists in particular. This is most evident in case of the translation procedure. Ankur also follows other general Free/Open Source conventions of regular iterative releases like "release early, release often", etc. Though not mandatory, for an introduction on all these, you may read The Cathedral and the Bazaar by Eric. S Raymond, and the philosophy page of the Free Software Foundation.

Technically speaking, the primary and most important (as on date) work (effort/initiative) of the Ankur Project is localization (sometimes called l10n). The developer, especially, if he/she is working as a coder (besides also being part of the translation team) is expected to be familiar with the basic technologies and standards behind Bangla l10n. The team members try to provide/post all relevant and recent articles and content on l10n, however the volunteer is expected to show initiative. A preliminary list of online resources can be found at the end of this document, in the section. The developer also needs to be familiar (at least at the beginner level) with the standard Free Software Development tools like CVS, etc. There is a very rudimentary guide to the Ankur CVS in this document, but probably, you will need to know more. Information gleaned from gettext info page(s) are also relevant. You may also want to go through the gettext info-page (info gettext) before proceeding further.


However, please note that, it is entirely possible to contribute to Ankur without having any kind of programming skills. Ankur is always in the look-out for enthusiastic people with good language skills. So, please do not let the technical blabber in the above paragraph deter you from becoming a volunteer. We welcome all those who love the language and would like to see GNU/Linux made available for the Bengali population of the world