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What HashiCorp’s license change means for Spacelift customers

What HashiCorp’s license change means for Spacelift customers

On August 10, HashiCorp announced that they are changing the license on all their products to exclude use by direct competitors.

What does it mean in practice?

Beyond Terraform 1.5.5, direct HashiCorp competitors will be unable to incorporate the source code or embed or distribute newer versions of Terraform.

How does it impact us?

What we know for sure is that current versions of Terraform are, and will remain, unaffected, so there is no concern for your usage today. We are working with lawyers and experts to ensure we remain compliant going forward. We will provide updates soon.

Can they do it?

Yes, they can. They required every contributor to Terraform to sign a CLA that allowed this. Being legal does not make the move ethical or consistent with the ideals of open source software.

They claim that we’re taking advantage of what they’re building. Are they right?

Software is normally built in layers, and it’s not unusual to have commercial layers running on top of open source layers. Nobody is accusing GitHub of exploiting the Git ecosystem. In fact, much of the success of Git is due to the emergence of higher-level platforms like GitHub, Bitbucket, GitLab, and others. Competition in services on top of Terraform has recently driven much innovation as many of our own concepts eventually found their way to Terraform Cloud. It’s also worth remembering that Terraform itself is built on top of multiple open source libraries and an open source ecosystem. Without the volunteer work of hundreds of unpaid individuals, HashiCorp products would not be successful, there would be no ecosystem, and the company would not exist.

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