The System76 COSMIC Desktop Environment is Promising

Do what thou whilt shall be the whole of the law.

I tested out the current pre-alpha version of the System76 COSMIC desktop environment today. So far I like what I see though there’s clearly work to be done, which isn’t surprising in a pre-alpha. The biggest change that matters to me is that it’s on Wayland instead of X11. This means VSync will work right now. I love the progress they have so far. It’s looking really nice and polished compared to the current Gnome-Cosmic hybrid they’re shipping in the current version of Pop. The COSMIC desktop is relatively similar to the current Pop desktop so there’s not much of a learning curve. However, I’m switching back to the current Pop! desktop for now, as COSMIC is not quite far along enough for prime time and I’m going to wait until they officially release COSMIC in an OS update before trying to use it seriously, but I’m excited for when they do.

My two biggest concerns going in with Wayland were the Nvidia drivers issue and concerns that XConfig wouldn’t work. There are issues with the Nvidia drivers under Wayland which only manifest when you try to play a game. It became immediately apparent when trying to play GZDoom. For the moment I’ve found a solution which is to run the game in Vulcan mode rather than OpenGL but that isn’t going to work on the vast majority of games. As for the XConfig issue, I’m typing this on Wayland right now and I can still use the compose key and it even includes my custom configuration I created to add more compositions such as the therefore sign ∴. It is worth noting that I tried it out in the COSMIC Text Editor first and thought the compose key wasn’t working on Wayland. However, Gedit still works fine with the compose key on Wayland so it seems the COSMIC Text Editor just hasn’t been coded to support it yet. Knowing this, I’m happy with how things are going and do not have any apprehension.

Love is the law, love under will.


Windows is Cringe

Do what thou whilt shall be the whole of the law.

My disrespectful shirt just arrived today. It amuses me; it’s just for laughs, but I created it out of my frustration. I’m making fun of the tech bros who love to hate on Apple who have clearly never used a Mac for any meaningful length of time. I designed the shirt myself. It’s a one of a kind and they are not for sale.*

The hate and misinformation about macOS that tech bros love to spread drives me nuts. So much of it just isn’t true and you’d know that if you’d do the research or even just use a Mac for awhile. For example they try to say you can only get software from their app store but that’s not true. You can download .app files from anywhere. They generally come packaged in .dmg disk images that you can just mount and copy the contents over to your applications folder. It just warns you that Apple can’t verify the app isn’t malicious if they haven’t signed it so you run at your own risk. All you have to do to get it to run anyway is right click and open. If they’d used one for any meaningful amount of time they’d likely know that. I ran tons of unsigned code on my MacBook when I had it and it didn’t give me any issue. It’s really not that far away from Linux in many ways. They also complain about the cost being higher for a Mac than for Windows but they fail to adjust for the full cost of what you’re getting. That machined solid aluminum chassis isn’t cheap to produce and it makes them so much more durable than the cheap plastic so many Windows laptops are made of. Hardware wise they’re actually pretty comparable to equivalent Windows laptops if you actually do the math. They just don’t sell budget models. That’s the biggest difference. But you can always buy refurbished and save there. That’s how I got mine.

I’m no Apple fangirl but I do prefer macOS over Windows if that’s my given choices. macOS is built on Unix architecture which is very like Linux, so it’s familiar. I can learn and use the same skill set across both platforms and a lot of it directly transfers. Windows is off in its own little world doing things its own way. Its based on nothing, really, beyond their arbitrary design choices. It’s for this reason that for me, Windows just feels so ass-backwards and it’s like pulling teeth to get it to work sometimes. I’ve all but given up trying to share the network printer with Windows computers. I’ve tried and tried and tried to get it to work and it just won’t, so I’ve given up. If people in my household want to print from my printer and use Windows, they can just give me the file to print from my laptop or my phone instead. On macOS, Linux, and Android, the printer just shows up the moment you connect to the Wi-Fi ready to go with nothing to do but just use it. It’s just already configured to work. Windows doesn’t even see that it exists and I have no idea why or how to fix it. It’s just broken. I’ve tried everything I know to do to try to set it up and it just won’t see it or interact with it correctly and I’m baffled. My only guess is that because it’s such an old printer there’s no modern Windows drivers for it but it still works perfectly fine for me on Linux and Android, and it meets my needs so it would be senseless for an upgrade. Plus I can still get toner for it easily and affordably, and it lasts a good long time when I do.

Beyond printing, compiling Python code on Windows is a pain in the ass compared to macOS and Linux. macOS and Linux can just run python scripts directly from the terminal without even needing to compile them. For some reason Windows can’t do that as far as I can figure out. (Or at least not without extra configuration I couldn’t reliably expect an end user to do.) On macOS and Linux all I gotta do is wrap it in a shell script and it’s ready to go from the terminal. I don’t even need a separate one for each platform. Since they both run bash**, they can both run the same bash scripts just fine, no big deal. On Windows I have to painstakingly manage all the dependencies and manually run python compiler stuff and configure it and the whole nine yards. It’s a pain but I have to do it since that’s the most common OS people use to run their computers and I don’t want to be a dick about it. It’s annoying to have to do but at least I know what I’m doing and can get it working easy enough even if there are a bunch of needless extra steps involved. I can do it all from a VM at least. I won’t do it for arbitrary commits but major releases I will.

