Terraform fork gets renamed OpenTofu, and joins Linux Foundation


Fried Tofu in a bowl with chopped sticks.
Image Credits: Amarita / Getty Images

When HashiCorp announced it was changing its Terraform license in August, it set off a firestorm in the open source community, and actually represented an existential threat to startups that were built on top of the popular open source project. The community went into action and within weeks they had written a manifesto, and soon after that launched an official fork called OpenTF.

Today, that group went a step further when the Linux Foundation announced OpenTofu, the official name for the Terraform fork, which will live forever under the auspices of the foundation as an open source project. At the same time, the project announced it would be applying for entry into the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

“OpenTofu is an open and community-driven response to Terraform’s recently announced license change from a Mozilla Public License v2.0 (MPLv2) to a Business Source License v1.1 providing everyone with a reliable, open source alternative under a neutral governance model,” the foundation said in a statement.

The name is deliberately playful says Yevgeniy (Jim) Brikman from the OpenTofu founding team, who is also co-founder of Gruntwork. “I’m glad your reaction was to laugh. That’s a good thing. We’re trying to keep things a little more humorous,” Brikman told TechCrunch, but the group is dead serious when it comes to building an open fork.

Brikman said HashiCorp left the splinter group with little choice but to launch the fork: “HashiCorp, give them full credit, did an incredible job getting the project to where it is today. But core building blocks like Terraform have to always be open source. That’s just a fundamental belief that all of us have — and it was shocking when the license was changed to a non-open source license,” he said.

Terraform gives developers the ability to treat infrastructure as code and describe how the application and the infrastructure work together, saving oodles of time previously spent coding.

In addition to Gruntwork, the other members of the founding group include Harness Labs, Scalr, Env0 and Spacelift, all companies that rely on the open source version of Terraform as a basic building block of their companies. Jyoti Bansal, co-founder and CEO of Harness, says the founding companies are doing what they need to do to ensure the project stayed open.

“Terraform has been a popular open source project for almost a decade. We wanted to do the right thing for the community and support a project that provides an alternative that will still be owned by the community. Having OpenTofu now part of the Linux Foundation, and on its way to being accepted by CNCF, ensures that this important project will continue to be open source,” Bansal said.

As for HashiCorp, it feels it was doing what it needed to do to protect a core piece of its business. 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.

Brikman understands that for the project to be successful, it will need to attract bigger companies, but he believes that will happen over time as the project begins achieving milestones and gains traction in the community.

The goal is to maintain compatibility for the time being with whatever HashiCorp is doing, but Brikman sees a time when the project fork adds some pieces that could separate it from what HashiCorp has built, and he’s OK with that.

He says the big players like Google, Amazon and Microsoft are currently in a wait and see mode, but they are in talks and the plan is to get them to see that they are serious about this, and draw them in over time. “I don’t think there’s any magic answer other than to execute, set up the project the right way, and start winning them over one at a time and then you’ll get a herd eventually, and that’s exactly what we’re working on now,” he said.

That involves a public roadmap with a plan for an alpha release, and then go from there. “The first thing was to get an alpha release out there. So you can go to the OpenTofu website and download OpenTofu and start using it and trying it out,” he said.

“Then the next thing is a stable release. That’s coming in the very near future, but there’s work to do. Once you have a stable release, people can start using it. Then we can start growing adoption, and once we start growing adoption, some of the big players will start stepping in when some of the big players start stepping in other big players will start stepping in as well.”

More TechCrunch

Meta’s Oversight Board has now extended its scope to include the company’s newest platform, Instagram Threads. Designed as an independent appeals board that hears cases and then makes precedent-setting content…

Meta’s Oversight Board takes its first Threads case

The company says it’s refocusing and prioritizing fewer initiatives that will have the biggest impact on customers and add value to the business.

SeekOut, a recruiting startup last valued at $1.2 billion, lays off 30% of its workforce

The U.K.’s self-proclaimed “world-leading” regulations for self-driving cars are now official, after the Automated Vehicles (AV) Act received royal assent — the final rubber stamp any legislation must go through…

UK’s autonomous vehicle legislation becomes law, paving the way for first driverless cars by 2026

ChatGPT, OpenAI’s text-generating AI chatbot, has taken the world by storm. What started as a tool to hyper-charge productivity through writing essays and code with short text prompts has evolved…

ChatGPT: Everything you need to know about the AI-powered chatbot

SoLo Funds CEO Travis Holoway: “Regulators seem driven by press releases when they should be motivated by true consumer protection and empowering equitable solutions.”

Fintech lender SoLo Funds is being sued again by the government over its lending practices

Hard tech startups generate a lot of buzz, but there’s a growing cohort of companies building digital tools squarely focused on making hard tech development faster, more efficient and —…

Rollup wants to be the hardware engineer’s workhorse

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is not just about groundbreaking innovations, insightful panels, and visionary speakers — it’s also about listening to YOU, the audience, and what you feel is top of…

Disrupt Audience Choice vote closes Friday

Google says the new SDK would help Google expand on its core mission of connecting the right audience to the right content at the right time.

Google is launching a new Android feature to drive users back into their installed apps

Jolla has taken the official wraps off the first version of its personal server-based AI assistant in the making. The reborn startup is building a privacy-focused AI device — aka…

Jolla debuts privacy-focused AI hardware

OpenAI is removing one of the voices used by ChatGPT after users found that it sounded similar to Scarlett Johansson, the company announced on Monday. The voice, called Sky, is…

OpenAI to remove ChatGPT’s Scarlett Johansson-like voice

The ChatGPT mobile app’s net revenue first jumped 22% on the day of the GPT-4o launch and continued to grow in the following days.

ChatGPT’s mobile app revenue saw its biggest spike yet following GPT-4o launch

Dating app maker Bumble has acquired Geneva, an online platform built around forming real-world groups and clubs. The company said that the deal is designed to help it expand its…

Bumble buys community building app Geneva to expand further into friendships

CyberArk — one of the army of larger security companies founded out of Israel — is acquiring Venafi, a specialist in machine identity, for $1.54 billion. 

CyberArk snaps up Venafi for $1.54B to ramp up in machine-to-machine security

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

1 day ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine