TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger

Volume Number: 22 (2006)
Issue Number: 2
Column Tag: Reviews

Kool Tools

Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger

by Mary Norbury-Glaser

Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger is O'Reilly's fourth revision of this popular volume on Unix basics for Mac OS X users. This edition's author, Dave Taylor, is a well-known and highly respected Unix geek with many diverse publications under his belt: Learning Unix for Mac OS X Panther, Creating Cool HTML 4.0 Web Pages, Solaris 9 for Dummies, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Growing Your Business With Google, and Wicked Cool Shell Scripts, among others.

Although Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger is intended for Unix newbies, the content is surprisingly extensive and so well organized that this book can easily act as a refresher volume for even power Unix users, especially those new to Mac OS X.

In the first three chapters, Taylor quickly covers a great deal of ground as he introduces Unix, the CLI (command line interface) and Mac OS X Terminal basics, runs through an overview of the Mac filesystem (directory structure, pathnames) and delves into commands and optional switches related to navigating and exploring directories and files (cd, ls, pwd, etc.). The reader quickly becomes familiar with customizing the Terminal interface, entering commands and configuring advanced shell settings. Using the basic commands outlined in these chapters, Taylor also leads the reader through several important directories (Library/Preferences and /var/log for example) and takes some time explaining file permissions. He includes a good illustration of how to look at external volumes like attached iPods and digital cameras using ls.

Chapters 4 and 5 take the reader to file level management with explanations of file and directory name syntax; wildcard usage (*, ?, [], {,}); commands used to look inside files (cat, less, grep); command line editors (usage instructions for vi and brief overviews of nano/pico and emacs); how to organize files with mkdir, cp, mv, and rm; compressing and archiving files using gzip and tar; using grep for pattern matching within files; and finding files using locate, find, mdls, and mdfind.

Redirecting standard input and output is covered in Chapter 6. Taylor clarifies redirection, pipes and filters, the use of associated commands (cat, tr, wc, head, tail, sort, uniq), and piping output to a pager using less. He also discusses sending output to a printer via Unix commands (lpstat to look at configured printers, lp to add print jobs to a queue, pr to format files, enscript to translate plain text to Postscript, and atprint to send jobs via AppleTalk).

Chapter 7 explores monitoring multiple processes and discusses the concept of running commands as a background process using the & character, gathering running process information using ps and top, watching system processes through the system logs using tail -f, terminating processes using kill and killall, and interacting with GUI apps.

The next chapter shows the reader how to access remote systems via ssh and rsh, enabling web and ftp servers, and copying files between systems using scp, rcp, curl, and ftp/sftp. Taylor includes a brief aside on security and indicates other security issues where appropriate.

In Chapters 9 and 10, Taylor introduces X11, the X Window System, and how to find and install various open source applications using Fink, an open source software distribution and installation tool for Mac OS X. The author includes installing, using and customizing X11, and using remote access capabilities of X11. The author gives step-by-step instructions on how to install Fink, how to list and install packages and how to use the GUI front-end to Fink, FinkCommander. Taylor mentions but doesn't illustrate the Fink alternative, DarwinPorts perhaps because although command line junkies seem to prefer DarwinPorts, Fink's GUI interface makes it easier for beginners to maneuver and there are many more packages available through Fink. Other useful apps described: GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), the email client Pine, the text-based Web browser Lynx, and GNU Backgammon. Taylor takes care to give the reader thorough details on downloading, installing and using most of the apps included in the chapter. Even a user completely unfamiliar with X11 or Fink can feel comfortable with the process outlined in these two sections.

In the final chapter, Taylor advises the reader on where to find additional resources through documentation (Help menus, man pages, web sites, and books), how to customize the Unix environment using aliases and functions, and programming options (shell scripts, AppleScript, Perl, Python, Ruby, C, and C++). This is a brief chapter intended to launch the reader into further study.

Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger follows O'Reilly's proven formula of providing superior books written by industry leaders. Font choices for both regular text and command line examples are highly readable with a large number of screenshots illustrating key points. Taylor's examples are representative of practical, familiar situations that even command line junkies will appreciate.

In addition to an excellent introduction to Unix for Tiger users, Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger is one of the best values around; readers can find this exceptional O'Reilly book for well under the listed $19.95 at a variety of book resellers.

Dave Taylor has a comfortable and relaxed style of writing that lends an air of ease to this complex subject. There is never a moment that the reader will feel lost. Each chapter is well thought out and executed and each topic follows the previous one in a reasonable fashion. The chapters are littered with useful examples of commands and optional switches and further illustrations of when they are most practically implemented.

Dave Taylor
280 pages
O'Reilly
ISBN: 0596009151
US $19.95

Mary Norbury-Glaser is IT Director at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, an affiliate center at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado. She has too-many-years-to-count experience in cross-platform systems implementation and administration in the education sector. You can reach her at norburym@mac.com.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

