As the CEO of Spacelift, I am thrilled to share the exciting news about OpenTofu (formerly OpenTF) becoming a part of the Linux Foundation. Earlier today, Jim Zemlin and Sebastian Stadil made this announcement on the stage of the Open Source Summit in Bilbao. They also revealed that OpenTofu would be going through the process of joining the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.
So, what exactly is OpenTofu?
OpenTofu is a fork of the legacy MPL-licensed Terraform. Unlike new releases of Terraform, OpenTofu is, and will always be, truly open source, community-driven, and impartial. The OpenTofu repository is publicly available, allowing you to see everything OpenTofu contributors have been working on.
The OpenTofu initiative was launched with significant initial support, boasting over 18 full-time equivalents (FTEs) committed to the project from four companies. The manifesto has been endorsed by over 140 companies, involving 11 projects with the participation of over 700 individuals. Moreover, the manifesto has received more than 35,000 GitHub stars, and the fork itself has garnered over 6,000 stars in just one week.
Now, why should you care?
If you’re like many Terraform users, you’ve likely spent the last few weeks pondering the implications of the BSL announcement for you and your company. Can you continue using Terraform? Can you integrate it into your CI/CD pipeline? Should you consider alternatives like CloudFormation, Pulumi, or Crossplane? Do you need to develop custom tooling for Terraform? Will you be required to pay for Terraform? Is Terraform Cloud or Enterprise your only option now? Is HashiCorp going to put the squeeze on you? Unfortunately, the ever-changing FAQ provided no clarity.
With OpenTofu, you have a clear path to maintaining the status quo. You won’t need to fret about BSL and its complexities. OpenTofu is the evolution of legacy Terraform.
What does joining the Linux Foundation mean for OpenTofu?
The decision to join the Linux Foundation is significant because it provides OpenTofu with a stable and well-respected organizational home. This move ensures that the project remains independent and avoids the risk of being controlled or influenced by a single company, which is a concern that many in the open-source community share.
By joining the Linux Foundation, you can rest assured that the tool will remain truly open source and neutral, free from the influence of any single company. It will continue to be:
- Truly open source – under a well-known and widely-accepted license that companies can trust, one that won’t suddenly change in the future or be at the mercy of a single vendor’s business plans.
- Community-driven – with the community governing the project, regularly reviewing and accepting pull requests based on their merit.
- Impartial – ensuring that valuable features and fixes are accepted based on their value to the community, regardless of their impact on any particular vendor.
- Layered and modular – featuring a programmer-friendly project structure that encourages building on top of it, fostering a new vibrant ecosystem of tools and integrations.
- Backwards-compatible – ensuring that existing code can continue to deliver value for years to come.
As a part of the Linux Foundation, the project will be safeguarded against the risk of any single organization altering its licensing terms. It will always remain open.
Now, why is this important for you and your organization?
Legacy Terraform served as the foundation for countless infrastructure teams. If you used Terraform, you likely invested significant effort in making it work seamlessly for your company. With the license change, HashiCorp exercised their full control over Terraform effectively limiting the permitted usage. And it might not be over. They could alter the license terms further, mandate payment for Terraform use, and potentially back you into a corner. Using the BSL version of Terraform is likely to put your company at risk. While things might turn out fine, you’re left at the mercy of a single vendor with complete control over your infrastructure.
OpenTofu addresses real concerns and provides a clear and attractive alternative in the world of infrastructure as code. Its commitment to open-source principles, community-driven development, and neutrality under the Linux Foundation’s umbrella should all contribute to its rapid rise.
Finally, OpenTofu provides you with a dependable path to maintain the status quo. You can breathe easy, knowing that you won’t need to navigate the complexities of BSL. OpenTofu is the natural progression of legacy Terraform, backed by a strong and independent foundation.