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OpenTofu - By the Community for the Community
At the recent Open Source Summit EU, a new project was announced and inaugurated into an impressive lineup of projects that the Linux Foundation fosters and hosts today - the OpenTofu project. Many leading folks from the industry gave their thoughts on what the fork of Terraform means for the community as a whole.

opensource-summit-eu-2023 

OpenTofu came as a natural community reaction and progression to the August 10th announcement by Hashicorp that they are migrating their widely adopted Hashistack from the open source Mozilla Public License 2.0 (MPL) to the source-available Business Source License (BUSL) v1.1, in an attempt to keep this much-loved project open source.

This fork of the Terraform project was led by companies and individuals, such as Harness, Gruntwork (the company behind the wildly popular Terragrunt open-source project) and our company env0, to provide the community with explicit assurance with a commitment to the resources required, to keep the OpenTofu project thriving in the long-term.

In this post we'll take a look at what this means for open-first companies and individuals, as well as the cloud-native community specifically, as Kubecon North America is nearly upon us.  We'll also make sure you learn how to get involved, and what's coming next for the OpenTofu community.

What OpenTofu is All About & Why You Should Care About It

For those of us who are open source minded, and serve as meaningful participants in these communities, whether as users who provide feedback, or creators and maintainers who sustain these projects in the long term, a license change has the potential to adversely impact our day to day work by enforcing new limitations.  Forking and contributing the OpenTofu project to the Linux Foundation and community, ensures that the project will remain open source forever, reducing risk for vendors and individuals alike.

By being truly community-led, and foundation-hosted, the OpenTofu project is committed to having the project's innovation and feature roadmap be driven by community members and demand. Migrating to a community contribution model for this open source project (which has been significantly limited for the Terraform project since September 2021), will enable the merit-based values of open source to impact the future of the project.

Community-driven features that have stagnated in the project such as state file encryption and OCI-provider expansion, are already receiving renewed attention, and even work.  (Check the state encryption out in action). This is an important breath of fresh air that provides a unique opportunity for anyone interested in contributing to make significant improvements to and impact on the project. 

What's more, the core maintenance team is committed to keeping the project compatible with Terraform requiring no changes to existing code now or in the long-term to migrate existing projects to OpenTofu. This, in addition to remaining compatible with all of the existing, community-contributed tooling such as the extensive module and provider catalog of integrations that power Terraform, and are remaining under an open source license.

OpenTofu in the CNCF Ecosystem and Landscape

Kubernetes, and the many CNCF graduated projects that power its ecosystem from Helm, to ArgoCD, Envoy, Istio, etcd through Prometheus, are built to work natively together as part of their inherent value. 

This is the added benefit a community-driven OpenTofu project will bring to the infrastructure-as-code community.  OpenTofu will derive the same interoperability capabilities of other CNCF projects, to ensure it is a first-class citizen in CNCF and cloud native stacks.

There will also be the additional bonus of CNCF projects dogfooding OpenTofu, and being a reliable source of community feedback and roadmap development. This is a byproduct of several CNCF projects being directly affected by the license change, that are actively thinking about their next steps for migrating to OpenTofu, to reduce the risk around their dependencies.

What Comes Next?

The OpenTofu project, which has been given a tremendous vote of confidence (13K+ stars on Github already!) from the community, has a lot of expectations to live up to, and hopes to deliver on the promise. The current maintenance team, who is planning to put in the work to keep the project sustainable in the long-term, stands behind three core commitments: 

opentofu-star-history 

  1. To keep the project now and forever under an open-source license
  2. To be community-driven and built upon a governance model that is merit-based and impartial, making it possible for any individual or company to be a meaningful member and participant
  3. To focus on the much-needed improvements and innovation the community wants to see and not be driven by single-party interests

The team behind OpenTofu is only getting started, and excited to engage the community around the project. Community contributors are welcome to take an active role in helping advance the project, and develop the features the community is looking forward to seeing in the next versions.

Come say hi to the env0 team that will be on the ground at Kubecon Chicago, and learn more about how you can get involved in the OpenTofu community.

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Join us at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America this November 6 - 9 in Chicago for more on Kubernetes and the cloud native ecosystem. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ohad Maislish - Co-Founder & CEO at env0

Ohad-Maislish 

Ohad Maislish is the CEO and co-founder of env0 and part of the founding team for the OpenTofu project.

Before env0, Ohad was the CEO and founder of Arno Software, a cloud infrastructure services company, and Capester, a startup that empowered citizens in smart cities worldwide.

Over the course of this career, Ohad has also served in different technical and management roles at Ravello Systems, eToro, and VMware. He was also the youngest developer at Microsoft Israel at the age of 17, after starting his bachelor's degree at the age of 14.
Published Monday, October 23, 2023 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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