Mer is an open source GNU/Linux operating system designed for mobile devices. Sailfish OS, the operating system that Jolla develops for smartphones, is probably the most popular operating system based on Mer (which isn’t really saying very much). And the two projects have been closely intertwined from the get go.

So it’s not exactly a huge surprise that Jolla and Mer have announced that they’re merging Mer and Sailfish OS.

What does this mean for users? Not much really. On the back end, some changes will be made to servers, and users and developers may want to create some new accounts.

But the most interesting thing about the two projects merging is that it represents the latest in a long line of twists and turns in an open source operating system aimed at mobile devices.

The Mer Project was founded in 2011 and it was basically a community-based continuation of MeeGo, another open source operating system that had just been abandoned by its primary backers, Intel, Nokia, and the Linux Foundation.

Until its demise, MeeGo was supposed to be a versatile, Linux-based operating system that could be used across a range of devices including netbooks, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and in-vehicle systems. The Linux Foundation canceled the project after a few years and instead decided to focus on Tizen… which is still around, but it’s primarily used by Samsung for smart TVs, smartwatches, and a few budget smartphones.

MeeGo itself wasn’t actually around all that long — the initial release came in 2010 and the final release was pushed out just over two years later.

But MeeGo’s roots go back a bit further than that. It was born when developers brought together Moblin (a netbook operating system developed by Intel and the Linux Foundation) and Maemo (a smartphone OS developed by Nokia).

All of which is to say, Mer and Sailfish have some deep history behind them.

While we’re still waiting for a smartphone maker to deliver a modern phone that ships with a GNU/Linux operating system that can be used to run mobile applications and desktop software, Nokia shipped one way back in 2009!

via Phoronix and together.jolla



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5 replies on “Mer Project and Sailfish OS are merging (open source, Linux-based mobile operating systems)”

  1. Man, I loved my N900 so much. It’s criminal what happened to Nokia, but the past is the past. I keep an eye on Sailfish though, and even though they’re swimming against the tide, I’m pulling for them.

  2. Wasn’t Sailfish originally a merger of Mobile Linux OS projects at the time? Then there was another group that became Samsung Tizen I think

  3. I have such fond memories of Maemo…

    It was desktop linux, for mobile! A whole bunch of patches on GTK and custom apps, and Nokia sold “internet tablets” with it before and after the iPhone.

  4. Seems like to have something like this be successful in the market, it needs cash injection and steady stream.
    Then it needs to be profitable, so as to attract OEMs to adoption.

    Which is a shame, because both Intel and Nokia had heavy market influences before the iPhone/Android, and they both have a lot of money to see a project like this come into maturity. I have a feeling Moblin/Maemo/MeeGo/Mer/Sailfish was doomed since the start, because they didn’t have the backing of ARM

    Perhaps if they partnered with Nvidia, who was trying to extend their Tegra line of ARM-based chipsets, perhaps in that situation Nokia could’ve provided the services and Nvidia could’ve provided the development. And together injecting cash, and finding how to make it profitable like Google did, this may have become a reality.

    1. Both ARM and nVIDIA from where I sit shares a similar trait when it comes to this; they’re just “opportunistically lazy”. I mean name it. From what’s surely trivial financially such as setting aside a single percentile of each’ in-house devs to moonlight on Linux for better upstream support.

      Even if both could have just put out bare dev boards would have been immensely helpful but they’d rather “reverse shortcut” it by getting the money first then doing the “we’ll see what we can do” approach. Case in point; WoA. In short neither are willing to create or advance the market space even with ready code as long as they can avoid from spending a penny on that.

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