Disclaimer: I do not represent the Django Software Foundation in any way,nor has anything below been endorsed by the DSF. The following opinions are my own, unsolicited rambling.
If you hadn’t been looking for it specifically, you may have missed it. The Django Softare Foundation is running a fundraising effort for the new Django Fellowship program. It sounds like they’re still trying to figure out how to get the word out, so I wanted to do what I could to tell you why you should chip in.
This particular blog post is going to focus on encouraging (peer-pressuring) commercial Django users in particular, though enthusiasts are welcome to read along!
Django is free and open source. Just provide the expertise and the infrastructure and you can build just about whatever web powered contraption you’d like. So you end up doing just that.
Your first stop is the Django tutorial, written and maintained by a community of volunteers (just like the rest framework itself). You stumble along, slowly at first. Perhaps you find yourself frustrated at times, or maybe things move along at a faster pace. In no time, you’ve got “Hello World!” rendering, and here comes a business idea!
One hundred lines of code turns into a thousand, then five thousand, and beyond. You start seeing signups, and revenue begins to trickle in. You toil away at your codebase, making improvements and dealing with the “accidental features” that crept in during one of your late night dev sessions.
You could have built your business on one of any number of frameworks, but you chose Django. You like how it’s a very productive way to build a web app. You appreciate how it’s not impossible to find Django developers to work with you. There are probably some things you don’t like, but you might not have the time to work on fixing them yourself. You’re just busy shipping and growing.
But it could be better still!
You’re happily using Django, it serves you well. There are a few things you’d love to see fixed or improved, but you don’t really have the time or expertise to contribute directly. As luck would have it, all of the Django core developers have day jobs themselves. Things would progress much more quickly if we had someone working full-time on Django…
Enter: Django Fellowship Program. The idea is to fund at least one Django developer to work for the DSF part or full-time for a while. During this fellowship, said developer sets aside some or all of their other responsibilities to focus on improving Django. The DSF, in turn, pays the developer a fair (but low rate) for their work.
As per the Tim Graham’s recent retrospective blog post, we’ve see some huge leaps forward for the project during these fellowships. These are periods of focus and rapid improvement that everyone (including your business) benefit from.
The only problem is that we’re not going to see the benefits of this program unless it gets (and stays) funded. A well-funded fellowship program could mean one (or more) developers working on Django full-time at any given point in time. That would be huge for the project (and you and I).
Why you should donate
As a business, we are donating to the fellowship program to see one of our critical components improved. Due to the fellowship application process, you can be assured that your money will be paying a capable, trusted developer to get things done.
Consequently, you can view a donation to the Django Fellowship program as an investment with an almost assuredly positive return. If you are making money with Django, consider making a (potentially tax-deductible) investment in what may be the foundation of your business.
At the end of the first full day of fund-raising, there are precious few commercial donors listed in the “Django Heroes” leaderboard. Let’s help change that!
If you don’t hold the purse strings at your business, get in touch with someone who does and tell them about this investment with near-guaranteed returns.