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Infrastructure as Code / Operations

OpenTofu 1.6 General Availability: Open Source Infrastructure as Code

Moving forward, the plan is for OpenTofu to maintain compatibility with Terraform while introducing significant new features.
Jan 16th, 2024 11:54am by
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Feature image by Reto Scheiwiller from Pixabay.

The open source Terraform fork with the silly name, OpenTofu, has arrived.

Well, that didn’t take long. After HashiCorp dumped its open source license for the Business Source License (BSL) for its flagship program, infrastructure as code (IaC) tool, Terraform, the Linux Foundation helped launch the fork OpenTofu. And, now, a few months later, the OpenTofu developers have launched the first stable release of OpenTofu, a community-driven open source Terraform fork. That was fast!

OpenTofu’s journey began with a swift succession of alpha and beta versions, culminating with the general availability of OpenTofu v1.6.0. This version, a result of extensive community collaboration, includes notable features. These include an integrated testing feature for configurations and modules, an updated AWS s3 backend with new authentication methods, and a new registry. This registry, inspired by Homebrew’s architecture, is hosted on CloudFlare R2, ensuring high availability and ease of publishing through pull requests.

This first version also includes tons of minor improvements, bug fixes, and performance improvements over Terraform. In addition, this release is a drop-in replacement for Terraform, There’s also a simple Terraform, OpenTofu migration guide to start using it with your existing infrastructure configurations.

The OpenTofu initiative has been a testament to the power of open-source collaboration. With nearly 60 contributors in recent months, the project has seen significant community involvement.

As Kuba Martin, Interim Technical Lead of OpenTofu, said in a statement, “I’m very pumped to get this into the community’s hands. I believe it’s important for bedrock tooling like this to be open source, with the ecosystem being able to build around it.”

On Reddit, Martin added OpenTofu remains fully compatible with Terraform. The one major difference is that reference providers with the hostname while OpenTofu state files will generally reference providers with the hostname). But there’s nothing you need to manually do there in order to migrate to OpenTofu.”

He also remarked, “To be clear, there aren’t any major technical improvements over Terraform yet. It’s a baseline release meant to be mostly on par with TF 1.6.”

Looking ahead, significant improvements are on their way. At the top of the list is client-side state encryption. This was submitted by a community member, who’d tried for years to bring it to Terraform. This Request for Command (RFC)  has recently been accepted, and the OpenTofu programmers are collaborating with the RFC author to get it into OpenTofu 1.7. You can track its implementation on GitHub.

Moving forward, the plan is for OpenTofu to maintain compatibility with Terraform while introducing significant new features. Besides client-side state encryption, OpenTofu 1.7 will offer enhanced security for projects in regulated environments. Additionally, the OpenTofu team is exploring parameterizable backends, providers, and modules.

In addition, the developers are working on adding new state backends. However, instead of bringing these to OpenTofu’s core, they’re looking into introducing a plugin system to state backends. Third-party extensibility is something the team sees as a selling feature of OpenTofu.

For those who’ve wondered if OpenTofu could garner enough support to launch, besides the release itself, the project has gathered substantial support from over 140 organizations and 600 individuals, with commitments from major IaC companies such as Harness, Gruntwork, and Spacelift. The Linux Foundation‘s involvement has been crucial, providing governance frameworks and security oversight, ensuring the project’s success and reliability.

Will OpenTofu change the IaC market? Its backers hope so. “This OpenTofu GA release is the culmination of 4 months of worldwide community efforts across 5 continents, from hundreds of contributors and over five dozen developers,” said Sebastian Stadl, Core OpenTofu Contributor. “Now that we have a stable release out, the community can look forward to a quick succession of long-awaited features and enhancements.”

(NOTE: This post has been updated with the correct version of OpenTofu that has gone into general availability).

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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: Spacelift.
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