Introducing the New Chef: 100% Open, Always

Today, Chef is announcing meaningful changes to the way that we build and distribute our software. Chef has always believed in the power of open source. This philosophy is core to the way that we think about software innovation. There is no better way to build software than in the open in partnership with individuals and companies who use our stack in the real world. And for enterprises and other organizations facing complex challenges, Chef backs up our software by building and supporting distributions for our projects with the resources necessary for these organizations to succeed.

Going forward, we are doubling down on our commitment to OSS development as we extend our support for the needs of enterprise-class transformation. Starting today, we will expand the scope of our open source licensing to include 100% of our software under the Apache 2.0 license (consistent with our existing Chef Infra, Chef InSpec, and Chef Habitat license terms) without any restrictions on the use, distribution or monetization of our source code as long as our trademark policy is respected. We welcome anyone to use and extend our software for any purpose in alignment with the four essential freedoms of Free Software.

We aren’t making this change lightly. Over the years we have experimented with and learned from a variety of different open source, community and commercial models, in search of the right balance. We believe that this change, and the way we have made it, best aligns the objectives of our communities with our own business objectives. Now we can focus all of our investment and energy on building the best possible products in the best possible way for our community without having to choose between what is “proprietary” and what is “in the commons.” Most importantly, we can do that, with each of you, completely in the open. This means that all of the software that we produce will be created in public repos. It also means that we will open up more of our product development process to the public, including roadmaps, triage and other aspects of our product design and planning process.

We believe the best software is created by collaborating with the people who use it, so that it encapsulates the goals, expertise and innovations of the diverse Chef community.

Introducing Chef Enterprise Automation Stack

In addition to our commitment to community-based open source software development, Chef has also deepened our understanding of the needs of our enterprise customers. Enterprises demand a more curated and streamlined way to deploy and update our software and content. They want a relationship with us as the leading experts in DevOps, automation, and Chef products. And, beyond just technical innovations, these companies require assurance in the form of warranties, indemnifications, and support. To fulfill that need, Chef is announcing a new commercial distribution, Chef Enterprise Automation Stack, that will be licensed and tailored exclusively for commercial customers of Chef. We will make our distributions freely available for non-commercial use, experimentation, and individuals so anyone can get started with ease.

This new packaging and distribution approach is the culmination of several years worth of hard work and product development. Chef Enterprise Automation Stack is anchored by Chef Workstation, the quickest way to get a development environment up and running, and Chef Automate as the enterprise observability and management console for the system. Also included is Chef Infra (formerly just Chef) for infrastructure automation, Chef InSpec for security and compliance automation and Chef Habitat for application deployment and orchestration automation.

When you purchase a Chef subscription you get our commitment to be the best in the world at:

  • Enterprise distribution: Tested, hardened software distributions proven in mission critical environments.
  • Enterprise content and software updates: The fastest, most reliable way to get Chef products, updates and supported content. Your deployment will always be up to date with the latest Chef technology.
  • Automation Expertise: Access to the leading experts in automation, DevOps and Chef products.
  • Assurance & Support: Broad-based assurance in the form of 24×7 enterprise class support, warranty and indemnification.

We are committed and focused on being stewards of the Chef community, maintaining the community governance model,  and maintaining the upstream in a way that welcomes all who want to participate in it, however they choose.

What this means

To summarize the changes we are announcing today:

  • Chef will move all of our product software development to an open source model with 100% of our product code available and licensed under Apache 2.0 to better align our business objectives with our community objectives.
  • Chef will produce a new distribution (release), Chef Enterprise Automation Stack, built for commercial users with new terms and conditions of use.
  • Chef will be the best in the world at delivering our enterprise distribution, content, updates, expertise, assurance, and support.
  • Chef is committed to being the best steward of our open source community, welcoming anyone’s participation, however they see fit through our community-led governance model.

We understand that there will be more questions surrounding these announcements and have worked to answer as many as possible in these Frequently Asked Questions.

These changes mark an exciting moment in Chef’s history and define how strongly we believe code is the mechanism for collaboration, trust, and velocity that will enable tomorrow’s leading organizations. For us here at Chef, the future is very bright and we look forward to working with customers and our community to create the next generation of amazing, useful software.

Happy Automating!

Barry Crist

Barry Crist

Barry Crist has more than 20 years of experience in driving enterprise customer success with open source and DevOps software solutions and is a recognized leader in driving a culture of innovation. Barry joined Chef as CEO in 2013 and has been a leading force behind the company’s business operations, culture and technology innovation.