Nominations are due November 30th for next year’s Board of the Django Software Foundation, the non-profit that runs Django. We discuss the DSF’s mission, day-to-day work, and how to become more involved in the community.
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Carlton Gibson 0:06
Hello welcome to another episode of Django Chat, a fortnightly podcast on the Django web framework. I'm Carlton Gibson joined as ever by Will Vincent, how are you Will?
Will Vincent 0:13
I'm good. Hi, Carlton.
Carlton Gibson 0:14
Today we're going to talk about the special edition talk about the upcoming Django board the election to the Django Software Foundation Board, which is this week, right?
Will Vincent 0:25
Yeah, it's nominations are due by the end of day of the 30th. And this should come out on the 25th. And so we're just going to talk briefly about what the board does. And there's a whole number of things that the board could do, and really encourage people to get involved either nominating themselves or think about what they want Django to do the next year, because the board drives this. So it's, it's pretty important, but I don't know that everyone has a sense of what the board does. So yeah, so let's talk about so. So Django is run by a nonprofit, the Django Software Foundation, and it has annual elections. There's currently seven members, I'm one of them. I'm the treasurer, happens every year. Anyone can nominate themselves, doesn't matter who you are, the voting happens by the individual members,we have a link to that there's, I want to say around 200, I think it's a little bit less than that. But an individual member is someone who's nominated by the community. The board reviews, this is basically a special mailing list. So it's basically there's the board, there's the members, and then there's kind of everyone else. So you should also if you're involved with Django and not a member, consider nominating yourself or nominating someone because we want that list to be accurate. But that's who votes on the board. But anyone can be on the board. You don't have to be a member to be on the board.
Carlton Gibson 1:44
Yeah, on this to What would I say? initial pitch, I say, look, if you use Django and you, you know, you it's an opportunity to give back which isn't directly involved in you know, contributing cold, you can you know, what have you got to what have you got to give? Well, to be on the board, you're on the board. So what have you got to do what commitment?
Will Vincent 2:05
I think I've gone a little overboard this year. But I mean, generally speaking, it's a couple hours a month, we have a one hour meeting, once a month. And in the interim, there's emails that go around. It's It can be as as little or as much as you want it to be, basically, but it's as little as a couple hours a month. And the nonprofit handles everything non technical about Django, it handles paying the fellows like you Carlton, it handles raising donations, it handles conference in sponsorship
things. sponsoring Django girls, that kind of thing. Yep, it helps with, like, we just had depth 10. So there's a new technical board overseeing that election, validating it.
You know, we put out a statement around Black Lives Matter. Sometimes there's Code of Conduct things. It's really just everything that makes Django, Django, the board, you know, enforcing the trademark, right, so that you don't have for profit companies having Django in their name.
There's a lot of different things, but maybe I can talk about so what is a normal meeting look like? Because the minutes are public, but they're a little hard to find. But so it's an hour total. Generally starts off with, we've got notes, we do video conferencing, we go over the budget. So I'm the treasurer. So I've been I'll talk a little bit more about that. But the budget matters, balancing, you know, outflows and inflows, broadly speaking, the outflows around two thirds. So the annual budget is around $180,000 a year. That varies a little bit, but it's about that. And then the balance sheet of what Django has on hand is, has gone down a little bit this year, it's around 155,000. So we have less than a year's operating cash for everything.
And most of that money goes to the fellows so to you and to Mariusz the next biggest slug, by far is to conference and sponsor workshops. Then there's also there's a Malcolm tredinnick Award.
