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
$101.42
Apple Inc.
+1.31
MSFT
$46.45
Microsoft Corpora
+0.01
GOOG
$579.13
Google Inc.
+2.77

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

QuickBooks 2015 16.0.0.1352 R1 - Financi...
QuickBooks 2015 helps you manage your business easily and efficiently. Organize your finances all in one place, track money going in and out of your business, and spot areas where you can save.... Read more
Mac DVDRipper Pro 5.0.1 - 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
Apple OS X bash Update 1.0 - Fix for sec...
The OS X bash Update fixes a security flaw in the bash UNIX shell on OS X 10.9.5 (also on OS X 10.8 and 10.7 [see Related Links below]). OS X 10.9.5 or later Downloads for OS X 10.8 and OS X 10.7 in... Read more
SyncTwoFolders 2.0.5 - Syncs two user-sp...
SyncTwoFolders simply synchronizes two folders. It supports synchronization across mounted network drives and it is a possibility to run a simulation showing in a log what will be done. Please visit... Read more
FinderPop 2.5.7 - Classic Mac utility, n...
FinderPop is a Universal preference pane that extends OS X's contextual menus using a FinderPop Items folder much as the Apple Menu Items folder used to do for the Apple menu. It has other features... Read more
VueScan 9.4.45 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.2.2 - Free Open Source o...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
calibre 2.4 - Complete e-library managem...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital... Read more
Default Folder X 4.6.9b1 - Enhances Open...
Default Folder X attaches a toolbar to the right side of the Open and Save dialogs in any OS X-native application. The toolbar gives you fast access to various folders and commands. You just click... Read more
Beamer 2.0.4 - Stream any movie file fro...
Beamer streams to your Apple TV.... Plays any movie file - Just like the popular desktop movie players, Beamer accepts all common formats, codecs and resolutions. AVI, MKV, MOV, MP4, WMV, FLV. To... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Moon and Sun – children’s book Review
Moon and Sun – children’s book Review By Amy Solomon on September 30th, 2014 Our Rating: Moon and Sun is a fable-like children’s book with lush illustrations.   Developer: Marcio Monteiro Price: $3.99 Version: 1.0 App Reviewed on... | Read more »
Kairosoft Finally Brings The Pyraplex to...
Kairosoft Finally Brings The Pyraplex to iOS Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 30th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Yeti’s Parole Officer Review
Yeti’s Parole Officer Review By Jennifer Allen on September 30th, 2014 Our Rating: Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Yeti’s Parole Officer proves that looks aren’t everything in this entertaining, if plain, piece of... | Read more »
Record Keeper and World Wide Words – Two...
Record Keeper and World Wide Words – Two New Final Fantasy Games Arrive on iOS in Japan Posted by Ellis Spice on September 30th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
iPollute Review
iPollute Review By Nadia Oxford on September 30th, 2014 Our Rating: :: iPOLLUTE, uPOLLUTEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad iPollute is a delightful-looking pollution simulator, though it’s a bit light on “game” content... | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: September 22-26, 2...
Your Source For The Latest App Reviews   | Read more »
Kill Shot Review
Kill Shot Review By Jennifer Allen on September 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: OCCASIONAL MISFIRESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Kill Shot is often satisfying, but its more than pushy in-app purchases will leave you... | Read more »
It Came From Canada: Vainglory
I’m going to be straight you with folks. I don’t know much about MOBAs, and I’m certainly no professional. That means I don’t know how well Vainglory, the upcoming multiplayer online battle arena showcased in the most recent Apple keynote, compares... | Read more »
The Tunnel – An Endless Fall Review
The Tunnel – An Endless Fall Review By Nadia Oxford on September 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: FREE FALLIN' Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad The Tunnel – An Endless Fall is a bit harder to get the hang of than most “endless... | Read more »
Ubisoft Launches Just Dance Now in the A...
Ubisoft Launches Just Dance Now in the App Store Worldwide Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP, start...
Best Buy has the new 2014 MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP on their online store. Choose free home shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Prices valid for online orders only, in-... Read more
Apple Releases OS X Mavericks bash Update 1.0...
Apple has released a patch update for OS X Mavericks users to address the recently-detected “Shellshock” security bug in BSD UNIX’s bash shell. Apple says only a few Mac users who had manually... Read more
Pivotal Payments Ready for Apple Pay – FlexPo...
Pivotal Payments, a provider of merchant services and global payment processing solutions, has announced its proprietary FlexPoint platform will support credit and debit transactions through Apple’s... Read more
iStabilizer Announces Tabarm — First Friction...
iStabilizer, a specialist in universal lightweight compact tripods, steady cams, dollies, mounts, and remotes for smartphones, tablets, and cameras, announced today the iStabilizer tabArm, the first... Read more
IStabilizer Flex Smartphone Tripod Wins Usa T...
iStabilizer, a specialist in universal lightweight compact tripods, steady cams, and other products for smartphones, tablets, and cameras, has announced today that its iStabilizer Flex smartphone... Read more
13-inch 2.8GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 13″ 2.8GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1699.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. They’ll also include free copies of Parallels Desktop and LoJack for... 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 $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They’ll also include free copies of Parallels Desktop... Read more
Get Down to Business On Your iPad With Free N...
Utah based Poem LLC has introduced Nexticy 1.0, a full-featured, affordable (Free) forms application for iPad. Nexticy makes it ‘way easy’ to create, store, retrieve and analyze paper-like forms of... Read more
13-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for $100...
Best Buy has 13-inch 2.6GHz Retina MacBook Pros on sale for $100 off MSRP on their online store. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Prices are for online orders only, in-... Read more
Reports Outline Claimed 12-Inch Macbook Air D...
Blogger Jack March says that according to information he’s received from an anonymous “source familiar with Apple’s plans,” the next-generation MacBook Air will launch in mid-2015 and be available... 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
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, 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
Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.