HashiCorp’s licensing changes birthed a rebellious open source movement

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An interview with HashiCorp might not be pleased with the emergence of the Terraform fork, OpenTofu, following their decision to adopt the Business Source License. While HashiCorp sees challenges, the maintainers of OpenTofu see opportunities.

Sebastian Stadil, a co-founder of DevOps automation company Scalr and a member of the OpenTofu community, states that there was a sense of internal turmoil and stress within HashiCorp. When HashiCorp decided to change the license to BSL, the community saw it as an unexpected move. Stadil believes that while it was unfortunate, it presented an opportunity for the community.

The intention behind OpenTofu was to bring Terraform under the Linux Foundation’s umbrella to create a community-driven approach. Stadil explains that there were capabilities that users wanted in Terraform that were never accepted due to commercial considerations. This led to limited innovation in Terraform as it was controlled by HashiCorp’s commercial vision.

The decision to fork Terraform allowed the community to push for changes that had been long-awaited. The goal was to avoid vendor-driven approaches and focus on a community-driven model. Stadil emphasizes that this shift is liberating for the community, allowing them to incorporate desired features and build upon the project in ways that were previously restricted.

The swift appearance of OpenTofu after the license change was also influenced by the CNCF’s policy of using 100% open-source toolchains for projects. Since Terraform’s changes did not align with this policy, the need for a fork became imperative.

While the future of OpenTofu remains uncertain, there is a commitment to providing long-term support and further development. Stadil believes that this is just the beginning, and the community is excited to explore new possibilities and contribute to the project.

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