Back to all blog posts

What does HashiCorp’s BSL/BUSL adoption mean for Terramate

HashiCorp's recent shift from an open-source license to the Business Source License (BSL/BUSL) for products like Terraform has stirred the tech community. This move, affecting not only Terraform but also Vault, Nomad, and others, transitions from the Mozilla Public License (MPL) v2.0 to a less open framework. This article delves into the implications of this change for Terramate CLI and Terramate Cloud, exploring how this licensing transition influences their functionalities, especially in light of Terramate's commitment to open-source principles and its ongoing development in the Terraform ecosystem.

Sören Martius
Sören Martius
· 3 min read
What does HashiCorp’s BSL/BUSL adoption mean for Terramate

On August 10th, 2023, HashiCorp announced that Terraform and all of their other integrated solutions (e.g., Vault, Nomad, etc.) that were previously open-source under the Mozilla Public License (MPL) v2.0 license will switch to a non-open-source license: the Business Source License (BSL/BUSL) v1.1.

The change came unexpectedly and caused a buzz throughout the industry. Unfortunately, HashiCorp failed to explain the impact on open-source and commercial projects (such as Terramate Cloud) properly in the first place, which caused insecurities for many different vendors.

This article explains the recent license change and the impact on Terramate CLI and Terramate Cloud.

Explaining the BUSL

The Business Source License (BUSL) is a source-available license that allows copying, modification, redistribution, non-production use. Under certain conditions, it also grants limited production use for offering competing products.

In particular, the license does not allow you to embed or host a HashiCorp product licensed under the BUSL to build a competitive product to the corresponding commercial offer in the HashiCorp ecosystem.

This includes running Terraform in a hosted way in CI/CD and offering this as a production service.

What does that mean for Terramate CLI

Terramate CLI helps to implement and maintain highly scalable Terraform projects by adding powerful capabilities such as Code Generation, Stacks Concept, Orchestration, Change Detection, Data Sharing and more.

It utilizes the HasiCorp configuration language and some parts of Terraform, such as Terraform Functions, that can be used in the Terramate Code Generation.

Terramate CLI is an open-source tool licensed under the MPL v2.0, using the HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL), which HashiCorp made clear will remain open-source under the MPL v2.0.

Terramate does not embed or wrap Terraform, but can orchestrate and execute any tool (including kubectl , infracost , etc.) and can be used seamlessly in any CI/CD environment.

What does that mean for Terramate Cloud

With Terramate Cloud, which will be released in Q4 2023, we are building an IaC Management Platform that provides additional functionality for teams adopting Terramate, such as Drift Management, Actionable Insights and Observability, Asset Inventory Management and many more.

Terramate Cloud was never meant as a competing product to Terraform Cloud, furthermore Terramate CLI supported Terraform Cloud and Enterprise from the beginning.

Additionally we have planned to become a Hashicorp Partner before the license change and will continue those conversations with HashiCorp to rule out potential future conflicts.

The OpenTofu initiative

While we understand the reasoning behind HashiCorps license change from a business view, we believe that it is best for the community to continue the future development of Terraform as an open-source project.

Therefore, we have joined forces with several other companies, open-source projects and individuals to create the OpenTofu Manifesto . If you share this opinion, please support the project by signing the manifesto at !

We will ensure that HashiCorp’s license change will not impact any future development of Terramate CLI and Terramate Cloud, and we will continue to support all possible tools, including a potential OpenTofu open-source version as well as the now non-open-source version of Terraform from HashiCorp.

If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with our team by joining our Terramate Community on Discord .

Soren is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Terramate. Prior to founding Terramate, he consulted companies such as Flink, 1Komma5 and Nothing to design and implement cloud- and internal developer platforms.