There's a small amount, like it's maybe $2,000 total of just legal financial to maintain the nonprofit status. There's also hosting costs for the Django project website, things like that. So we go over the budget if anything's changed, really this, a lot of this is
donors. So money comes from general donations. So you and I can do make donations. You can do it in the website, you can do that. We get up sponsors, you can
Carlton Gibson 4:26
use amazon smile, and now you can do the merchandise. So that's that's the job but the biggest chunk, also corporate sponsors, right? I mean, well, this is one if your risers, the biggest chunk by far, if you're a company that depends on Django, then it's really you know, it's like taking out insurance on your technical dependencies to sponsor the Django test. Django Software Foundation, it's a really valuable thing that you can do in it probably be tax deductible because it's charity, charitable, charitable donation, it is annual, what you're buying with that is eight Well, you can you can put badge on your website and you can say hey, we sponsor the channel.
Software Foundation, which really helps with hiring, but what you're really buying is the security of the framework, the technology that you depend on.
Will Vincent 5:08
Yeah, absolutely. And I think, speaking for myself on the board, corporate sponsors is an area, we've done some things, we added badges, we could do a lot more, we've lost our two Platinum members this year. So that's a loss of $50,000.
I think the board can and should do a lot more to give prominence to Okay, I'm a member. It's not just that you're on the site. But maybe you're featured in some way or they're, you know, we'll talk about we'd like to make some updates to the documentation in general to give corporate sponsors a little bit more, but it but it is security, because we know that these companies rely on Django and you know, it's a handful of companies that contribute, it's really not that many. And part of that is the budget of Django itself is not that big. It's not Python or anything. It's not millions of dollars, it's meant to be small. But it's also meant to be
a cushion to be safe. You know, one of my goals for next year, I'm running again, as treasurer, if I'm selected is to try to increase the cushion. So we have at least a year and a half a year or year and a half.
You know, cushion for maybe Django at some point needs to wind down maybe we want to add different things like we don't want to have a cash crunch. And if we had to, there's a number of things we could do. I mean, we could put ads on tomorrow, that would raise money, you know, we could go around more directly to companies and say, Hey, Django is at risk. But what we'd rather do is have it be a healthy community where the companies that are using Django, contribute to Django and get something for that. And probably more than they currently get, I think we in the board could do more on that. Yeah. And what are your thoughts, Carlton?
Carlton Gibson 6:40
Yeah, I mean, to call out the sponsors would be a good thing. And to adjust the site to make that happen by, you know, I think we don't exactly don't want to get to this position where we're like, hey, jack was in risk at risk. Can you sponsor? It's, you know, if you use
Will Vincent 6:58
Yeah, we want to avoid that.
Carlton Gibson 6:59
A corporate sponsorship for this for your size of company isn't a big commitment. And, you know, if you are listening, and you do run a Django shop, you know, to go and check out the corporate membership and join.
Will Vincent 7:09
Yeah, and, you know, right into the board, tell us, what would be beneficial to you, too. I mean, again, it's, it's seven people, it's volunteers. I think there is this sense of who is Django Django should do more. It's like, well, Django is the community, people need to, you know, apply to be an individual member, you know, make comments, make an effort, because it doesn't happen. You know, on its own, no one's paid to do this. Yeah, on the board, or the technical side. But like, you know, for instance, to to call out sponsors, say on the Django project website, more, that would involve a bit of a redesign of the Django project website. But that's not something that an individual contributor is just going to do by opening a pull request on Django project Comm. It needs to be kind of put forward, but which I always think But hang on, we're web professional, surely we can put as a community, we can put together a, you know, a really good website, this is what we do for a living? Yeah, well, it's the difference between a burst and a sustained effort. And that's so I started on the Django forum, we'll put a link there is a topic around. Okay, what, you know, if we increase the budget for the Django Software Foundation, however, we did that, what would we use it on, because partly, the board, you know, isn't going to put in the effort to raise more money unless we know where it needs to go. So we know that it'd be nice to have more of a cushion. But, you know, if we, if the community agreed, we really want to have a doc fellow. And maybe that's full time, maybe that's part time, but specifically to focus on these areas, right? Well, then we can say, Okay, how much is that going to cost? We can, you know, it gives us a goal to hit, and to improve things. So it really needs to come from the community, I would say before the board can do it. So I hope you people will take a look at the funding things and make your suggestions. You know, one of the things about Jenga, that's great is that it's a community, but it can be frustrating, and that it's a community. It's not, you know, Laravel, right, which is a PHP framework, but there's the Creator, he runs it all. And he has a handful of services, like he has a hosting thing. He's adding all sorts of stuff. You know, as a direct link between, he makes enough off those things, he can do what he wants, and he can just act. Django is a little bit slower. By Design. I mean, we don't have Adrian and Jacob step down is benevolent dictator for life. So it is a community so people do need to speak up, I guess is what I'm saying.
