TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Book Review: Mac OS X Tiger for Unix Geeks

Volume Number: 22 (2006)
Issue Number: 3
Column Tag: Review

Book Review: Mac OS X Tiger for Unix Geeks

by Mary Norbury-Glaser

Mac OS X Tiger for Unix Geeks, published by O'Reilly, is a book for Unix sysadmins and developers who are interested in discovering Mac OS X's underlying Unix roots. The authors, Brian Jepson and Ernest E. Rothman, assume the reader has a solid familiarity with Unix fundamentals.


The book is divided into four instructional parts (Getting Around, Building Applications, Working With Packages, and Serving and System Management) and a final section devoted to two appendicxes (Mac OS X GUI Primer and Mac OS X's Unix Development Tools).

Part I is an introduction to Unix on Mac OS X in ten chapters and is so extensive that it constitutes half the book. Chapter 1 introduces differences between the Terminal app and xterm and xterm-like applications specific to systems running X Windows, how to customize the terminal, and working with files and directories. Chapter 2 covers Spotlight and searching metadata from the command line using mdfind. The next chapter deals with file transfer issues that arise from moving data between different file systems. This is a particularly helpful section on understanding the consequences of transferring large numbers of files between foreign operating systems. The authors also list directories in tabular format: /, /etc, /System/Library, /Library, /var, and /dev.

There are some distinct startup differences between traditional Unix systems and Mac OS X Tiger, detailed in and the boot process is detailed in Chapter 4. In fact, there are changes between Tiger and pre-Tiger systems and this chapter presents an outline of the differences and consequences very nicely. A logical consequence of this discussion is how to add startup items and schedule tasks and the authors illustrate this with a very useful MySQL startup script.

Chapter 5, Directory Services, gives a brief overview of understanding and configuring Open Directory, and Mac OS X's version of Directory Services. There is a very helpful section on working with passwords and the authors demonstrate four NetInfo/Directory Services utilities: dscl, nireport, nidump, and niload.

Printing through both the GUI and through the included Unix tools (CUPS and Gimp-Print) is the topic of Chapter 6. This chapter is well stocked with screenshots and is a quick read.

Chapter 7 goes over Apple's X11 implementation of the X Window System: installing, running full-screen or rootless, customizing preferences, connecting to other X Window systems using ssh with X11 forwarding, using osx2x to share a keyboard and mouse between systems, and how to use vnc.

The topic in of Chapter 8 is multimedia and discusses burning CDs, using the open source MPlayer for audio/video playback, the Gimp for image editing, and Blender for 3D modeling.

In the next chapter, the authors include third-party tools and applications: virtual desktop implementations, ssh GUI frontends, and open source typesetting, mathematical and statistical apps (TeX and R), and office suites (OpenOffice and NeoOffice/J). The information on TeX and R is particularly well documented, due no doubt due to Dr. Rothman's scholarly pursuits. Part I ends with a chapter on dual booting various flavors of Linux (Yellow Dog, Gentoo, Ubuntu, etc.) with Mac OS X, using emulators (VirtualPC) as well as running Mac OS X on x386 machines using PearPC.

Part II, Building Applications, is for those developers and Unix/Linux power users who are comfortable with compiling and linking source code. There are plenty of subtle differences between the Unix and Mac OS X compilers, and the authors provide ample instruction on how to work with Apple's version of the GCC (GNU Compiler Collection). The authors provide a complete discussion of compiling source on Mac OS X and include frameworks, architectural issues (AltiVec, 64-bit computing and endianness), building X11-based apps, AquaTerm, and Xgrid. They go into further depth by showing how to link header files (ordinary and precompiled) and libraries in Mac OS X. There are very good examples of building a shared library that contain C functions and dynamically loading libraries.

Part III covers software packages options: Fink, DarwinPorts and creating and installing your own packages. There are step-by-step details on how to install, setup and use both Fink (and FinkCommander) and DarwinPorts, and using Apple's PackageMaker tools.

Using Mac OS X as a server (secure mail, ssh, Apache web, using built-in services through the sharing pref pane, and using the Mac OS X firewall), system management and configuration tools (top, sc_usage, vm_stat, sysctl, nvram, scutil, and third-party apps like Cocktail, MacJanitor and TinkerTool), free databases (SQLite, MySQL, and PostgreSQL), and some Perl and Python extras that are included in Mac OS X are discussed in Part IV.

In Part V, the Appendicxes, cover a basic overview of the Mac OS X GUI and includes a reference to a selection of Mac OS X's Unix development tools. The latter describes the similarities and differences between development tools available on standard Unix systems and Mac OS X Tiger. Also iIncluded are brief descriptions of Xcode tools (CpMac, MvMac, Res), Java (jar, jdb), text editing and processing (awk, join, sed, vim), scripting and shell programming (echo, perl, xargs), file manipulation and sorting (cat, chmod, diff, rmdir), and other miscellaneous tools (apropos, passwd, su and sudo).

Jepson and Rothman have compiled an excellent book for Unix users who want to come up to speed on Mac OS X quickly and efficiently. Mac OS X Tiger for Unix Geeks includes all the basic information that experienced Unix users will need to become comfortable with the Mac platform. The authors cover a wide variety of practical scenarios where Unix sysadmins and developers can put their newfound knowledge to use. If you're comfortable with Unix and want a companion volume to help you unlock Mac OS X's Unix roots, Mac OS X Tiger for Unix Geeks is the book for you.

    Brian Jepson & Ernest E. Rothman

    415 pages

    O'Reilly

    ISBN: 0596009127

    US $34.95


Mary Norbury is the 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

Little Snitch 3.5.3 - 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
Cocktail 8.4 - 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
PDFKey Pro 4.3 - Edit and print password...
PDFKey Pro can unlock PDF documents protected for printing and copying when you've forgotten your password. It can now also protect your PDF files with a password to prevent unauthorized access and/... Read more
Kodi 15.0.beta1 - Powerful media center...
Kodi (was XBMC) is an award-winning free and open-source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub that can be installed on Linux, OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android, featuring a 10-foot user... Read more
DiskCatalogMaker 6.4.12 - Catalog your d...
DiskCatalogMaker is a simple disk management tool which catalogs disks. Simple, light-weight, and fast. Finder-like intuitive look and feel. Super-fast search algorithm. Can compress catalog data... Read more
Macs Fan Control 1.3.0.0 - Monitor and c...
Macs Fan Control allows you to monitor and control almost any aspect of your computer's fans, with support for controlling fan speed, temperature sensors pane, menu-bar icon, and autostart with... Read more
Lyn 1.5.11 - Lightweight image browser a...
Lyn is a lightweight and fast image browser and viewer designed for photographers, graphic artists and Web designers. Featuring an extremely versatile and aesthetically pleasing interface, it... Read more
NeoOffice 2014.11 - Mac-tailored, OpenOf...
NeoOffice is a complete office suite for OS X. With NeoOffice, users can view, edit, and save OpenOffice documents, PDF files, and most Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. NeoOffice 3.x... Read more
LaunchBar 6.4 - Powerful file/URL/email...
LaunchBar is an award-winning productivity utility that offers an amazingly intuitive and efficient way to search and access any kind of information stored on your computer or on the Web. It provides... Read more
Remotix 3.1.4 - Access all your computer...
Remotix is a fast and powerful application to easily access multiple Macs (and PCs) from your own Mac. Features Complete Apple Screen Sharing support - including Mac OS X login, clipboard... Read more

