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HashiCorp's BSL License Change: What this means for Upbound customers and the Crossplane community

HashiCorp recently announced that they are changing the licenses on their open source projects from MPL to BSL including the Terraform project. At Upbound we understand and respect HashiCorp’s decision to change to a BSL license. This licensing change does not impact Upbound’s use of Terraform. As Upbound is a maintainer of Crossplane and manages the open source project's use of Terraform, this licensing change also does not impact the project's use of Terraform.

Background on Crossplane Providers and Terraform

Crossplane Providers enable Crossplane to provision infrastructure on an external service. Providers create new Kubernetes APIs and map them to external APIs. Providers are responsible for all aspects of connecting to non-Kubernetes resources. This includes authentication, making external API calls and providing Kubernetes Controller logic for any external resources.

There are 100s of Crossplane providers today authored by different parties. Some of these rely on code generation approaches to interface with the backed vendor, and some are implemented natively. See for a growing list of providers today.

Upbound maintains a set of Official Providers for Crossplane that are open source (Apache 2.0), and enterprise-ready. Some of these Official Providers rely on Terraform providers underneath the covers via code generation technology called “upjet”. Upjet translates Kubernetes API calls in Crossplane to Terraform provider invocations which in turn invoke backend cloud or infrastructure API.

Upjet today invokes the Terraform CLI directly and is in compliance with the licensing of Terraform. Over the last few months we have identified a number of performance improvements that can be achieved by circumventing the Terraform CLI completely and invoking the Terraform providers directly. This work is currently underway and we expect new providers to be released over the next few months. Terraform providers will continue to be licensed under MPL2.

In summary, Upbound’s official providers are not impacted by the license change today.

Looking forward

Upbound is committed to ensuring the ecosystem around Crossplane is healthy and vibrant. We’ve recently announced our partner program and a verification program for providers. We host 100s of providers in the Upbound Marketplace and work with the community to publish these.

As Crossplane grows, we believe the community will benefit from having providers being maintained and owned by the cloud and infrastructure vendors. This ensures the highest level of quality and support for their product offerings. This is why we’ve been working with cloud providers like AWS, Azure and Google Cloud, and infrastructure vendors like Datadog, Aviatrix, and more.

We are investing in tooling to make provider migrations automatic and seamless. As we continue to improve our providers, recently with the launch of provider families, or in the future with new features, native bindings, and more, we will continue to have automated migration tooling and always have a focus on the end-user experience.

We feel confident this will not impact Crossplane community members or Upbound customers. If you have any questions or concerns about your Upbound solutions, please reach out to your account manager directly or email us.