At the end of the day though, you gotta pick the best tool for the job and unfortunately that means some people really do need to use Windows simply for that reason and I understand that. For me, right now, that happens to be Linux. In the past when I had a MacBook, the best tool genuinely was macOS. It gave me access to the many audio tools only available on that platform. I used them to work on my music.

I don’t really care that much in terms of brand loyalty or anything else along those lines; I just wish people would stop pretending like Windows isn’t the red-headed step child of the computing world that somehow inexplicably became the biggest name in town and refuses to play nice. It’s not that great an OS, its design specifications are a mess, and it works so terribly with what are common tasks for me specifically that it’s a constant pain point for me to have to support it at all. There’s so many unnecessary extra steps to get it to work with industry standards and I don’t understand why. It’s not like they could be that hard to implement and include with the basic OS package, so why don’t they? You need third party tools to do so many tasks that you can just run directly from the bash terminal on other platforms. Nobody in the server space would tolerate a Linux distribution that didn’t ship with ssh support by default, and yet Windows gets away with it. You need a program like PuTTY to connect to ssh on Windows. You need FileZilla to access an sftp share. Just extra gubbins on top that really should come bundled directly inside the operating system by default. Plus it comes with no tools or support to access files saved on other platforms. NTFS, the modern Windows filesystem, is supported nativity by macOS and it can be easily configured and mounted in the filesystem on Linux using ntfs-3g. Meanwhile, Windows doesn’t support Linux’s ext4 or btrfs at all despite it being an open standard they could implement with minimum effort and not even have to pay a single dime in licensing fees to include it. Why they still don’t in the days where Linux has completely taken over the server space is beyond me. They’re just making things harder on their users for no good reason. Granted, I’ll give you that such a thing would be considered largely superfluous in the home version of Windows since most average users wouldn’t need it, but for businesses it’s something that should be considered essential in my eyes. Plus, including more useful tools along with the package only makes it a better value for money anyway. It makes them look better and it can’t be that hard to implement easily. Windows doesn’t support macOS’s file systems HFS+ or APFS at all either. However, in that case there may be patents or licensing in the way that Apple doesn’t want to give up without a fight, or a fat paycheck so who knows? I can get that but not ext4 and btrfs. There’s really no excuse for not supporting it in my mind.

In any case, I didn’t create this shirt exclusively for Apple. I’m a Linux user first and foremost these days and I have just as much reason to wear the shirt in defense of Linux as anything else.

Anyways, use what you want but I don’t have to like it for myself. For now I’ll stick with my Pop!_OS Linux and keep macOS in my back pocket as a backup. Tech Bros be warned.

Love is the law, love under will.


*The design incorporates the Windows logo, so I can’t legally sell it even if I wanted to.

**Yes, I know Apple recently switched to zsh over bash, but it still has bash as an option and can still run bash scripts by default, so there’s no need for a re-write. Zsh is still pretty close to bash anyway and a lot of the syntax is identical in both shells.

Social Media Needs to be Regulated

Do what thou whilt shall be the whole of the law.

Social media has been a hot-button issue since it initially cropped up and continues to remain so as old platforms die and are replaced with newer ones. However, because of the nature of the beast, it’s hard to even learn from what the older platforms did wrong so the newer ones can learn from their mistakes. They just keep on making the same mistakes over and over, and with our over-reliance on them, and their monetization scheme, there’s little end users can do to influence the way the platform is designed. Topics will get raised or buried in algorithms completely transparently to the humans who use them. Rules and censorship is applied unevenly and for often arbitrary reasons. Some foreign interests have even been shown to have a pretty massive influence on what gets promoted, much of which is targeted at destabilizing communities and spreading propaganda.

Facebook is probably the most notorious for their rules being being arbitrary and applied unevenly. The worst part is when you get in trouble, you’re generally not even allowed to know why. The refusal to even say what was done wrong is so scummy. That shouldn’t ever be an acceptable answer. That’s some secret police fascist kind of nonsense. It rings of “There is no war in Ba Sing Se.” Just disappearing people without a trace, notice, or even an idea as to why. How can you be expected to follow rules that aren’t rules? Also, how do some people end up in Facebook jail or outright banned like that all the time and I’ve only ever gotten a warning once and it was presumably for something stupid? I really don’t understand why they think that’s an acceptable business practice. It isn’t and they said as much when they tell customers “We understand knowing the exact violation causing your account to be suspended would be helpful for you to understand what to avoid doing in the future.” They know it’s bullshit but they don’t care because they’re not forced to care. They’re unregulated and unrestrained and yet we give up so much of our lives to them. This is why a large number of people have been migrating over to Discord as an alternative. It’s way more straightforward and there’s no content algorithm that buries posts under piles of adverts, “suggested pages”, and reposed chain-letter type nonsense.

