Gittip is a community of people building the Commons. This is the first post in a series called “Back the Stack,” where we highlight free software developers whom you can support through Gittip.
This post is by Stephen McDonald, creator and lead developer of the Mezzanine CMS and Cartridge shopping cart for Django.
Three years ago I started working on Mezzanine and Cartridge, a CMS and ecommerce combination platform. At that time I was working for a company where we needed something like Mezzanine and Cartridge to standardize our Django development work, and so I was able to spend a significant amount of time working on these projects to support the work my company was doing.
Fast forward to now, and Mezzanine and Cartridge have grown much more popular than I would have ever anticipated, with a wonderful community of developers forming around both projects together. Development has continued every week in some form or another since the projects were first started, but these days with the amount of growth they’ve received and change of direction around my day job, it’s often a struggle to find the time, both to support the always-growing community of users, and to continue the development of features to make Mezzanine and Cartridge even better.
I’ve never had any expectation around returns on the development of Mezzanine and Cartridge, other than the potential for Feeling Good about creating something amazing that helps other developers out, by making their and their users lives easier - and as I mentioned, this has happened at a level much greater than I would have ever imagined. But as life has changed, and I’ve found myself with less time available for the growing amount of work needed to continue these projects, I’ve often dreamt of what it would be like to be able to work on them full time. I think the potential would be amazing, but I’ve never worked out how that could possibly be funded. Like a lot of people, I have bills to pay and a wife and child to support, so I’ve never had the opportunity to just drop everything and explore how this might work. To make a living from continuing the development of the free software I’ve built is my dream, though.