Terraform was open-sourced in 2014 under the Mozilla Public License (v 2.0) (the “MPL”).
Over the next ~9 years, it built up a community that included thousands of users, contributors, customers,
certified practitioners, vendors, and an ecosystem of open-source modules, plugins,
libraries, and extensions.

Then, on August 10th, 2023, with little or no advance notice or chance for much, if not all,
of the community to have any input, HashiCorp switched the license for Terraform from the
MPL to the Business Source License (v1.1) (the “BUSL”), a non-open source license. In our
opinion, this change threatens the entire community and ecosystem that’s built up around
Terraform over the last 9 years.

Our concern: the BUSL license is a poison pill for Terraform.

Overnight, tens of thousands of businesses, ranging from one-person shops to the
Fortune 500, woke up to a new reality where the underpinnings of their infrastructure
suddenly became a potential legal risk. The BUSL and the additional use grant written by
the HashiCorp team are vague, and now every company, vendor, and developer using Terraform
has to wonder whether what they are doing could be construed as competitive with HashiCorp’s
offerings. The FAQ provides some solace for end-customers and systems integrators today,
but even if you might be in the clear now, how can you build confidence that your usage
won’t violate the license terms in the future? What if your products or HashiCorp’s products
change? What if HashiCorp changes how they interpret competitive? What if they change the
license again? As a result, everything that uses Terraform is on shaky ground.

It is clear to us that under the new license, the thriving ecosystem built up around the
open source Terraform will dwindle and wither. As developers consider what tools to learn
and what ecosystems to contribute to, and as companies consider what tools to use to manage
their infrastructure, more and more, they’ll pick alternatives that are genuinely open-source.
Existing Terraform codebases will turn into outdated liabilities, independent tooling will
all but disappear, and the community will fracture and disappear.

This sort of change also harms all similar open-source projects. Every company and every
developer now needs to think twice before adopting and investing in an open-source project
in case the creator suddenly decides to change the license. Imagine if the creators of Linux
or Kubernetes suddenly switched to a non-open-source license that only permitted
non-competitive usage.

We believe that the essential building blocks of the modern Internet, such as Linux, Kubernetes,
and Terraform need to be truly open source: that is the only way to ensure
that we are building our industry on top of solid and predictable underpinnings.

Our goal: ensure Terraform remains truly open source—always.

Our aim with this manifesto is to return Terraform to a fully open source license. BSL
is not open source, so this would mean moving Terraform back to the MPL license,
or some other well-known, widely accepted open source license (e.g., Apache License 2.0).
Moreover, we want to be confident that Terraform will always remain open source, so you
don’t have to worry about another sudden license change putting everything at risk.

Our request to HashiCorp: switch Terraform back to an open source license.

We ask HashiCorp to do the right thing by the community: instead of going forward with the
BUSL license change, switch Terraform back to a truly open source license, and commit to keeping
it that way forever going forward. That way, instead of fracturing the community, we end up with
a single, impartial, reliable home for Terraform where the whole community can unite to keep
building this amazing ecosystem.

Our fallback plan: fork Terraform into a foundation.

If HashiCorp is unwilling to switch Terraform back to an open source license, we propose to fork
the legacy MPL-licensed Terraform and maintain the fork in the foundation. This is similar to how
Linux and Kubernetes are managed by foundations (the Linux Foundation and the Cloud Native
Computing Foundation, respectively), which are run by multiple companies, ensuring the tool stays
truly open source and neutral, and not at the whim of any one company.

In particular, we want to create a foundation for Terraform that is:

  • Truly open source – under a well-known and widely-accepted license that companies can trust,
    that won’t suddenly change in the future, and isn’t subject to the whims of a single vendor
  • Community-driven – so that the community governs the project for the community, where pull
    requests are regularly reviewed and accepted on their merit
  • Impartial – so 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 – with a programmer-friendly project structure
    to encourage building on top, enabling a new vibrant ecosystem of
    tools and integrations
  • Backwards-compatible – so that the existing code can drive value for years to come

Supporters

We acknowledge that maintaining an open source project such as Terraform takes a considerable investment
in terms of time, skill, effort, and coordination. We are grateful to HashiCorp for creating Terraform
and their leadership in getting it to this point, and to the thousands of community members for their
contributions so far. The next step for Terraform must be to remain open source, either by HashiCorp
switching it back to a truly open source license or by us forking it into a foundation. Whichever way
it turns out, to ensure that there is sufficient investment to grow and evolve Terraform, the
signatories below pledge to pool our resources to build a more open, inclusive future
for an open source Terraform.