Then there is the dumpster fires that are Twitter and Reddit. Twitter, now X…kinda, I don’t even really need to explain because everyone pretty much knows how Elon Musk bought it and immediately started running it into the ground with such bad ideas it’s hilarious, but also frustrating. Pretty much every decision he has made since obtaining the platform has been a mistake and it’s just a matter of time before the platform crashes and burns.

And Reddit…well Reddit is a dumpster fire of bad takes, toxicity, and idiocy.

The biggest problem with them though is their monetization schemes. The users aren’t the customers. The users are the product. It’s a social contract we all begrudgingly tolerate simply because we have no choice. Advertising has always been the main way that web-based companies stayed afloat and that only increased with the ways they can harvest private information for profit. They will always tailor their product, you, for their customers, the advert industry, not the other way around.

There’s no easy answers but coming up with those are what we pay our legislatures to do. That’s literally the job they are elected to do after all. Unfortunately congress in the states seem completely disconnected from reality and have no good answers beyond just flirting with banning various platforms entirely for this or that reason. If you ask me, what we really need though is a extremely nuanced, fluid response team for social media not unlike the FCC but more focused and with clearly defined goals. They could set the standards by which the regulations are created and enforced and respond to changes in near real-time. Bad behavior must be punished in a significant way. Google has proven time and time again that It’s perfectly willing to break the law with their system until forced to follow it and fines are rarely ever sufficient. They just get included in the cost/benefit reports to be considered by executives. That should not happen. Breaking the law shouldn’t just be a part of a revenue equation. We need significant jail time for CEOs. We need to hold the board responsible when they drive people to break the law for their financial benefit. And most of all we need these algorithms to be tooled to promote content that upholds our values rather than just whatever clickbait happens to be popular at any given moment. The way that so many people have become so disconnected from reality because of them is a huge warning sign we don’t take seriously enough.

We need strong regulation and we’re not getting it.

Love is the law, love under will.


Concerning the Table of Practice, the Pentacle and the Pentagram

Originally written as a response to a messages.

Do what thou whilt shall be the whole of the law.

The Pentacle

Despite common misunderstanding, the pentacle is a defensive tool, not evocative. Likewise, the words “pentagram” and “pentacle” are not interchangeable but are directly related. The pentacle is the 5-pointed star-polygon itself. The pentacle is the same with the addition of the circle around it. (Although confusingly some magicians refer to the table of practice as the “pentacle” despite generally not bearing its simplified design.) You generally would not use a pentacle alone if you were intending on summoning something. Wiccans do tend to put a pentacle on their altar instead of a table of practice but their magick tends to focus on either energy manipulation, spell-crafting, or interacting with their version of the trinity. (God, Goddess, and Dryghten) You don’t exactly need it to hold a spirit in place when doing that kind of magick so rather than that they use it as a method of correspondence. Evocation is usually done with a table of practice featuring a completely different design such as the Sigillum Dei Aemeth or the various grimoiric or grimoiric-adjacent table of practice designs. They are designed to embody the universe or at least the planet earth in the form of a magickal metaphor.

Trithemius Table of Practice

This table of practice was designed by Johannes Trithemius. In this one, the inner circle is the names of the 4 archanges. Then you have the triangle of the art. Next you have the word “Tetragrammaton” which is the “ineffable” name of God. After that you have the 4 demon-kings of the four cardinal directions. Finally around the outside you have the angels of the 7 classical planetary spheres; those being the Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn.

Sigillum Dei Aemeth

The Sigillum Dei Aemeth design is obviously far more complicated. It is typically only used when evoking the Enochean Angels which exist in a class all their own and which require a much more elaborate method of summoning including speaking in a language called Enochean. Enochean was created by the angels and given to Dr. John Dee to be a lingua franca between the angelic language and human languages. Dee mistakenly believed it to be derived from Hebrew but in reality it was more closely related to English, Dee’s native tongue.

It’s worth noting that these table of practice designs are also semi-defensive with the intent of holding the summoned spirit as if in a container so they don’t slip away during the operation.


To a Thelemite, the pentagram is the magickal weapon of Geburah. Geburah’s associated number is five and the spokes of the pentagram enumerate 5. Additionally, each spoke forms a V shape. Therefore the formula “Vi veri universum vivus vici” (V.V.V.V.V.) is invoked meaning: “By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe”. This topic is one that deserves to be expanded on significantly and it has been by Alister Crowley in Magick Book 4 • Liber ABA. It starts on page 95 in the Second Revised Edition. I highly suggest reading it.

Love is the law, love under will.