BusyContacts 1.0.2 - Fast, efficient con...
BusyContacts is a contact manager for OS X that makes creating, finding, and managing contacts faster and more efficient. It brings to contact management the same power, flexibility, and sharing... Read more
Capture One Pro 8.2.0.82 - RAW workflow...
Capture One Pro 8 is a professional RAW converter offering you ultimate image quality with accurate colors and incredible detail from more than 300 high-end cameras -- straight out of the box. It... Read more
Backblaze 4.0.0.872 - Online backup serv...
Backblaze is an online backup service designed from the ground-up for the Mac.With unlimited storage available for $5 per month, as well as a free 15-day trial, peace of mind is within reach with... Read more
Little Snitch 3.5.2 - Alerts you about o...
Little Snitch gives you control over your private outgoing data. Track background activity As soon as your computer connects to the Internet, applications often have permission to send any... Read more
Monolingual 1.6.4 - Remove unwanted OS X...
Monolingual is a program for removing unnecesary language resources from OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. If you use your computer in only one (human) language, you... Read more
CleanApp 5.0 - Application deinstaller a...
CleanApp is an application deinstaller and archiver.... Your hard drive gets fuller day by day, but do you know why? CleanApp 5 provides you with insights how to reclaim disk space. There are... Read more
Fantastical 2.0 - Create calendar events...
Fantastical is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event details... Read more
Cocktail 8.2 - General maintenance and o...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for OS X that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
Direct Mail 4.0.4 - Create and send grea...
Direct Mail is an easy-to-use, fully-featured email marketing app purpose-built for OS X. It lets you create and send great looking email campaigns. Start your newsletter by selecting from a gallery... Read more
jAlbum Pro 12.6 - Organize your digital...
jAlbum Pro has all the features you love in jAlbum, but comes with a commercial license. With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code!... Read more

MLB Manager 2015 (Games)
MLB Manager 2015 5.0.14 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 5.0.14 (iTunes) Description: Guide your favorite MLB franchise to glory! MLB Manager 2015, officially licensed by MLB.com and based on the award-... | Read more »
Breath of Light (Games)
Breath of Light 1.0.1421 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.1421 (iTunes) Description: Hold a quiet moment. Breath of Light is a meditative and beautiful puzzle game with a hypnotic soundtrack by... | Read more »
WWE WrestleMania Tags into the App Store
Are You ready to rumble? The official WWE WrestleMania app, by World Wrestling Entertainment, is now available. Now you can get all your WrestleMania info in one place before anyone else. The app offers details on superstar signings, interactive... | Read more »
Bio Inc's New Expansion is Infectin...
Bio Inc., by DryGin Studios, is the real time strategy game where you infect a human body with the worst virus your evil brain can design. Recently, the game was updated to add a whole lot of new features. Now you can play the new “Lethal”... | Read more »
The Monocular Minion is Here! Despicable...
Despicable Me: Minion Rush, by Gameloft, is introducing a new runner to the mix in their latest update. Now you can play as Carl, the prankster minion. Carl has a few new abilities to play with, including running at a higher speed from the start.... | Read more »
Dungeon of Madness (Games)
Dungeon of Madness 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Dungeon of Madness is an action game where you rotate tiles to create our own route. Help the hero by connecting the... | Read more »
Filters for iPhone (Photography)
Filters for iPhone 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Photography Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Jump'N'Shoot Attack (Games)
Jump'N'Shoot Attack 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A mobile game for gamers! Join Louise Lightfoot, the legendary "Master of Jumping and Shooting", on her mission to save... | Read more »
Space Bounties Inc. (Games)
Space Bounties Inc. 1.4 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.4 (iTunes) Description: SuperGameDroid: 4/5 "Satisfying futuristic RPG combat, high replay value, and a heavy dose of nostalgia make Space... | Read more »
Gamebook: Pocket RPG (Games)
Gamebook: Pocket RPG 1.0.11 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.11 (iTunes) Description: Walk into the Land of Lanthir Lamath ruled by wicked skeletons and fight for your life in a thrilling adventure.... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Logitech Says MX Master Is Its Most Advanced...
Logitech’s new MX Master Wireless Mouse incorporates the best of Logitech’s many computer mouse innovations into a striking hand-sculpted design. The company claims that the MX Master creates a new... Read more
Save up to $300 on a new Mac, $30 on an iPad,...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs available...
The Apple Store lowered prices on Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs recently, with models now available starting at $679. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and... Read more
Mac Notebook Evolution; A Desktop Replacement...
More often than not right from the beginning, Apple’s Macs have tended to skew toward small. The original Macs were called “compacts,”, and notwithstanding a few exceptions like the honking Big Mac... Read more
13-inch 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook Air (Apple refur...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook Airs available for $759 including free shipping plus Apple’s standard one-year warranty. Their price is $240 off original... Read more
YEP! Alternative Browser for iOS Now Supports...
Pfaeffikon, Switzerland based Power App AG has announced the release of an update to their Yep! Web Browser (v1.3.0) for iOS8 iPhone and iPad. Yep! hit the App Store shortly after the release of iOS... Read more
15-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $250 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $... Read more
Clearance 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros availab...
B&H Photo has leftover 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $250 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.6GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1098... Read more
Clearance 2014 MacBook Airs on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has MacBook Airs on sale for up to $180 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 11″ 128GB MacBook Air: $789.99 110 off original MSRP - 11″ 256GB... Read more
Apple refurbished Time Capsules available for...
The Apple Store has certified refurbished Time Capsules available for $100 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each Time Capsule, and shipping is free: - 2TB Time Capsule: $199, $100... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Sr. Technical Services Consultant, *Apple*...
**Job Summary** Apple Professional Services (APS) has an opening for a senior technical position that contributes to Apple 's efforts for strategic and transactional Read more
Lead *Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail...
**Job Summary** Job Summary The Lead ASC is an Apple employee who serves as the Apple business manager and influencer in a hyper-business critical Reseller's store Read more
*Apple* Pay - Site Reliability Engineer - Ap...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.