Instructions

If you’re willing to join our cause, please sign the manifesto as follows:

  1. Check out the manifesto repo (instructions).
  2. Add a new row to the end of the table below with your details.
  3. Open a pull request with your changes (instructions).

Contact us

If you are a member of the community, a member of the press, an employee of HashiCorp, or anyone else
with questions or feedback to share, you can reach the team behind this manifesto by emailing us at
pledge@opentf.org.

Share

Frequently Asked Questions

Is OpenTF going to be a foundation?

We strongly prefer joining an existing reputable foundation over creating a new one. Stay tuned for additional details in the coming week.

Can anyone pledge?

Yes, the pledge is open to both all individuals and all companies who care about the future of Terraform. You can also support this initiative by staring this manifesto repository on GitHub and spreading the word via share buttons.

HashiCorp deserves to earn a return on their investment. What’s wrong with that?

When any company releases their tool as open source, the contract with the community is always the same: Anyone can use this code, but we the creators hold a privileged position of being at the epicenter of the ecosystem. Vendors then compete to offer the best solution, and the creators enjoy a unique competitive advantage.

We believe that HashiCorp should earn a return by leveraging its unique position in the Terraform ecosystem to build a better product, not by outright preventing others from competing in the first place.

Co-signed

Name Type How you’d like to help
Gruntwork Company Development; open-source community efforts
Spacelift Company Cover the cost of 5 FTEs for at least 5 years
env0 Company Cover the cost of 5 FTEs for at least 5 years
Scalr Company Cover the cost of 3 FTEs for at least 5 years
Digger Company Development; open-source community efforts
Doppler Company Development; open-source community efforts
Gem Agile Company Development; open-source community efforts
Massdriver Company Development; open-source community efforts
Qovery Company Development; open-source community efforts
Rivet Company Development; open-source community efforts
Terramate Company Development; open-source community efforts
Terrateam Company Development; open-source community efforts
Verifa Company Development; open-source community efforts
Argonaut Company Development; open-source community efforts
Finisterra Company Development; open-source community efforts
AutoCloud Company Development; open-source community efforts
35up Company Testing; code reviews; open-source community efforts
Cirrus Assessment Company Testing; minor development; open-source community efforts
Amach Company Development; open-source community efforts
SMS Data Products Company Development; open-source community efforts
Cloud Posse Company Development; open-source community efforts
RoseSecurity Research Company Development; open-source community efforts
CloudDrove Company Development; open-source community efforts
Red Queen Dynamics Company Development; open-source community efforts
Octo Ventures Company Development; open-source community efforts
Oxide Computer Company Company Development; open-source community efforts
Vates Company Development; open-source community efforts
Coherence Company Development; open-source community efforts
Nullstone Company Development; open-source community efforts
Hestio Company Testing; documentation; open-source community efforts
appCD Company Development; open-source community efforts
CloudKnit Company Development; open-source community efforts
Code Factory Company Development; open-source community efforts
Indeo Solutions Company Development; open-source community efforts
0pass Company Development; open-source community efforts
AppsCode Company Development; open-source community efforts
Firefly Company Development; open-source community efforts
ControlMonkey Company Development; open-source community efforts
Labyrinth Labs Company Development; open-source community efforts
Wakam Company Development; open-source community efforts
Zerodha Tech Company Development; open-source community efforts
Ahead Guru Company Development; open-source community efforts; Consultant and Solutions Provider/td>
HanaByte Company Development; open-source community efforts
OpenTeams Company (Collective) Community Work Orders; Open Source Business Development; OSA Community Support
Quansight Company Development; Usage Testing esp. from SciPyData ecosystem; open-source community efforts
Veo Technologies Company Development; open-source community efforts
ReferrsMe Company Development; open-source community efforts
FivexL Company Development; open-source community efforts; sponsorship
Funky Penguin Company Documentation; open-source community efforts
OTF Project Development; open-source community efforts
Terrakube Project Development; open-source community efforts
Kubestack Project Development; open-source community efforts
Elastic2ls Project Development; open-source community efforts
Layerform Project Development; open-source community efforts
Mariano Rodríguez Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Ted Parvu Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Mike Hodgkins Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Thomas Schuetz Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Kelvin Soares Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Chris Doyle Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Alex Panayi Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Sandro Manke Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Dave Overall Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Jeff Frasca Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Jeff Wenzbauer Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Alex Levinson Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Michael Pursifull Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Teodor Kostadinov Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Patrick Jain-Taylor Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Daniel Ristic Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Debasish Mishra Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Eddie Herbert Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Curtis Vanzandt Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Talal Tahir Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Kevin Rathbun Individual Development; open-source community efforts
