Does W4 own Godot Engine?

No, Godot Engine is a community developed project in its entirety, and no company can or will change that. It is owned collectively by those who contribute code to it so no single entity can own it or control it. Godot is represented by the Godot Foundation non-profit, which sponsors core developers through user donations and corporate sponsorships (such as W4’s). The copyright of Godot is held by the Godot Engine contributors themselves and licensed by them under the MIT license.

Does W4 control the development of Godot Engine?

No, Godot development is controlled by the Board of the Godot Foundation and the project maintainers. While W4 employs some of the core team and leadership of the Godot project, the Godot Board has clear rules in place to prevent organizations from taking control over it. Notably, the Godot project ensures that no single entity can have a majority position in the Board. Additionally all Godot development is done entirely in the open, including technical discussions, pull requests and code reviews for anyone to see.

While we recognize the intrinsic leverage that comes from W4 being founded by leaders of the Godot project, together with the Board and the maintainers we will ensure that the same transparency and fairness are applied when interacting with W4 as with any other company in the Godot ecosystem.

Does W4 involvement mean that Godot development will follow W4’s commercial agenda?

No, Godot is and will remain a non-profit project fully independent from any company in its ecosystem. To be clear, Godot is already developed but not controlled by several individuals and companies who possess commercial interests (to help make their own games, products or services built upon it). Still, as Godot is developed entirely in the open (via pull requests and open discussions), no single entity can steer development in a direction as long as others oppose it. This ensures that broad consensus is reached to move development forward, which is required by the Godot governance manifesto.

How will W4 contribute code to Godot?

W4 hires Godot contributors to help Godot mature faster and make it more appealing to the broader industry. All contributions to the Godot project will be done in the open, via proposals and pull requests for anybody to evaluate and give feedback – including the possibility for maintainers to reject contributions which may not fit the Godot project’s vision. Any code contributed by W4 will be under Godot’s own MIT license (like it is for any other contributing entity).

Will W4 take over funding from the Godot project?

No. The Godot project is fully independent from W4 and will continue to raise funds to pay contributors as it always has. While W4 will hire additional developers to contribute to Godot directly, it will not take over any responsibility from the Godot project. It exists as another beneficial entity in the Godot ecosystem.

W4 cannot and will not solicit donations on behalf of Godot and will not intentionally do anything that reduces the donations to Godot. In fact, W4 already has and plans to continue donating significantly to the Godot project in direct no-strings-attached donations and in-kind donations of developer time.

Is W4 the same as other commercial companies behind open source projects such as VS Code, Qt, Android, Chrome, etc.?

No. For most of those projects the code is primarily developed and owned by a single for-profit company which requires contributors to sign a CLA (Contributor License Agreement) in order to contribute. CLAs typically assign the copyright for the contribution to that company.

In contrast, the Godot project is represented by a non-profit, the Godot Foundation, and contributors do not sign a CLA and thus keep the copyright for their contributions. Therefore the ownership of the Godot project is shared between all contributors. W4 is just another entity that contributes to and supports the Godot project.

Are other successful commercial open source companies using a similar philosophy?

Yes, W4 is deeply inspired by the original Red Hat business model. This model consists in providing commercial services to complement and support a fully free and open source ecosystem. That open source ecosystem stays independent and strives from the contributions of multiple commercial actors.

Does W4 intend to monopolize commercial services and products behind Godot Engine?

No, there exists an entire ecosystem of companies providing products and services based on Godot, such as RamatakPrehensile TalesLone Wolf TechnologyPineapple Works, and many smaller companies and professionals. W4 has the distinction of employing (and being founded by) Juan and Rémi who are the project’s current technical leaders, but given the open nature of Godot, there is no limiting factor for any company to be part of the community. W4 relies entirely on its offering being distinctive and useful.

Since Juan and Rémi are part of the project leadership, does this change their roles or involvement with Godot?

No, despite their involvement in W4, Juan and Rémi continue to dedicate most of their time to their responsibilities in the Godot project (respectively Technical Lead and Project Manager). Like all contributors, their work on the Godot project is done in the open, and they keep the project’s interests as their only guidance.

Juan and Rémi are also part of the Board of the Godot Foundation, which currently numbers 9 members. All major strategic and financial decisions are made by the Board and by consensus. Therefore Juan and Rémi do not have and have never had absolute decision-making power. Their existing roles are based on the trust that the rest of the Board, other project contributors and the community have given them, which comes from their dedication to the project and the quality of their work.

As such, nothing should actually change in their day-to-day roles. In practice, being part of W4 gives them more visibility to understand and interact with corporate users, and bring valuable input to the discussion table with other contributors and the community regarding what needs to be considered for larger teams to work more comfortably and professionally with Godot.