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OpenTofu looks to 'business value' with 1.7 release as HashiCorp reportedly looks for buyer

IAC fork promises to serve up features community really want -- and companies like Peloton have switched.

Photo by Sherman Kwan / Unsplash

One of the founders of OpenTofu predicted the upcoming v1.7 of the Terraform fork would spark more rapid takeup as it went beyond simple feature parity with the HashiCorp platform.

Scalr CEO Sebastian Stadil was speaking after the Linux Foundation hosted the first Open Tofu event at Kubecon Europe in Paris this week, days after it was reported that HashiCorp was open to seeking a buyer following concerns about its growth path.

OpenTofu is a fork of Infrastructure-as-Code tool Terraform.

The open-source project kicked off when HashiCorp switched its Terraform license to a business source license last year. At the time, HashiCorp CEO Dave McJannet slammed the entire foundation-based open source model, saying it could ultimately destroy innovation in Silicon Valley.

See also: HashiCorp CEO predicts OSS-free Silicon Valley unless the open source model evolves

Earlier this month, HashiCorp unveiled fourth quarter numbers which showed continuing operating and net losses at the firm – and said that it expects ongoing operating losses for the year ahead. (HashiCorp was "doubling down on initiatives to simplify our go-to-market, improve our product monetization" said McJannet.)

In Paris, Scalr CEO Stadil lauded progress of OpenTofu, noting it had hit its first stable GA release in January, with a new Git-based provider and module registry

The upcoming 1.7.0 brings state encryption, and a raft of additional functions, while parameterizable backends, providers and modules, and new state backends are on the agenda for future releases.

While an informal survey had suggested that 30% of respondents had either moved to OpenTofu or were planning to, Stadil said this had to be taken with a grain of salt. He said the “stable” 1.6 release was feature compatible with Terraform, but added candidly “there’s no real tangible business value to using the OpenTofu 1.6 release.”

OpenTofu 1.7: "The first release that has actual business value"

By comparison the upcoming OpenTofu 1.7, he said, “will be the first release that has an actual business value, and actual real reason to use OpenTofu.”

As for Hashicorp reportedly being open to the possibility of a sale, Stadil said it was no secret how finance worked in Silicon Valley, with private equity firms open to take companies they believe are mismanaged private, before making drastic changes to improve their potential return, before returning them to the market.

“What’s surprising to me is that the leadership of HashiCorp would be open to it," he said. "Because that would be recognizing they have indeed mismanaged the company.”

He added, “I have a lot of admiration for HashiCorp, and I’m very puzzled at the licensing change they did. But I’m not privy to the internal conversations.”

More to the point, he said that a number of major customers, including government agencies had already begun using the upstart platform.

These include a transit authority in Massachusetts, the University of Michigan, and Peleton, as well as financial firms and technology companies.

The nature of Terraform installations meant adoption of OpenTofu would usually be a piece meal process he said. Different applications will be tied to different versions of TerraForm – the earlier versions of which will be open source.

“So if you look at the distribution of application say in an insurance company, you'll see that like, maybe 80% is still on 1.5 or below. But as they're upgrading their and modernising your applications, they're eventually ending up on OpenTofu. So it's kind of bell curve.”

Which means that if OpenTofu does deliver on its potential as a replacement for Terraform, the impact will steadily increase, presumably increasing Terraform’s discomfort over time.

Martin Reynolds, EMEA field CTO at Harness, another major backer of OpenTofu, said it was ensuring its products had “parity” with OpenTofu. He said one of the key benefits of OpenTofu over Terrform was the ability to add new features that the community wanted.

"Because with TerraForm, even when it was open source, stuff didn't always get merged in that the community wanted," he said.

Asked for its response to the reports it was seeking a buyer, HashiCorp told us "We don't comment on speculation/rumours, as they are just that."

See also: Microsoft open-sources Redis rival "Garnet"