David Douglas Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Coin Graham Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Jim Jagielski Individual Development; open-source community efforts and Open Source foundation experience
Maciej Strzelecki Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Ioannis Polyzos Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Elvis McNeely Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Yoaquim Cintron Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Viktor Nagornyy Individual Open-source community efforts; Non-profit experience; Fundraising/Open Collective
Ronny López Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Khrist Hansen Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Fatih Tokus Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Bill Oberacker Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Tiago Rodrigues Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Nik Kotov Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Nikolay Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Simón Ramos Individual Development; open-source community efforts
John Walsh Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Zoltan Vigh Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Ilyas Hamdi Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Samuel Phan Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Denis Vaumoron Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Lawal AbdulLateef Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Nils Knieling Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Bruno Schaatsbergen Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Aymen Segni Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Luis M. Gallardo D. Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Willi Carlsen Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Lucas Tesson Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Simon Effenberg Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Ofer Chen Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Arthur Busser Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Ahmed Qazi Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Oliver Shaw Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Nikul Jain Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Alex Torres Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Rasmus Rask Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Henare Degan Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Vineet Pal Singh Rauniwal Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Bruno Mattarollo Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Mahesh Rijal Individual Testing; Documentation; open-source community efforts
Thomas van Latum Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Piotr Plenik Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Nguyen Duy Phuong Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Diego Cristóbal Individual Development; open-source community efforts and Open Source foundation experience
Yasha Prikhodko Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Allie Coleman Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Scott A. Williams Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Kevin Zheng Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Gayan Hewa Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Yadav Lamichhane Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Wan Azlan Wan Mansor Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Ben McNicholl Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Minchul Joh Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Karan Sharma Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Colin Wilson Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Dylan Hitt Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Thomas Senay Individual Testing; Documentation
Alik Khilazhev Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Gary Mclean Individual Development; open-source community efforts
David Jones Individual Development; Consultancy; Leveraging OS tools on behalf of clients
Bob Rohan Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Javier Ruiz Jimenez Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Igor Rodionov Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Sumeet Ninawe Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Ravish Tiwari Individual Development; open-source community efforts; Helping teams adopt scalable Open Source IaC tools
Alexander Sharov Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Nikolai Mishin Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Ovidiu BOGDAN Individual Development; open-source community efforts; Testing; Documentation;
Webert Lima Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Mahsoud Badalbaev Individual Development; Research; Testing; Helping teams adopt scalable Open Source IaC tools
Farshad Nematdoust Individual open-source community efforts; Testing; Helping teams adopt scalable Open Source IaC tools
Roozbeh Shafiee Individual Development; Research; Testing; Helping teams adopt scalable Open Source IaC tools
Eran Elbaz Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Razvan Cranganu Individual Development; open-source community efforts; Documentation;
Yuriy Medvedev Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Piotr Mossakowski Individual Development; Testing; Documentation; open-source community efforts
Włodzimierz Gajda Individual Development; Research; Testing; Helping teams adopt scalable Open Source IaC tools
Bennie Mosher Individual Development; Research; Testing; Helping teams adopt scalable Open Source IaC tools
Alessio Dionisi Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Thom (Spyro) Smith Individual Development; Testing; open-source community efforts
Alan Ip Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Ayodele Spencer Ademeso Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Ken Spur Individual Development; open-source community efforts
Pedro Freitas Individual Development; open-source community efforts; Helping teams adopt scalable Open Source IaC tools

August 16th, 2023

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