Will the Mer Project Keep MeeGo Alive?

Maemo Reconstructed gets resurrected as MeeGo Reconstructed. New governance, improved vendor relations, and easier contribution methods planned for open source mobile OS.

In a message on the MeeGo email list today, Carsten Munk proposes the Mer project as a sustainable way for MeeGo and other communities to work with Tizen. Munk explains that many MeeGo project contributors originated from the Mer project, which stood for Maemo Reconstructed. “We were big on open governance, open development and open source,” he says.

Munk says that the resurrected Mer project is not intended to be anti-Intel or anti-Tizen; instead, the project plans to collaborate with the new Tizen efforts. “We decided to approach the problems and potential scenarios of change in MeeGo in the light of the reallocation of resources caused by what is now known as the Tizen work. There have not been any Trunk/1.3 releases since August and Tablet UX has totally stalled. What really works (and works quite well) is the Core. It's time to take the pieces and use them for reconstruction,” Munk says.

The goals for Mer, according to Munk's post, are to be openly developed and governed as a meritocracy; instead of end users, device vendors will be the primary customers of the platform; to have a device manufacturer-oriented structure and a device-oriented architecture; to be inclusive of MeeGo, Tizen, Qt, EFL, HTML5, and other technologies; and to innovate in the mobile OS space.

The Mer project wants to have the blessing of the Linux Foundation and carry on the “MeeGo spirit,” and will work toward an ultra-portable Linux, HTML5/QML/JS core on which to build products. Mer project organizers encourage people to participate in Tizen project core work. “Even if Tizen turns out to be dramatically different,” Munk says, “the maintenance load of 302 source packages – much of it typical Linux software, is significantly lower than that of the 1,400 packages found in MeeGo today.” Munk says that the Mer project will use another lesson learned from MeeGo. “We also want to port this work to everywhere, ARMv6/7 – hardfp, softfp, i486, Atom, MIPS, etc. – allowing much more freedom for porting to new devices,” he says.

More Mer activity is visible today on the http://maemo.org/ site, where Robin Burchell explains the new Mer-focused direction for a MeeGo 2.0. Burchell says that the core Linux-based operating system will not have a user interface, so it will be a tool for developing products. “The idea being that you can then take it, drop a hardware reference for a device you love quite a bit, drop a UX in on top (either one you write yourself, or one from the greater community, like the MeeGo handset UX), and you have a product,” Burchell explains. “I look forward to running a MeeGo handset UX on top of a Mer core on my n900 soon, and what can be accomplished in the future,” Burchell writes.

To get involved or learn more about the Mer project, log into #mer on freenode or check the MeeGo or Maemo.org forums.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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