back to article OpenTF forks Terraform, insists HashiCorp is the splinter group

Two weeks after HashiCorp changed the terms under which its Terraform software is licensed, users of the infrastructure automation project – corporate rivals among them – have created a fork of the Terraform code. HashiCorp's announcement this month it would switch from the Mozilla Public License (MPL) to the Business Source …

  1. Ozzard

    Oh good, I chose well

    When we picked Terraform a year ago, we reckoned it was too big to fail and that if it went proprietary then someone would fork it and we'd still be able to use it. Turns out we were right. We'll continue contributing PRs for the providers we use where we need more functionality.

  2. ZenaB

    Cost models were/are crazy

    I've not costed out the new model, but the old one was shocking as well - many thousands per user was a ridiculous number.

    1. djack

      Re: Cost models were/are crazy

      Not just Terraform. We use Vault for PKI and secrets storage in an environment for a small team. I went looking for pricing, but there was no affordable option for a small business. I would imagine that if they had something between the free and megacorp price thresholds then they might be a bit more profitable.

  3. Sam Paton


    Good luck to them, at least we can get PRs accepted again. Pretty confident that Hashicorp will get left behind pretty quick on this one.

    Lucky they have other products

  4. two00lbwaster

    They're going to need to replicated the docs site

    These projects are going to inevitably diverge so they're going to have to provide an opentf docs site for their forked version otherwise people will end up in the maddening situation of "why does this not just work".

  5. Anonymous Coward

    So adapter suppliers...

    ... will now have to support two branches.

    Because features and integration points are doomed to become different after some time...

    1. midgepad

      Re: So adapter suppliers...

      Strictly, they'll _have_ to support one branch. But the choice of which, there's a problem.

  6. JLV

    We'll see. I overall really like HashiCorp and I am unsure how hurtful a "good faith" restriction, if really ONLY intended to limit monetizing opportunities for large scale resellers of TerraForm, would be to all its regular users.

    To Amazon, looking to pull an RDS. Maybe? To everyone else? Why should we care, if the rest remains the same?

    And, to take a counter example, MongoDB isn't doing particularly badly after pulling essentially the same trick.

    I suppose it all comes down to what those license changes really mean in practice. If it becomes an excuse to pull extortionate license fees, like Oracle wanted to do with their "open source" Java language, then it deserves whatever it gets.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      It really depends on how conservative users are. I tend to let license conditions rule my actions even when there's little chance of enforcement; if there is a clause that says I need a license for production use, then I'll assume that production use probably includes a lot of things and will either buy a license or more likely just not use it. Yes, they may not care about my tiny uses and never try to enforce that bit, but I tend to assume that if they can, then someone might, so I should act as if they will after I've invested resources into that tool.

      1. JLV

        There are different constituencies wrt open source licenses and yours is an eminently reasonable approach.

        You've got regular users - like you - who will react in various ways.

        You have past project contributors, who will hold an opinion (you did them to sign a Contributor License Agreement, right?)

        You have the people in charge of the fork. Who may get it right (likely). Or not (less likely).

        You have people who hold strong views about open source licenses, just on ethical principles. Ah, those lovely GPL vs Affero vs MIT wars....

        And you have big, big corporations that resell hosting of open source programs they never contributed to and barely support financially. Not that I have a huge beef with them otherwise, but Amazon comes to mind, they're famous for it in this field.

        It could very well be Terraform runs into the weeds with this. But I am far from certain that it will happen, and IF they act in good faith to mostly limit exploitation by the last group, I am not sure why they should.

  7. JamesTGrant

    A question for y’all

    From the license text: ‘does not include offering the Licensed Work to third parties on a hosted or embedded basis which is competitive with HashiCorp's products.’

    Surely this is problematic - how can I possibly know what HashiCorp’s products are going to be tomorrow? If tomorrow they add a feature that compares to something in my product today, have they just caused me to become non-compliant?

    If Terraform is used by my product to deploy and manage the lifecycle of some infrastructure in t’cloud for my product to run on, and I charge my customer for use of my application, am I ‘competing’ with HashiCorp?

    Given their insistence that they’ve made a good job on the license with their legal experts, it seems very losey goosey to me.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: A question for y’all

      That's the trouble with many proprietary semi-open licenses. They're intended to look like they are basically the same as open source, just not for AWS and Azure. Since you're not AWS or Azure, then you shouldn't feel any difference and should stop complaining about the change in license. They then have the freedom to interpret the new license conditions as applying to whoever they want, which means that the original people might actually limit it to the large cloud providers, but if someone purchases the company later and decides to apply it to you, they are able to send threatening letters. It might not stand up in court, but they have lots of ways to try to threaten someone into paying. This is why I don't view those licenses as anything other than proprietary. Like or hate the OSI, I support the definition they wrote.

  8. anderlan

    Look what Hashi made OpenTF do.

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