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Mer (software distribution)

Mer is a free and open-source software distribution, targeted at hardware vendors to serve as a middleware for Linux kernel-based mobile-oriented operating systems1 It is a fork of MeeGo234


  • 1 Goals
  • 2 Software architecture
    • 21 Components
  • 3 Supported hardware
  • 4 Products based on Mer
    • 41 KDE Plasma Active
      • 411 Vivaldi Tablet and Improv-computer
    • 42 Nemo Mobile
    • 43 Jolla and Sailfish OS
    • 44 Yuanxin OS
  • 5 History
    • 51 Shift to MeeGo
    • 52 Collapse of MeeGo
    • 53 Revival with "MeeGo Reconstructed"
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References


Some goals2 of the project are:

  • Openly developed with transparency built into the fabric of the project
  • Provide a mobile device oriented architecture
  • Primary customers are 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 eg MeeGo, Tizen, Qt, EFL, HTML5
  • Governed as a meritocracy
  • Run as a non profit through donations5

Software architectureedit

Mer contains systemd, Wayland compositor, etc

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

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 is support for systemd, Wayland, Hybris, and other current FOSS software

Zephyr is an attempt at creating a stack for use by other projects to be exploring lightweight, high-performance, next-generation UIs based on Mer, Qt5, QML compositor and Wayland6

Weston 13, which was released on 11 October 2013, supports libhybris,7 making it possible to use Android device drivers with Wayland

Supported hardwareedit

Mer can be compiled for a number of instruction sets such as x86, ARM or MIPS

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 firmware8

Mer uses Open Build Service: OBS in mer but with one repository per architecture:

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 Meredit

KDE Plasma Activeedit

Mer is the reference platform for KDE’s Plasma Active9

Vivaldi Tablet and Improv-computeredit

In January 2012 a Plasma Active-tablet device, initially known as 'Spark tablet' and soon renamed 'Vivaldi Tablet', was announced10 Based on the Allwinner A20 SoC,11 it would have a 7" multitouch display, run the Plasma Active user interface on top of Mer, and have a target price of about €20012 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 Seigo13 As a kind of side project Improv-computer was targeted for developers and was to be released in January 2014, Mer preinstalled14 In mid 2014 both projects were discontinued15

Nemo Mobileedit

Parallel to Sailfish OS by Jolla, Nemo Mobile is a community-driven operating system based on a Linux kernel, Mer, a GUI and diverse applications161718

Jolla and Sailfish OSedit

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 layers1920 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 20 which is to be 64-bit on quadcore Intel CPU Also 20 is ready for licensing, hence it is used with products like Aqua Fish by Intex and PuzzlePhone

Yuanxin OSedit

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",21 to be on par with Android and Apple iOS Mr Shi explained to a reporter that Yuanxi OS is based on the Mer distribution22


Relations of Mer and the mobile operating systems incorporating it and also of the projects it was forked from

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 devices2324

It was based on Ubuntu 904, 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 MeeGoedit

Mer suspended development at release 017, since focus had switched to building MeeGo for the N800 and N810 devices25 By then, MeeGo was available and supported by a much wider community

Collapse of MeeGoedit

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 strategy26

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 integrated27

Revival with "MeeGo Reconstructed"edit

After the Tizen project was announced, the revival of the Mer project was announced on the MeeGo mailing list,2 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 20 when the Linux Foundation finds that it complies with all of the MeeGo requirements

See alsoedit

  • Comparison of mobile operating systems


  1. ^ "Mer Project website" Retrieved 16 August 2012 
  2. ^ a b c Munk, Carsten "MeeGo Reconstructed – a plan of action and direction for MeeGo" MeeGo-dev Mailing list Archived from the original on June 3, 2013 
  3. ^ lbt "Restructure MeeGo: By Installments" Retrieved 20 August 2012 
  4. ^ Ash 2011-10-03 "MeeGo Reconstructed – Presenting "Project Mer"" MeeGoExpertscom Retrieved 2013-06-13 
  5. ^ "Mer Project" Mer Project Retrieved 2013-06-13 
  6. ^ https://wikimerprojectorg/wiki/Zephyr Mer Zephyr
  7. ^ "Wayland and Weston 13 release notes" 2013-10-11 
  8. ^ "Mer Community workspace" 
  9. ^ "Plasma Active 3 Improves Performance, Brings New Apps" KDE Retrieved 2013-06-13 
  10. ^ Why the Vivaldi tablet never came to market LWNnet 2014
  11. ^ Marco Martin "some more hardware porn" Google+ Retrieved 2013-06-13 
  12. ^ "Spark tablet announcement"  Blogspot 2012
  13. ^ "Akademy: Plasma Active and Make Play Live"  LWNnet 2012
  14. ^ Brad Linder "Improv is a $75 modular, ARM-based computer core EOMA-68" Liliputing 
  15. ^ "KDE Improv, Tablet Projects Officially Axed" 
  16. ^ "Nemo" Mer Wiki Retrieved 2013-08-20 
  17. ^ "The Nemo Mobile Open Source Project on Ohloh" Ohlohnet Retrieved 2013-08-20 
  18. ^ Marko Saukko 2013-02-03, Porting Nemo Mobile and Mer Project to new Hardware, FOSDEM 2013, retrieved 2013-07-29 
  19. ^ "Co-creation leading to co-development" 
  20. ^ "What Is Jolla Mobile / Jolla OS | Jolla Users Blog" Jollauserscom 2012-09-26 Retrieved 2013-06-13 
  21. ^ "Homegrown mobile operating system makes debut in China" wantchinatimescom 2014-11-30 Retrieved 2014-12-03 
  22. ^ "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" thepapercn 2014-12-04 Retrieved 2014-12-04 
  23. ^ "What is Mer Project | Jolla Users Blog" Jollauserscom 2012-09-27 Retrieved 2013-06-13 
  24. ^ http://wwwdaimiaudk/~cvm/cphnotespdf
  25. ^ "The Mer Project – just a bunch of redshirts" 
  26. ^ lbt 2011-02-12 "Come on in…: What now for MeeGo" Mer-l-inblogspotde Retrieved 2013-06-13 
  27. ^ "Tizen:Common to Ship with Qt Integrated" tizenexpertscom 

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