HashiCorp projects changing license to Business Source License v1.1


We created workflows in our gitops infrastructures that rely on teraform and vault.

We are an hosting provider for the moment only our team use workflows.

It is a competitive service or not ?

In a few monthes, we want to give access through our api to this workflows.

In m’y humble opinion, that a competitive service. I’m wrong ?

I’m sympathetic to HashiCorp. It can’t be easy operating at a net income loss of $200m a year.

But the new license effectively means that the free offering is equivalent to a freemium model, designed solely to drive enterprise sales.

This leaves the small and medium size businesses completely neglected. They have nowhere to go, within the HashiStack universe.

It’s unclear that an ecosystem around HashiCorp can thrive. I was personally excited about the HashiStack, and wanted to contribute tooling (like easier deployment, administration, and better observability), which would especially be useful for the segment of small and medium size startups.

But I don’t see that HashiCorp will cater to that segment, at all. It feels more like HashiCorp is going in the direction of Red Hat.

Maybe it makes sense financially, and god speed.
But I think it will (already have) killed anything that isn’t strictly enterprise-oriented.


Thanks for the answers on here.

Something I don’t think has been answered here/on FAQs:

Are tools which orchestrate execution of Terraform (without embedding, distributing or modifying in any fashion), and which also compete with Hashicorp, allowed? E.g Digger:

Hello @thierrystiegler ,

Please reach out to licensing@hashicorp.com with more information on the kind of API access you are planning to offer. Thank you!

And what about futur HashiCorp offering ? If I spend months migrating my services to Nomad/Consul/Vault using community versions because I’m not competing with HashiCorp now, how am I protected if in a few years, HashiCorp starts offering a service competing with mine ? Will I still be able to use Nomad etc. or will I be required to buy commercial licence (at a non public price afaik, so harder to plan)

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Hello @dbd,

Thank you for your question, I will work with the team to help get an answer as soon as possible,

I’d like to see if it covers Digger too.

After the recent terraform cloud pricing changes being unsustainable for our business we were looking at alternatives, but these license changes really throw a spanner in the works.

Let’s assume I have been using terraform and vault internally in my company till last month in non-production environments which are not connected with your businesses. I want to build my production env. using hashistack which will also not be a rival to hashicorp field of interest. It would be totally different area of operation (let’s say automotive). Should I switch to the paid version of your products if it’s not your area of competition?

Hi i got a question,

is the AWS feature known as “AWS Control Tower Account Factory for Terraform (AFT)” affected by the license change? I am not affiliated with AWS or have any knowledge about the implementation, but it seems to me that this would be a valid use-case to apply the license to.

Edit: Looking at parts of the source code it seems that this might use an hosted offering by HashiCorp already.

Hello @ersch ,

Plugins (such as for Vault) will remain MPL2.0 and you can build and use them. Forks of plugins that are MPL2.0-licensed will remain MPL2.0 as well.

A fork of BUSL-licensed code would remain BUSL.

If you have more specific questions about your use case, do reach out to licensing@hashicorp.com!

Hello @maunzCache ,

Thanks for reaching out! AWS Control Tower Account Factory for Terraform is not affected by the license change.

Hello @karr1gan ,

Thanks for your inquiry!

You can use the freely available versions of the HashiCorp products to manage your production environment internal to your organization.

However, if you choose to provide a HashiCorp tool as a hosted service or embed HashiCorp products in a solution that is sold competitively against our offerings, do reach out to licensing@hashicorp.com with more details on your use case.

Can you please define “embed”?

Would it be accurate to say that if any code that calls terraform as a command line utility from inside a codebase is said to be “embedding” a hashicorp product? Would that be the same if the user had to install terraform on their own?

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Hello @alex0671 ,

Atlantis remains under an Apache 2.0 license. It is not in violation of BUSL.

Open source projects that are not embedding or hosting Terraform can use their existing licenses, pending they do not have a strong copyleft license. Our FAQ has more information about mixing BSL-licensed code in open source projects.

