Mer/Documentation/Vendor Social Contract


Vendor Social contract for hardware vendors

The “Vendor Social Contract” is how we'd like to position the Mer/Vendor relationship. We politely request:

No tivoization

Tivoization] is the creation of a system that incorporates software under the terms of a copyleft software license, but uses hardware to prevent users from running modified versions of the software on that hardware.

A user of your device, running Mer, should always be able to replace the OS image with one of their own making. This can be fulfilled by:

  • Not using hardware to prevent users from running modified versions of the OS.
  • Not requiring signed firmwares.
  • Publishing bootloader specifications (firmware format and methods of firmware replacement).

(Note: Mer does use some GPLv3 software, so tivoization may contravene the license of some software.)

Open source kernel modules

Please publish the source for any modules required to access hardware on the device.

  • Allows users to use modern kernels in their devices.
  • Permit continued development of Mer for the device.
  • Allows ongoing community support.

Open source software allows the development team to keep your drivers up to date whenever Mer framework changes require driver modifications.

Redistribution is allowed

We ask that you allow the Mer community to distribute binary copies of any closed-source firmware or hardware-support software that is needed to support your device.

If absolutely required, the Mer community can organize a procedure to distribute firmware or hardware-support software only to users of your device, behind EULA and identified with their serial number or MAC address, etc.

If you choose to differentiate your device through closed-source bundled application software too (e.g., Flash), we ask that you allow the same distribution rights for this software.

A user of your device can then, at any point in the future, build a fresh Mer OS image without losing any functionality they had with the original firmware

Community Reciprocation

The community is committed to 100% OSS and wants to support organizations moving towards open source. Although we recognize and respect that they may not, at this time, list that as one of their own objectives.

The community will:

  • Support the spirit of the Vendor Social Contract.
  • Respect the copyright/patent/license limitations that vendors may be faced with when distributing software.
  • Support vendors in finding open solutions if desired.