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Installing Multiple Versions of Terraform with Homebrew

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Matt Calhoun

MAY 21, 2019 | 4 min read
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At Gruntwork, we work with many customers and environments and find it’s necessary to switch among multiple versions of Terraform daily.I happen to work on a Mac and find the Homebrew project to be an invaluable tool to help me install software. The biggest complaint I have about Homebrew, though, is that they don’t make it easy to install older versions of software.Luckily, through some experimentation, I was able to come up with the procedure outlined below to use Homebrew to manage multiple versions of Terraform and to be able to switch among them easily.[NOTE: YMMV with this particular workaround and I don’t know if this is ‘officially supported’ by the Homebrew project]Let’s start by cloning the Homebrew project to our local machine.
$ git clone $ cd homebrew-core
Next, find the Git commit id that added the version of Terraform we’re interested in installing. For this example, we’ll look to install Terraform version 0.11.8.
$ git log master -- Formula/terraform.rbcommit 49017817fb34b76fdc81f33665fdd7661fe5e558 (HEAD) Author: BrewTestBot <> Date: Tue Oct 23 23:17:42 2018 +0000terraform: update 0.11.10 bottle.commit 252d11cbf0d63aad22d043ef490b996b7a1c115c Author: James Gregory <> Date: Wed Oct 24 09:28:21 2018 +1100terraform 0.11.10Closes #33324.Signed-off-by: commitay <>commit 12c25cb2fc4b51bd0271f5d1fd00c6f500863966 Author: BrewTestBot <> Date: Sat Oct 20 02:56:24 2018 +0000terraform: update 0.11.9 bottle.commit 7373f02c6f028904ac5c7f8d94290a44f911a736 Author: FX Coudert <> Date: Fri Oct 19 22:03:27 2018 +0200terraform 0.11.9Closes #33186.Signed-off-by: commitay <>commit 3507fce2ba1f36cc371fe888fd093bf5aa79981d Author: BrewTestBot <> Date: Mon Aug 20 10:47:28 2018 +0000terraform: update 0.11.8 bottle.<***remaining output truncated***>
We can see commit 3507fce2ba1f36cc371fe888fd093bf5aa79981d is the one that last updated 0.11.8, so we’ll use that commit.
$ git checkout 3507fce2ba1f36cc371fe888fd093bf5aa79981d $ cd Formula $ brew unpin terraform (I'll explain this further below) $ brew unlink terraform $ brew install terraform.rb
It’s as simple as that, and we now have Terraform 0.11.8 installed on our machine!Now that we have multiple versions of Terraform installed, there are a few other commands you’ll want to get familiar with.The brew switch command will allow you to switch among versions of Terraform that are installed on your system.
$ brew switch terraform 0.11.8 $ terraform --version Terraform v0.11.8$ brew switch terraform 0.11.14 $ terraform --version Terraform v0.11.14
The brew pin command will prevent Homebrew from updating/upgrading your version of Terraform when you run the brew upgrade command. I would strongly suggest pinning Terraform because otherwise, the brew upgrade command will remove all older versions of Terraform from your system.
$ brew pin terraform $ brew info terraformterraform: stable 0.11.14 (bottled), HEAD [pinned at 0.11.14] Tool to build, change, and version infrastructure Conflicts with: tfenv (because tfenv symlinks terraform binaries) /usr/local/Cellar/terraform/0.11.8 (6 files, 88.9MB) * Poured from bottle on 2019-05-21 at 15:07:13 /usr/local/Cellar/terraform/0.11.14 (6 files, 42.4MB) Poured from bottle on 2019-05-21 at 15:02:18 From: ==> Dependencies Build: go ✔, gox ✔ ==> Options --HEAD Install HEAD version ==> Analytics install: 18,754 (30 days), 64,658 (90 days), 200,703 (365 days) install_on_request: 17,871 (30 days), 61,462 (90 days), 189,133 (365 days) build_error: 0 (30 days)
Finally, if you’d like to see all of the versions of Terraform installed on your system, the easiest way I’ve found is by looking at the Homebrew Cellar directory.
$ ls /usr/local/Cellar/terraformdrwxrwxr-x 88 matt admin 2816 May 21 14:50 .. drwxr-xr-x 4 matt staff 128 May 21 15:02 . drwxr-xr-x 8 matt staff 256 May 21 15:07 0.11.14 drwxr-xr-x 8 matt staff 256 May 21 15:09 0.11.8
I hope this(relatively) simple procedure helps you easily install and manage the various versions of Terraform (and other packages) on your system!

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