The manufacturing is proprietary and has vendor lock-ins with triple NDAs – one for the process development kit (PDK), the technology itself; – one for the Standard Cell Library you can use to synthesize your RTL; – and even another one for the details of all purchase commitments.
Our purpose is a free and open, community based silicon manufacturing process (GitHub link) without any NDAs, a Standard Cell Library (GitHub link) not only for that process as well as a suitable, refurbished, new-written open source tool chain QtFlow (GitHub link).
During the last couple of months we already developed the first free 1µm process and are now close to manufacturing a first test wafer (GitHub link). Even though 1µm does not sounds very ambitious, this process node is still quite well documented in text books, robust and 5 Volt-tolerant.
Once we get a hang on this, the machinery park in the clean room allows us to shrink down to 500nm and less.