Earlier this month HashiCorp announced it was changing the open source license it uses for Terraform and its other developer tools. The change triggered an uproar in the open source community. On Friday, a splinter group announced it was developing an open source fork of Terraform, and officially launched the OpenTF project.
“We completed all documents required for OpenTF to become part of the Linux Foundation with the end goal of having OpenTF as part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. By making a foundation responsible for the project, we will ensure the tool stays truly open-source and vendor-neutral,” the group wrote in a blog post on Friday.
Terraform is a popular tool for writing infrastructure as code, which enables developers to code connections to the infrastructure in a declarative way, greatly simplifying the work involved. Writing in an August 10th blog post, HashiCorp co-founder Armon Dadgar explained the reasoning for the change:
Our approach has enabled us to partner closely with the cloud providers to enable tight integration for our joint users and customers, as well as hundreds of other technology partners we work closely with. However, there are other vendors who take advantage of pure OSS models, and the community work on OSS projects, for their own commercial goals, without providing material contributions back. We don’t believe this is in the spirit of open source.
Some members of the community, however, felt betrayed and published a manifesto shortly after the HashiCorp announcement, demanding that HashiCorp return to the previous licensing arrangement, which was Mozilla Public License v2.0 (MPL 2.0), or the group would release its own open source version of Terraform.
HashiCorp, which believes it is just protecting its business with this change, did not meet those demands, and on Friday, the group took the next step in the journey to becoming its own independent open source project, separate from HashiCorp.
The group claims that since it published the manifesto, 400 companies, 10 projects and 400 individuals have signed up to help with the new project. Kelsey Hightower, long-time open source advocate and Kubernetes evangelist, wrote on X (the platform previously known as Twitter) that the formation of this group demonstrated the ability of the community to react to changes like this.
The Terraform situation, and the community's response, demonstrates the power of open source. The original maintainers made a decision a subset of their community doesn't agree with, they forked the project, and will continue building in a foundation. https://t.co/KcEfXOZG0R
— Kelsey Hightower (@kelseyhightower) August 25, 2023
The group wrote that it is still in the process of developing their alternative, but that it should be completed shortly. “We’re planning to publish the fork in the next 1-2 weeks. That doesn’t mean there will be a release by then, but the repository will be open. Releases (alpha and stable) should follow shortly."