Mer (software distribution)
|Working state||Discontinued (merged with Sailfish OS)|
|Source model||Open source|
|Package manager||RPM Package Manager|
|Platforms||ARM, x86 and MIPS|
|Kernel type||None (not shipped with Mer)|
|License||Free software[clarification needed]|
Mer was a free and open-source software distribution, targeted at hardware vendors to serve as a middleware for Linux kernel-based mobile-oriented operating systems. It is a fork of MeeGo.
Some goals of the project are:
- Openly developed with transparency built into the fabric of the project
- Provide a mobile device oriented architecture
- Primary customers are mobile device vendors, not end-users.
- Have structure, processes and tools to make life easy for device manufacturers
- Support innovation in the mobile OS space
- Inclusive of projects and technologies (e.g. MeeGo, Tizen, Qt, Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL), HTML5)
- Governed as a meritocracy
- Run as a non profit through donations
Mer is not an operating system; it is aimed to be one component of an operating system based on the Linux kernel. Mer is a part of the operating system above the Linux kernel and below the graphical user interface (GUI).
Mer just provides the equivalent of the MeeGo core. The former MeeGo user interfaces and hardware adaptation are to be done by various other projects and by hardware manufacturers, which will be able to build their products on top of the Mer core.
There are Mer-based builds available for various devices, including Raspberry Pi, Beagleboard, Nokia N900, Nokia N950, Nokia N9 and for various Intel Atom-based tablets. These also include hardware adaptation packages and various UXes running on top of Mer, provided by different projects. They can be flashed on the device and might work in dual-boot mode with the original firmware.
|Mer port name||OBS scheduler name||RPM architectures||OBS project name in MDS||OBS repository name in MDS||Description|
|i486||i586||i486||Core:i486||Core_i486||Generic i486+ X86 port|
|i586||i586||i586, i686||Core:i586||Core_i586||SSSE3 enabled X86 port|
|x86_64||x86_64||x86_64||Core:x86_64||Core_x86_64||Generic 64 bit port|
|armv6l||armv7el||armv6l||Core:armv6l||Core_armv6l||ARMv6 + VFP port|
|armv7l||armv7el||armv7l||Core:armv7l||Core_armv7l||ARMv7 VFPv3-D16 port, softfp ABI|
|armv7hl||armv8el||armv7hl||Core:armv7hl||Core_armv7hl||ARMv7 VFPv3-D16 port, hardfp ABI|
|armv7tnhl||armv8el||armv7hl, armv7nhl, armv7tnhl, armv7thl||Core:armv7tnhl||Core_armv7tnhl||ARMv7 VFPv3-D16 port, hardfp ABI, NEON, Thumb2|
|mipsel||mips||mipsel||Core:mipsel||Core_mipsel||MIPS32 O32 ABI port, hardfloat|
Products based on Mer
KDE Plasma Active
Vivaldi Tablet and Improv-computer
In January 2012 a Plasma Active-tablet device, initially known as 'Spark tablet' and soon renamed 'Vivaldi Tablet', was announced. Based on the Allwinner A20 SoC, it would have a 7" multitouch display, run the Plasma Active user interface on top of Mer, and have a target price of about €200. The project encountered some problems when its hardware partner in China completely changed the internal components and was reluctant to release the kernel source for the new hardware. As of early July 2012, the Vivaldi had been set back, but a solution was "in the pipes", according to Plasma developer Aaron Seigo. As a kind of side project Improv-computer was targeted for developers and was to be released in January 2014, Mer preinstalled. In mid 2014 both projects were discontinued.
Jolla and Sailfish OS
In July 2012 Jolla, a Finnish company founded by former Nokia employees involved in MeeGo development, announced their work on a new operating system called Sailfish OS, which is based on MeeGo and Mer's core with added proprietary GUI and hardware implementation layers. It was presented in late November 2012. Jolla released its first smartphone using Sailfish in 2013, simply called Jolla. In October 2014 Jolla announced for May 2015 the Jolla Tablet with Sailfish OS 2.0 which is to be 64-bit on quadcore Intel CPU. Also 2.0 is ready for licensing, hence it is used with products like Aqua Fish by Intex and PuzzlePhone.
In November 2014, Yuanxin Technology in China announced it is working on Yuanxin OS. The company's president Shi Wenyong called the OS "China's own smartphone OS", to be on par with Android and Apple iOS. Mr. Shi explained to a reporter that Yuanxi OS is based on the Mer distribution.
Mer's initial aim to provide a completely free alternative to the Maemo operating system, which was able to run on Nokia Internet Tablets such as the N800 and N810 (collectively known as the N8x0 devices).
