The software platform, which was intended to serve as an alternative to Maemo, the Nokia’s software platform, is a Linux-based core distribution system aimed to serve mobile devices like smart phones, tablet computers and other forms of electronic devices. It is actually a fork of MeeGo i.e. it has the same source code as MeeGo but has been developed independently to generate a new platform. The story goes like this.
A LONG STORY
First, Mer came into existence to provide a completely free alternative to Nokia’s Maemo to run devices like Nokia Internet Tablets such as the N800 and N810. It was based on Ubuntu 9.04. But with Nokia collaborating with Intel’s Moblin, a new platform called MeeGo was developed based on Linux and Mer was sustained for the time being. But due to slow development of MeeGo under the closed doors, soon Nokia pulled out its hands out of the collaboration and MeeGo downshifted to stop the process completely. After Samsung joining the venture, a new operating system called TIzen got initiated and MeeGo was ultimately put to rest. But some of the Nokia employees who were working on the MeeGo project decided to start the proceedings again but not from the scratch this time rather opting for the same code base tools used in MeeGo with an aim to provide just the equivalent of the MeeGo core with no default UI. It was finally promoted as MeeGo 2.0 for future devices.
It will include all the third party APIs therefore supporting Qt, EFL, HTML5 and more on the platform.
The project is being developed and governed completely in the open, unlike MeeGo and Tizen.
It supports builds for the Intel x86, ARM architecture and MIPS architectures.
The various Mer-based devices available are Raspberry Pi, Beagleboard, Nokia N900, Nokia N950, Nokia N9 and various Intel Atom-based tablets.
The tablet device was announced in January 2012. Based on an ARM CPU, it was planned to have a 7” multi-touch display, Plasma Active user interface running on top of Mer with a targeted price of around €200. But the project has faced some problems after the Chinese manufacturers completely changing the internal parts and is still “in the pipes” according to Plasma developer Aaron Seigo.
Jolla is a start-up Finnish designer, developer and manufacturer of smart phones based on Jolla OS, a Mer-based operating system. The company was started by two ex-Nokia employees and they are about to launch their first mobile device at the end of the year.
Though initially starting at a low paced run, the project has finally ended in safe hands. With a no. of independent ventures and some sharp minds collaborating on the project, there is a tough competition expected for Android and IOS. We expect it to lower down the prices further in the industry as well as a step towards open source development may be considered as the arrival of a no. of very soon. But whatever happens, a wider no. of choices is awaiting the user community in the future.
Mer web site.