The Difference Between "What is" and "Why is" when it involves operating systems.

I wanted to share something being done intentionally for Potabi, the providing of what, but being quiet of why.

"Why an operating system?" and "What an operating system?" are two VERY different things that distributions don't do well in distinguishing. Here are a few examples of clear "What an operating system?" type situations.

- "A Linux distribution"
- "For an easy system"
- "For a privacy focused system"

But why is a whole lot more complicated, and usually ends up being a "what". Like "To give people choice/freedom/ease/etc", "To give an alternative to using <insert software here>", and even "Just as something I can do as a hobby." These are whats, not whys. What is the reason, why is the passion, which a lot of distributions do not have.

People keep asking me why, and I didn't want to give more what. That is why I was not really providing a why, because I knew a why was there, but it was hard to describe. Then, I looked at elementaryOS, FerenOS, Drauger OS, and other operating systems I know and love and asked "but why." I have finally come to the answer to WHY I am making Potabi.

Every why includes the what, so what really is Potabi? Potabi is firstly, not the following:

  • A desktop FreeBSD derivative. We are planning to add tons to our kernel from other OS's, other BSDs (like Dragonfly, Net, Open, maybe helloSystem and Airyx), Illumos (OpenIndiana), and other misc (ReactOS, Haiku, etc).
  •  An alternative to Linux, for Linux users. Our target demographic are Windows and Mac users, which is why we are not...
  • An operating system to purely support open-source. We support open-source, and promise to have purely open-source versions, but we also do have interest with distributing proprietary software in the downloads.
    • This will possibly include browsers - as Firefox is definitely something we don't want to include because of how Mozilla likes to behave.
    • Hardware drivers - As if we can natively support NVIDIA, with drivers they developed, that would be best for the user, especially one coming from Windows. This can also apply to hardware companies don't want to support natively on Linux due to the GPL's infection clauses and how it discourages making proprietary drivers on the Linux kernel, etc.
  •  An operating system to show how good BSD is. BSD was the best place for us to start, and that was circumstance.

So what is Potabi? It's an alternative to all operating system, built on FOSS, not for profit - as money removes the soul of an operating system, but is to purely help expand options for users. There is even a chance we move from a BSD core, to a Fuchsia-BSD hybrid.

But why? Why did I want an operating system to do this? My reason is because I genuinely feel no one else is really doing it right. It's hard to see an operating system and say "They are doing what needs to be done", as all of them really seem to ignore what is needed for the new users, for the ecosystem to grow, and what is wanted by the system users. I wanted to make an operating system that wasn't BSD, wasn't Linux, wasn't anything but itself. To have the potential to do the job people require it to do, the potential to inspire, the potential to innovate. A system with the ability to say it had what it takes, it had what new users wanted, it has reason to be liked by anyone looking for a simple third solution to a mobile OS, or a desktop OS, with the ability to run their servers.

One thing I did one day was go to r/LinuxSucks, and read what they had to say. Their rules state that you can't report Linux users who post/comment because "boo hoo, butt hurt", because they didn't want an echo chamber.

We are taking the approach I feel like Apple should have, and technically kinda does. Will everyone love Potabi? No. But that isn't why I make Potabi. I make it because I want to give an option that is open-source, not because it is better, but because it's easier for everyone to improve and check. It's the main reason I chose the BSD kernel, I didn't want to waste time building a kernel that is poorly supported in hardware and software, but also didn't want to pick a kernel with a highly abusive, anti-freedom, gnukkit-type license like Linux.

I know for a fact I will get criticized for a lot of things, but I want to share three quotes which I know will make many people groan but this will best explain why my decisions for Potabi are being made. Why FOSS-only versions are alternative, but not the norm. Why I make Potabi, and named it for potential and ability. The potential to change. The ability to make the changes.

"Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fufils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things" 

    - Winston Churchil


 "If you're not open to constructive criticism, then you're not open to truly growing as a person."
    - Multiple people


 "A healthy person can accept criticism"

    - Adrian Rogers


I will be finishing the beta release, and will be announcing our quarterly report - Under the name The Quarterly - September 29th to donors, and October 1st for everyone else. Thank you.


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