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IBM Buys HashiCorp: What It Means for Cloud Management and Open Source Software


IBM just announced they’re buying HashiCorp for about $6.4 billion. This big move is meant to help IBM handle cloud technology better and respond to challenges from AI-driven software. But there's more to this story, especially regarding how software is shared and used by everyone.

IBM acquires HashiCorp


Why HashiCorp Changed Its Software Rules

HashiCorp recently decided to change how its software is shared. They started using something called the Business Source License (BSL). They say this change will help them keep investing in their software while making sure it’s not misused. However, not everyone likes this new rule because it makes the software less open. This has upset some people in the community who think everything should be freely shared and improved by anyone.

It's hard no to think that HashiCorp made this change to look more valuable. Even though it’s legal, it feels unfair to those who helped build HashiCorp’s tools by sharing their own ideas and work and contributed.

How This Purchase Helps IBM

For IBM, buying HashiCorp means they can do more with cloud services, which is how many companies store and manage their data using the internet. HashiCorp has tools like Terraform and Vault that are really good at managing infrastrucute and protecting data across different cloud services (and on-prem), and these tools will now add to what IBM can do. IBM probably cannot compete with other big tech companies like AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure, and having HashiCorp’s tools can help them stand out.

What's the strategy

There are questions about what IBM will do next, especially with the software rules that many people didn’t like. Will IBM keep these new rules, or change them to make people happier and encourage more teamwork? How IBM plans to blend HashiCorp’s tools with their own, especially with the services provided by Red Hat (another company IBM bought), will probably be important.

The question is if IBM will invest more in these tools?

Why Contributing to Foundation-Managed Projects Makes Sense

This situation highlights why I personally believe that contributing to projects managed by foundations like CNCF (Cloud Native Computing Foundation), Apache, and others is a safer and more stable option. These foundations ensure that the projects remain open and accessible, reducing the risk that a single company can change the rules after gaining significant contributions from the community. It helps protect the spirit of collaboration and openness that is so vital to the success of open source projects.

IBM’s decision to buy HashiCorp is a big deal in the tech world. It shows how important cloud management is becoming, and it raises big questions about how companies share and control their software. As IBM starts to blend HashiCorp’s tools into their own offerings, many are eager to see how this will turn out, both for IBM’s business and for the wider community of people who build and use software.