If you have additional questions about your specific project, reach out to us at licensing@hashicorp.com.

Hello @EamonKeane ,

Thanks for your inquiry.

Code that executes Terraform, but does not host or embed it, does not violate the BUSL. However, if this code is used as part of a hosted service or embedded in a solution, it will require Terraform as a dependency. Please reach out to licensing@hashicorp.com with more details.

Hello @concernedpetm ,

Code that calls Terraform as a command line utility, but does not host or embed it, does not violate the BUSL. However, if this code is used as part of a hosted service or embedded in a solution, it will require Terraform as a dependency. Please reach out to licensing@hashicorp.com with more details.

So, in the case of a hosted solution at a customer site: the user downloads terraform and the code is running the terraform command and processing the output to run a production workload. This would be in violation because the hosted solution is running the terraform binary?

Hello @concernedpetm ,

Please reach out to licensing@hashicorp.com with more specifics on your use case!

Assisting a customer with their own use of BSL-licensed HashiCorp products for their production environment is permitted.

Embedding or hosting BSL-licensed HashiCorp products in an offering to be made available to multiple customers that is competitive with HashiCorp products is not permitted.


I use automated processes and Terraform heavily to build resources in the cloud with the least effort possible.

I’ve read these posts, the FAQs, and the Hashicorp post about the license change. After reading everything, I have several questions. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read and answer them.

  1. Hosting: When the term “hosted” or “hosting” is used in the license language or the responses on this page, does this mean the following:
  • x company can not host Terraform software versions?
  • What about modules and providers from https://registry.terraform.io?
  • What if the terraform versions were pulled directly from GitHub, on each run, instead of the versions being hosted? Does that create a license issue?
  1. Embedded: Can you provide a few examples of how people might be “embedding” Terraform?

  2. Competitors: As an IT organization that needs to find solutions for managing IaC via Terraform, is it safe to say that anyone or company who pays for a service to (please indicate which goes against the BSL license):

  • build custom terraform modules
  • deploys (init, plan, apply etc) terraform code/modules
  • automate deployments via gitops
  • provides terraform versions (beyond 1.15), for deploying terraform code (the same that TFC does)
  • that manages gitops connectivity to auto-deploy terraform changes
  • hosts customer terraform code
  • manages statefiles
  • offers rollbacks
  • stores plans as deployable units
  1. Github (enterprise) as a competitor: If github pipelines are consumed in utilizing terraform specific docker files that run terraform init, plan and apply, would this arrangement break the BSL license?

  2. Spacelift as a competitor: Is Spacelift SaaS deemed a TFC competitor? If so, what features of Spacelift are breaking the BSL policy.

  • What about the spacelift being self-hosted (the company hosts the internal tools). Does that prevent BSL license conflicts?
  1. Atlantis as a competitor: I’ve seen it mentioned here already that Atlantis is still under the Apache 2.0 license. To be more specific, if we were to use Atlantis internally to deploy terraform for production and non-production environments, how would this not be breaking the BSL license? Atlantis has it’s own license, but other service companies could roll out their own license in the same fashion.

The next set of questions refers to companies that use internal staff (devops teams) to deploy terraform resources.

Let’s say the company uses a paid license of Jenkins for deployments which includes terraform deployments (init, plan, apply etc). Here are some additional assumptions:

  • jenkins hosts multiple terraform versions, beyond 1.5.
  • jenkins hosts multiple terraform providers
  • terraform is executed for prod and non-prod environments
  1. Does this setup break the new license? If yes:
  • Describe what elements are breaking the license.
    • Is it because Jenkins is a paid service?
    • Is it because we hosts multiple terraform versions?
    • Is it because Jenkins is a service being paid for that mimics features of TFC (in theory, we can code similar TFC features in jenkins).

Hello @elvis.mcneely ,

Based on your detailed questions, I recommend reaching out to licensing@hashicorp.com with more information on your usage of Terraform so we can best and most accurately address your specific concerns.

Thank you!