Do you like proprietary hardware? We don’t. That’s why we would like to use free-design hardware only, but in general there is none available. Companies keep essential internals apart from the public: mechanical construction data is not published, access to system boards is restricted and processor internals are subject to Non-disclosure agreements between manufacturers.
That is what we want to change! Under the umbrella of the Zerocat Label, we are going to publish true free-design hardware projects, that is hardware of a free-design even down to chip level.
Free-Design Hardware is our Mission
Setting up free-design hardware is not that easy! In general, you won’t find solutions that are clean, every system is somehow infiltrated by proprietary business models, non-disclosure agreements and undocumented features. When it comes to electronics, you will depend on closed-source microchips and discretes very easily. As today’s chips are getting at the same time smaller and more powerful, the public should get concerned.
Precious exceptions are the Propeller microchip from Parallax and the Freedom E310 from SiFive, which is a RISC-V controller. The design files of both chips have been released under a free license.
With these devices we really have the chance to setup a new class of electronics: one that stays free, affordable and trustworthy. Now we are capable of building up true free-design hardware electronics, and the Zerocat Team agrees to not give up this exceptional condition easily. We want more than just a free-design board layout, instead we aim to avoid non-free microchips wherever possible.
Note that we are using a multi-repository structure for our projects, thus the label’s documentation comes in its own git repository. It contains general infos about the label’s structure, common tools, contributors etc. on the one hand, shop information, key products and box accompanying papers on the other. Projects that are promoted more prominently have their repos mentioned on their own webpage, see above.
- Zerocat Label Documentation
- Git Repository:
- README.md text file
Each repository ships with its own set of licenses. In general, we use a free license according to these rules:
- GNU GPLv3 (or any later version) for code
- GNU FDL 1.3 (or any later version) for documentation source files
- CC BY-SA 4.0 international license for graphics, photos and artwork
- Zerocat Logo License for logo files and modified versions
If you need other free licenses, please get in touch.