Crossy Road Devs Hipster Whale are Bring...
Hipster Whale, the minds behind the rather popular (and rather great) Crossy Road, have teamed-up with Bandai Namco to create PAC-MAN 256: an absolutely bonkers looking maze runner chaser thing. | Read more »
Meet the New Spotify Music
Spotify Music  has a lot going on. They're introducing 3 new modes to serve all your musical needs, with the "Now" start page  gives you curated playlists based on your particular tastes. As you listen the app will learn more about your tastes and... | Read more »
What the Apple Watch Gets Right, and Wha...
| Read more »
Celebrate PAC-MAN's 35th Birthday W...
BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America is celebrating PAC-MAN's 35th anniversary by releasing updates for PAC-MAN and PAC-MAN Lite for iOS. [Read more] | Read more »
Strike Wing Episode 2 has Landed on the...
Strike Wing: Raptor Rising is an exciting space combat simulator by Crescent Moon Games, which was recently updated to continue the story with Episode 2. [Read more] | Read more »
Kiqplan Expands its Interactive Coaching...
The makers of Fitbug have been hard at work on their Kiqplan lineup, and have added four new summer themed plans to help you get the most out of your workout. [Read more] | Read more »
Make a Photobook in Minutes with Pictyea...
What happens when you can't stop taking photos and have an urge to create a photobook? Pictyear saves the day. [Read more] | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: May 18-22, 2015
May Days at 148Apps How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the... | Read more »
Biz Builder Delux (Games)
Biz Builder Delux 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Ah, there's nothing like the rhythmic bustle of a burgeoning business burg... especially when you're the one building it... | Read more »
Auroch Digital is Bringing Back Games Wo...
| Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

What Would the ideal Apple Productivity Platf...
For the past four years I’ve kept a foot in both the Mac and iPad camps respectively. my daily computing hours divided about 50/50 between the two devices with remarkable consistency. However, there’... Read more
New 13-inch 2.9GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.9GHz/512GB Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1699.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this model from... Read more
12-inch MacBook stock status for Monday, May...
The new 12″ Retina MacBooks are still on backorder at The Apple Store with a 3-5 week waiting period. However, a few models are in stock today at Apple resellers. Stock is limited, so act now if you’... Read more
New 27-inch 3.3GHz 5K iMac in stock with free...
Adorama has the new 27″ 3.3GHz 5K iMac in stock today for $1999 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Adorama will include a free copy of Apple’s 3-year AppleCare Protection Plan. Read more
Memorial Day Weekend Sale: New 27-inch 3.3GHz...
Best Buy has the new 27″ 3.3GHz 5K iMac on sale for $1899.99 this weekend. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for online orders only, in-store prices may vary... Read more
OtterBox Maximizes Portability, Productivity...
From the kitchen recipe book to the boarsroom presentation, the OtterBox Agility Tablet System turns tablets into one of the most versatile pieces of handheld technology available. Available now, the... Read more
Launch of New Car App Gallery and Open Develo...
Automatic, a company on a mission to bring the power of the Internet into every car, has announced the launch of the Automatic App Gallery, an app store for nearly every car or truck on the road... Read more
Memorial Day Weekend Sale: 13-inch 1.6GHz Mac...
Best Buy has the new 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $849 on their online store this weekend. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for online orders... Read more
Memorial Day Weekend Sale: 27-inch 3.5GHz 5K...
Best Buy has the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2099.99 this weekend. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for online orders only, in-store prices may vary.... Read more
Sale! 16GB iPad mini 3 for $349, save $50
B&H Photo has the 16GB iPad mini 3 WiFi on sale for $349 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model. Read more

Jobs Board

Architect / Senior Software Engineer, *Apple...
Changing the world is all in a day039s work at Apple . If you love innovation, here039s your chance to make a career of it. You039ll work hard. But the job comes with Read more
*Apple* Pay Support Readiness Project Manage...
Changing the world is all in a day039s work at Apple . If you love innovation, here039s your chance to make a career of it. You039ll work hard. But the job comes with Read more
Hardware Design Validation Engineer - *Apple...
**Job Summary** The Apple Watch team is looking for a Hardware Design Validation Engineer. This person will be part of the Apple Watch hardware team with Read more
Sr. Payment Program Manager, *Apple* Pay -...
**Job Summary** Apple Pay is an exciting environment and a…devices in a simple, private and secure way. The Apple Pay Team is looking for an experienced Senior 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.