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.

 
AAPL
$524.94
Apple Inc.
+5.93
MSFT
$40.01
Microsoft Corpora
-0.39
GOOG
$536.10
Google Inc.
-20.44

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

VMware Fusion 6.0.3 - Run Windows apps a...
VMware Fusion allows you to create a Virtual Machine on your Mac and run Windows (including Windows 8.1) and Windows software on your Mac. Run your favorite Windows applications alongside Mac... Read more
Tweetbot 1.5.1 - Popular iOS twitter cli...
Tweetbot is a full-featured OS X Twitter client with a lot of personality. Whether it's the meticulously-crafted interface, sounds and animation, or features like multiple timelines and column views... Read more
Mac DVDRipper Pro 4.1.7 - Copy, backup,...
Mac DVDRipper Pro is the DVD backup solution that lets you protect your DVDs from scratches, save your batteries by reading your movies from your hard disk, manage your collection with just a few... Read more
PDFpenPro 6.2 - Advanced PDF toolkit for...
PDFpenPro allows users to edit PDF's easily. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Even correct text and edit graphics! Create... Read more
PDFpen 6.2 - Edit and annotate PDFs with...
PDFpen allows users to easily edit PDF's. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Even correct text and edit graphics! Features... Read more
Monolingual 1.5.9 - 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. It requires a 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac and at least... Read more
Maya 2015 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty 1.1.1.180...
Download the patch by launching the Starcraft II game and downloading it through the Battle.net connection within the app. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty is a strategy game played in real-time. You... Read more
Sibelius 7.5.0 - Music notation solution...
Sibelius is the world's best-selling music notation software for Mac. It is as intuitive to use as a pen, yet so powerful that it does most things in less than the blink of an eye. The demo includes... Read more
Typinator 5.9 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Have a Special Dead Trigger 2 Easter Bas...
Have a Special Dead Trigger 2 Easter Basket Full of Goodies, Courtesy of Madfinger Games Posted by Rob Rich on April 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] Dead Trigger 2 | Read more »
Almost All of Playdek’s Library is on Sa...
Almost All of Playdek’s Library is on Sale Right Now, and You Should Check it Out Posted by Rob Rich on April 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] Playdek has released quite a few great iOS ports of board and card games over the years, and now most of them... | Read more »
Zynga Launches Brand New Farmville Exper...
Zynga Launches Brand New Farmville Experience with Farmville 2: Country Escape Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
David. Review
David. Review By Cata Modorcea on April 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: MINIMALISTIC IN A DIFFERENT WAYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad David is a minimalistic game wrapped inside of a soothing atmosphere in which the hero... | Read more »
Eyefi Unveils New Eyefi Cloud Service Th...
Eyefi Unveils New Eyefi Cloud Service That Allows Users to Share Media Across Personal Devices Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Tales from the Dragon Mountain: The Lair...
Tales from the Dragon Mountain: The Lair Review By Jennifer Allen on April 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: STEADY ADVENTURINGiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Treading a safe path, Tales from the Dragon Mountain: The Lair is a... | Read more »
Yahoo Updates Flickr App with Advanced E...
Yahoo Updates Flickr App with Advanced Editing Features and More Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
My Incredible Body - A Kid's App to...
My Incredible Body - A Kid's App to Learn about the Human Body 1.1.00 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.1.00 (iTunes) Description: Wouldn’t it be cool to look inside yourself and see what was going on... | Read more »
Trials Frontier Review
Trials Frontier Review By Carter Dotson on April 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: A ROUGH LANDINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Trials Frontier finally brings the famed stunt racing franchise to mobile, but how much does its... | Read more »
Evernote Business Notebook by Moleskin I...
Evernote Business Notebook by Moleskin Introduced – Support Available in Evernote for iOS Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Free HopTo 2.2 Helps Enhance Your Productivit...
The HopTo app helps you do more on your iPad by providing more and easier adaccess to files and documents. Version 2.2 adds Egnyte and HopTo’s Mac OSX File Connector. If you already have the hopTo... Read more
National Distracted Driving Awareness Month:...
As the country recognizes National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Sprint is reminding wireless consumers to focus on driving while behind the wheel, to not text or email while driving, and to... Read more
13-inch 2.4GHz Retina MacBook Pro available f...
Abt has the 13″ 2.4GHz 128GB Retina MacBook Pro available for $1229 including free shipping. Their price is $70 off MSRP. Read more
iMacs on sale for up to $160 off MSRP this we...
Best Buy has iMacs on sale for up to $160 off MSRP for a limited time. Choose free home shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Prices are valid for online orders only, in-store... Read more
iPad Airs on sale this weekend for up to $100...
Best Buy has WiFi iPad Airs on sale for $50 off MSRP and WiFi + Cellular iPad Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP on their online store for a limited time, with prices now starting at $449. Choose free... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished Mac minis starting...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished Mac minis for up to $150 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 2.5GHz Mac... Read more
Hyundai Brings Apple CarPlay To The 2015 Sona...
Hyundai Motor America has announced it will bring Apple CarPlay functionality to the 2015 Sonata. CarPlay is pitched as a smarter, safer and easier way to use iPhone in the car and gives iPhone users... Read more
Updated iPads Coming Sooner Than We Had Thoug...
MacRumors, cites KGI securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo, well-respected as an Apple product prognisticator, saying that Apple will introduce an upgraded iPad Air and iPad mini in 2014/Q3, meaning the... Read more
Toshiba Unveils New High And Low End Laptop M...
Toshiba has announced new laptop models covering both the high-end and low-end of the notebook computer spectrum. Toshiba 4K Ultra HD Laptop Toshiba’s new Satellite P55t features one of the world’s... Read more
Save up to $270 with Apple refurbished 13-inc...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished October 2013 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available starting at $1099, with models up to $270 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Automotive Parts Department position...
Apple Automotive is one of the fastest growing dealer…and it shows. Consider making the switch to the Apple Automotive Group today! At Apple Automotive, we Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Retail - Manager - Holyoke - Apple I...
Job Summary Keeping an Apple Store thriving requires a diverse set of leadership skills, and as a Manager, you’re a master of them all. In the store’s fast-paced, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Manager - Apple (United Sta...
Job SummaryKeeping an Apple Store thriving requires a diverse set of leadership skills, and as a Manager, you're a master of them all. In the store's fast-paced, dynamic Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.