OpenTF: Reshaping the Future of Terraform through a Positive Approach



A new initiative called OpenTF is making waves in the tech community by taking a positive approach to addressing licensing concerns surrounding HashiCorp’s popular infrastructure automation tool, Terraform. The initiative aims to ensure the future of Terraform as an open-source, community-driven project, while also respecting HashiCorp’s goals as a successful business. This article examines the OpenTF initiative and its potential impact on the ecosystem.

Addressing Licensing Concerns: OpenTF places emphasis on the positive aspects of Terraform, such as its ease of use, upcoming releases, public roadmap, and engineering support. Rather than focusing solely on criticizing the licensing change, OpenTF aims to attract both business and individual users with free and community-driven solutions.

The Power of Support: Four companies have already pledged the equivalent of 14 full-time engineers to the OpenTF initiative, and this number is expected to grow significantly in the coming weeks. This level of support demonstrates the significance of the initiative and highlights the demand for an open-source Terraform.

Maintaining Compatibility: As OpenTF gains traction, HashiCorp may find it necessary to incorporate OpenTF support into their own products to remain compatible. This move could funnel more users towards OpenTF and further solidify its position within the ecosystem.

The Case for a Truly Open-Source Terraform: OpenTF’s manifesto expresses disagreement with HashiCorp’s decision to change Terraform’s license from an open-source to a non-free and open-source license. They argue that the success and widespread adoption of Terraform can be attributed to its open-source nature and the contributions from the community. OpenTF believes strongly in the need for a genuinely open-source and community-driven Terraform.

Clarifying the License Change: It’s important to note that OpenTF does not fault HashiCorp for its business decisions and acknowledges the achievements and contributions of the company. Their primary concern is the licensing change and the impact it may have on the future of Terraform. OpenTF seeks to find a middle ground that satisfies the interests of both the community and the company.

The Complexity of License Changes: The discussion concerning the license change becomes more intricate when considering the legal aspects. While HashiCorp has moved to the Business Source License (BSL), they cannot relicense preexisting contributions without explicit approval from each contributor or a signed copyright assignment agreement. OpenTF argues that any code used without permission could potentially lead to copyright infringement claims.

Conclusion: OpenTF is taking a positive approach to address the licensing concerns with Terraform, aiming to preserve its open-source nature and community-driven development. The initiative has garnered initial support and pledges from several companies, demonstrating its potential to reshape the Terraform ecosystem. As the movement continues to gain momentum, it will be interesting to see how HashiCorp responds and whether they will incorporate OpenTF support to remain compatible. Ultimately, OpenTF’s positive approach may prove to be the winning strategy in navigating the licensing issues surrounding Terraform.

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