It was based on Ubuntu 9.04, and with the release of Maemo 5/Fremantle, a new goal emerged: "[To bring] as much of Fremantle as we can get on the N8x0."
Shift to MeeGo
Mer suspended development at release 0.17, since focus had switched to building MeeGo for the N800 and N810 devices. By then, MeeGo was available and supported by a much wider community.
Collapse of MeeGo
The development was silently resumed during the summer of 2011 by a handful of MeeGo developers (some of them previously active in the Mer project), after Nokia changed its strategy in February 2011. These developers were not satisfied with the way MeeGo had been governed behind closed doors especially after Nokia departed, and they were also concerned that MeeGo heavily depended on big companies which could stop supporting it, as was the case when Nokia abandoned MeeGo as part of its new strategy.
This was again proven to be a problem after Intel, Samsung and the Linux Foundation announced they were going to create a new operating system called Tizen. This new OS began focusing on HTML5 and using the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) instead of Qt for native applications. However, on May 14, 2014 it was announced that Tizen:Common would be bringing Qt back by starting to ship with it integrated.
Revival with "MeeGo Reconstructed"
After the Tizen project was announced, the revival of the Mer project was announced on the MeeGo mailing list, with the promise that it would be developed and governed completely in the open as a meritocracy, unlike MeeGo and Tizen. It would also be based on the MeeGo code base and tools, aiming to provide just the equivalent of the MeeGo core with no default UI. The APIs for third party application development are included, meaning that Qt, EFL, and HTML5 would be supported on the platform, and maybe even others if widely requested.
The project quickly started to gain traction among many open source developers who had been involved in MeeGo, and it started being used by former MeeGo projects, such as the reference handset UX, now rebased on top of Mer and called Nemo Mobile, and a couple of projects targeting tablet UXes such as Cordia (a reimplementation of the Maemo 5 Hildon UX) and Plasma Active emerged on top of Mer. Equivalent Mer-based project of the former MeeGo IVI and Smart TV UXes are not yet known to exist.
The aim of the Mer community is to create, in a solid way, what had been unable to be done with MeeGo; Mer is to become what MeeGo was expected to be but has not become. Mer aims to become the MeeGo 2.0 when the Linux Foundation finds that it complies with all of the MeeGo requirements.
Merger with Sailfish
In early 2019 it was announced that they would unify Mer and Sailfish operations under one brand, called Sailfish OS, discontinuing use of the name Mer.
- "Mer Project website". Retrieved 16 August 2012.
- Munk, Carsten. "MeeGo Reconstructed – a plan of action and direction for MeeGo". MeeGo-dev (Mailing list). Archived from the original on June 3, 2013.
- lbt. "Restructure MeeGo: By Installments". Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- Ash (2011-10-03). "MeeGo Reconstructed – Presenting "Project Mer"". MeeGoExperts.com. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
- "Mer Project". Mer Project. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
- https://wiki.merproject.org/wiki/Zephyr Mer Zephyr
- "Wayland and Weston 1.3 release notes". 2013-10-11.
- "Mer Community workspace".
- "Plasma Active 3 Improves Performance, Brings New Apps". KDE. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
- Why the Vivaldi tablet never came to market. LWN.net 2014.
- Marco Martin. "some more hardware porn". Google+. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
- "Spark tablet announcement". Blogspot 2012.
- "Akademy: Plasma Active and Make Play Live". LWN.net 2012.
- "KDE Improv, Tablet Projects Officially Axed".
- "Nemo". Mer Wiki. Retrieved 2013-08-20.
- "The Nemo Mobile Open Source Project on Ohloh". Ohloh.net. Retrieved 2013-08-20.
- Marko Saukko (2013-02-03), Porting Nemo Mobile and Mer Project to new Hardware, FOSDEM 2013, retrieved 2013-07-29
- "Co-creation leading to co-development?".
- "What Is Jolla Mobile / Jolla OS? | Jolla Users Blog". Jollausers.com. 2012-09-26. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
- "Homegrown mobile operating system makes debut in China". wantchinatimes.com. 2014-11-30. Archived from the original on 2014-12-07. Retrieved 2014-12-03.
- "拆解"首款纯国产手机系统"：样机研制刚完成，明年建生态圈来自澎湃新闻". thepaper.cn. 2014-12-04. Retrieved 2014-12-04.
- "What is Mer Project? | Jolla Users Blog". Jollausers.com. 2012-09-27. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
- http://daimi.au.dk/~cvm/cphnotes.pdf at the Wayback Machine (archived 23 September 2015)
- "The Mer Project – just a bunch of redshirts?".
- lbt (2011-02-12). "Come on in…: What now for MeeGo?". Mer-l-in.blogspot.de. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
- "Tizen:Common to Ship with Qt Integrated". tizenexperts.com.