17–19 October 2016: Conference & Tutorials
19–20 October 2016: Training
London, UK

Open source or proprietary: Choose wisely

Patrick McFadin (DataStax)
10:50–11:30 Monday, 17/10/2016
The business of open source: From project to product
Location: Buckingham Room Level: Non-technical
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 1 rating)

Prerequisite knowledge

  • Basic knowledge of OSS software and some of the basic ideals of open source

What you'll learn

  • Understand the reasons for choosing to build OSS or proprietary software
  • Learn some objective ways to decide between the two


If you’re involved in open source work in or around a business, you will inevitably have the discussion, “Is this open source or proprietary?” Do not take this moment lightly. This seemingly easy question is met with strong opinions on both sides. Friendships have been lost. Companies have suffered. It’s as close to religious warfare as we can get in the tech world.

It’s time to call a truce.

There are plenty of valid arguments on both sides. Patrick McFadin outlines the pros and cons of each. Using example scenarios of projects that must decide whether or not they’ll be open source, Patrick explores objective ways to make a decision without descending into chaos and name calling. Even without a completely objective picture, understanding both sides of the argument can help keep you on track and civil. Patrick has been involved in OSS for more years than he likes to admit and would love for his past mistakes to benefit you.

Topics include:

  • Key questions to ask to help guide your decision
  • Reasons for choosing OSS
  • Reasons for staying strictly proprietary
  • Considerations for mixing OSS and proprietary models
  • Transitioning from one model to the other
Photo of Patrick McFadin

Patrick McFadin


Patrick McFadin is the vice president of developer relations at DataStax, where he leads a team devoted to making users of DataStax products successful. Previously, he was chief evangelist for Apache Cassandra and a consultant for DataStax, where he helped build some of the largest and exciting deployments in production; a chief architect at Hobsons; and an Oracle DBA and developer for over 15 years.