The Jolla company recently announced the merger of the Sailfish OS operating system and the open project Mer. For those unfamiliar with Jolla, we can tell you that it was founded by former Nokia employees to develop new smartphones based on the MeeGo Linux platform.
Currently, Jolla, which uses Mer as the system environment for the Sailfish mobile platform, is the main driver of Mer's development and the most active sponsor of this project. Many Mer developers, including the project's founders, are Jolla employees.
About Sailfish OS
For those unfamiliar with Sailfish OS, you should know that this is a partially proprietary mobile operating system with an open system environment, but closed by the user shell, basic mobile applications.
Besides that has QML components to create the graphical user interfaceas well as talso a layer that allows you to run Android applications, an intelligent text input engine and a data synchronization system.
The open system environment is based on Mer (a fork of MeeGo) and Mer packages. In addition, Mer is released as a graphics stack based on the Wayland and Qt5 library on Mer system components.
About the Mer project
Initially, the project Mer was founded in early 2009 with the goal of creating a universal edition of the Maemo platform, but it was abandoned and developed only in 2011, as a standalone platform to continue the development of an open version of the MeeGo platform formed by the combination of Maemo and Moblin.
The Mer environment is not focused on end users, but is positioned as a modular base for the creation of various mobile platforms, which allows concentrating efforts on developing the interface and not wasting resources on maintaining the system environment.
The Mer project also developed the Nemo Mobile reference distribution, which replaced MeeGo Community Edition and differs from the Sailfish operating system in using the free Glacier shell for the graphical interface instead of Sailfish's proprietary graphical components. Glacier is based on Qt 5 and Wayland and uses its own set of widgets.
The community is important too
After assessing the current state of affairs on both sides and after several talks, they decided to combine Sailfish OS and Mer into a single project, in order to be able to develop it further under the umbrella of Sailfish OS developers.
From the proprietary plugin, Sailfish will become a project developed on the basis of the «Open Core» model. What does this imply?
Well in the first stay what implies that the main part of the system is that it will be developed as an open project with community participation, but the additional plugins remain closed.
Instead, will be offered to users both merproject.org and sailfishos.org a single common site in which resources will be combined with information on both projects.
Otherwise, everything will remain much the same: the support of the same team will remain, the same services will remain available, and Jolla will continue to transmit changes and improvements to the system code.
Much of the community, as well as the developers involved in this merger, expect what a first hand changes improve tools and processes intended to involve third party community members in the development and expansion of error message handling tools.
As well a new account system will be proposed for Mer users and developers, which will allow them to access the resources that are provided on the sailfishos.org site.
With the merger of these projects, we can expect great improvements within Sailfish OS.
Besides Sailfish, the environment Mer is also used by other systems of which we can highlight webOS, KDE Plasma Mobile, LuneOS and AsteroidOS.