Carlton Gibson 9:24
Yes, yeah. No, I mean, joy. Yeah, joining them, the forum, joining the mailing list, joining the you know, join the Django Software Foundation, as an individual member, contribute to the discussion there, if you've got ideas to how to push forward, put them forward. If you think you know what, I can really make a difference here. Well put yourself in for the board lets you know that run for it and if you get on, you can implement those things. If you don't get on you can still implement those things you can write to the board saying, hey, I want to do this. Like it's Yeah, it's not an all or nothing, but Django is just as strong as the community that built it and we have a great community and you know, you go to a Django con What an amazing investment.
Will Vincent 10:00
It is, but it does need us to stand up and do that, you know, hour to a month. That's that little bit extra just to, you know, keep the life in. Yeah. And I think it's important to do it from a sense of contributing rather than a sense of, you know, worry that Django is at risk in some way. It's not it's no longer term it might be. But yeah, if you're and also, it's a great way to meet people. I mean, if I think about my own time, on the board, I mean, I've met the other board members I've interacted with, you know, it's been personally beneficial to donate my time. And again, as you said, like it does, you don't have to be a board member to do these things. So it's great. If you come down to the board, come on with a goal of what you want to achieve, right? I mean, because there is a whole bunch of day to day things the board needs to do. But I think it's great if people come in with with goals around what they want to do. So yeah, I mean, that was for me, when I applied last year, I had an internal list of a couple things I wanted to do. And one of them was set up a merchandise store, which we have one of them was do the Django survey, which we did get up sponsors are merged. That took quite a bit of work, but we got that on there.
So I think it's, you know, again, as the nominations come up, as the new board will take place in December, it's important to come in with ideas of what you want to do, rather than just, you know, show up and be like, what should we do? It's like, well, you need to have agency on that matter. Yeah, it's an opportunity, isn't it? I think it's right that Django is a healthy community. And all we're really saying is, you know, if you've got a bit of a, if you've got a bit of an inclination, then join in, because that's what keeps you healthy. Yeah. And I guess the one more thing I would say, is this upcoming election, there'll be a new president, because so Frank Wiles has been the president for the last five years, and unofficially, it's been a five year post, Russell, Keith McGee had it before him. So the President is, you know, the lead person who plays the largest role. So it's especially important, you know, look at who not, you know, if you're interested in nominate yourself for president and look at who's nominee themselves and give some thought to Who do you think would be a good leader? For Django? Because that position in particular, matters quite a bit going forward for the direction project. Okay. What else? I think that's it. We just wanted to call attention to these nominees, the the boards important, the nominations are important. If you have questions, you can always email the board, you can ask us, I'm happy to answer in the forum.
But, you know, get involved. Yeah. So calls to action sponsor, the Django Software Foundation, join the server itself event, they should vote in the election, nominate yourself for the election, even if you don't get on the board. Put your ideas forward. Yeah. And if you're at a company, and you're not a corporate sponsor, consider doing it. And if you are one and you want more from Django, do send us your ideas for things that we can implement, especially if we are able to have a Doc's fellow and rejigger that part of the site. You know, let us know. So yep, that's it. As ever, we'll be here every two weeks. We've got a whole bunch of interviews in the can and we'll look forward to sharing those with you next time.
Carlton Gibson 13:00
Join us next time buh-bye.