Linux Foundation Launches OpenTofu – A Terraform Alternative

Linux Foundation and OpenTofu
Linux Foundation and OpenTofu

Linux Foundation Announces OpenTofu

The Linux Foundation announces the formation of OpenTofu, an open source alternative to Terraform’s widely used infrastructure as code provisioning tool.

Previously named OpenTF, 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.

While Terraform has been instrumental in simplifying infrastructure management in cloud environments, recent licensing changes have raised concerns within the open source community. OpenTofu is an open source successor to the MPLv2-licensed Terraform that will be community-driven, impartial, layered and modular, and backward-compatible.

What is OpenTofu?

OpenTofu is a Terraform fork, created as an initiative of Gruntwork, Spacelift, Harness, Env0, Scalr, and others, in response to HashiCorp’s switch from an open-source license to the BUSL. The initiative has many supporters, all of whom are listed here.

OpenTofu Works

OpenTF creates and manages resources on cloud platforms and other services through their application programming interfaces (APIs). Providers enable OpenTF to work with virtually any platform or service with an accessible API.

OpenTF Key Features

Infrastructure as Code: Infrastructure is described using a high-level configuration syntax. This allows a blueprint of your datacenter to be versioned and treated as you would any other code. Additionally, infrastructure can be shared and re-used.

Execution Plans: OpenTF has a “planning” step where it generates an execution plan. The execution plan shows what OpenTF will do when you call apply. This lets you avoid any surprises when OpenTF manipulates infrastructure.

Resource Graph: OpenTF builds a graph of all your resources, and parallelizes the creation and modification of any non-dependent resources. Because of this, OpenTF builds infrastructure as efficiently as possible, and operators get insight into dependencies in their infrastructure.

Change Automation: Complex changesets can be applied to your infrastructure with minimal human interaction. With the previously mentioned execution plan and resource graph, you know exactly what OpenTF will change and in what order, avoiding many possible human errors.

“The launch of OpenTofu signifies a collective commitment to fostering truly open collaboration and innovation in the realm of infrastructure as code,” said Jim Zemlin, Executive Director at the Linux Foundation. “OpenTofu’s dedication to open source principles underscores our shared vision of providing accessible, reliable tools that empower the tech community.”

“We believe that the essential building blocks of the modern Internet—tools such as Linux, Kubernetes, and Terraform—must be truly open source,” said Yevgeniy (Jim) Brikman, Co-founder and CEO of Gruntwork, and OpenTofu founding team member. “That is the only way to ensure that we are building our industry on top of solid and predictable underpinnings. That is why we are so happy that OpenTofu is now a part of the Linux Foundation: having this project in the hands of a foundation, rather than a single company, means OpenTofu will be community-driven and truly open source—always.”

“Obviously, it is super-important for OpenTofu, on the legal side, to be a bulletproof project, so that enterprises can use the product without having any sort of fear that there’s any trademark infringement or other IP issues,” said Sebastian Stadil, co-founder and CEO of DevOps automation biz Scalr, said in an interview.

The Linux Foundation, according to Stadil, is also expected to help with security governance – to deal with the possibility that a contributor might add malicious code to a pull request in order to subvert the software.

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