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Navigating Terraform's Licensing Transition and Introducing OpenToFu

By Brian Galura -

Navigating Terraform’s Licensing Transition and Introducing OpenToFu

On August 10, 2023, HashiCorp made a significant announcement regarding changes to the licensing of its products, including Terraform. Terraform, which had been open source for approximately nine years under the MPL v2 license, was slated to undergo a transformation into a non-open source product with a BSL v1.1 license, effective from the next version (1.6).

This shift in licensing has prompted concerns about the future of Terraform. There’s a belief that the adoption of a business-focused license could have adverse effects, such as a potential shift in community attention, businesses seeking alternative open-source solutions, and the gradual decline of independent tooling.

In response to recent developments, the OpenTofu project previously named OpenTF, has been initiated to secure the open nature of Terraform’s ecosystem. This endeavor has gained widespread backing from more than 100 organizations and numerous individual developers, signaling a strong commitment to its mission. As of August 23rd, the GitHub repository hosting the OpenTofu manifesto has already amassed over 2,200 stars, reflecting the enthusiasm within the open-source community.

The vision for the future of open-source Terraform, supported by the OpenTofu initiative, includes. This vision includes ensuring Terraform’s authenticity as a genuinely open-source platform, governed by a widely-accepted license that inspires trust and remains free from single-vendor control. It also involves fostering a community-driven approach, where the project’s direction is shaped collectively, and contributions are assessed on their merit. Impartiality plays a central role, as valuable enhancements and fixes are embraced based on their community-wide benefits, regardless of their impact on specific vendors. Additionally, there’s an emphasis on embracing a layered and modular structure to encourage the development of supplementary tools and integrations, nurturing a dynamic and thriving ecosystem around Terraform.

We won’t be embracing the paid BSL v1.1 license model; instead, we’re in the process of transitioning to the utilization of OpenTofu. The good news for our customers is that they won’t need to take any action since we’ll be handling this transition seamlessly behind the scenes.