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.

 
AAPL
$96.13
Apple Inc.
+0.53
MSFT
$42.86
Microsoft Corpora
-0.30
GOOG
$566.07
Google Inc.
-5.53

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Data Rescue 3.2.4 - Recover lost data on...
Data Rescue is a robust and reliable hard-drive recovery solution for your Mac. Recover lost or deleted files, mount corrupted drives, and more -- Data Rescue offers complete relief from crippling... Read more
Adobe Lightroom 5.6 - Import, develop, a...
Adobe Lightroom software helps you bring out the best in your photographs, whether you're perfecting one image, searching for ten, processing hundreds, or organizing thousands. Create incredible... Read more
OneNote 15.2 - Free digital notebook fro...
OneNote is your very own digital notebook. With OneNote, you can capture that flash of genius, that moment of inspiration, or that list of errands that’s too important to forget. Whether you’re at... Read more
iStat Menus 4.22 - Monitor your system r...
iStat Menus lets you monitor your system right from the menubar. Included are 8 menu extras that let you monitor every aspect of your system. Some features: CPU -- Monitor cpu usage. 7 display... Read more
Ember 1.8 - Versatile digital scrapbook....
Ember (formerly LittleSnapper) is your digital scrapbook of things that inspire you: websites, photos, apps or other things. Just drag in images that you want to keep, organize them into relevant... Read more
OmniPlan 2.3.6 - Robust project manageme...
With OmniPlan, you can create logical, manageable project plans with Gantt charts, schedules, summaries, milestones, and critical paths. Break down the tasks needed to make your project a success,... Read more
Command-C 1.1.1 - Clipboard sharing tool...
Command-C is a revolutionary app which makes easy to share your clipboard between iOS and OS X using your local WiFi network, even if the app is not currently opened. Copy anything (text, pictures,... Read more
Knock 1.1.7 - Unlock your Mac by knockin...
Knock is a faster, safer way to sign in. You keep your iPhone with you all the time. Now you can use it as a password. You never have to open the app -- just knock on your phone twice, even when it's... Read more
Mellel 3.3.6 - Powerful word processor w...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical writing and multilingual... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.0.4 - 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

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Bio Inc. is $0.99 for the Weekend, Recei...
Bio Inc. is $0.99 for the Weekend, Receives Small Update Posted by Ellis Spice on August 1st, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Happy 7th Birthday Readdle! Thank You fo...
Happy 7th Birthday Readdle! | Read more »
Sharknado: The Video Game Review
Sharknado: The Video Game Review By Lee Hamlet on August 1st, 2014 Our Rating: :: SHARKNA-DON'TUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Sharknado: The Video Game brings the craziness of the movies to iOS, though it quickly... | Read more »
Clima (Weather)
Clima 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Weather Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Clima show you all weather information, just beautifully simple. A series of color bars can tell you at a glance exactly current... | Read more »
Sticky Soccer Review
Sticky Soccer Review By Andrew Fisher on August 1st, 2014 Our Rating: :: STICK THIS GAMEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Sticky Soccer puts too much emphasis on the ‘sticky’ and not enough on the ‘Soccer’ or ‘Fun’.   | Read more »
Graphics-less Apocalyptic Adventure A Da...
Graphics-less Apocalyptic Adventure A Dark Room Goes Free for a Limited Time Posted by Rob Rich on August 1st, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Fraud Tycoon Review
Fraud Tycoon Review By Rob Thomas on August 1st, 2014 Our Rating: :: UNHEALTHY CREDITUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fraud Tycoon is a half-baked, messy, promotional tie-in that does their sponsor no favors whatsoever... | Read more »
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal W...
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon is on Sale for the Weekend Posted by Rob Rich on August 1st, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Mister Beam Review
Mister Beam Review By Jordan Minor on August 1st, 2014 Our Rating: :: ILLUMINATINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Mister Beam’s puzzles are great. But its platforming? Not so much.   | Read more »
Hook Some More Fun With MapHook’s New Up...
Hook Some More Fun With MapHook’s New Update Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 1st, 2014 [ permalink ] iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSR...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 13″ MacBook Airs on sale $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They also include free copies of Parallels Desktop and LoJack for... Read more
16GB iPad Air on sale for $399, save $100
Best Buy is offering the 16GB WiFi iPad Air for $399.99 on their online store for a limited time. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Choose free shipping or free store pickup (if available). Price is for... Read more
All Over For Tablets Or Just A Maturing, Evol...
CNN’s David Goldman weighs in on tablet sector doom and gloom, asking rhetorically: “Is this the beginning of the end for the tablet?” Answering that, he contends that hysteria and panic are... Read more
Letterspace 1.0.1 – New Free iOS Text Editor...
Bangkok, Thailand based independent developer Sittipon Simasanti has released Letterspace, a new text editor for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. Letterspace is a note taking app with an... Read more
Save up to $130 on an iPad mini with Apple re...
The Apple Store has Certified Refurbished 2nd generation iPad minis with Retina Displays available for up to $130 off the cost of new models, starting at $339. Apple’s one-year warranty is included... Read more
iPad Cannibalization Threat “Overblown”
Seeking Alpha’s Kevin Greenhalgh observes that while many commentators think Apple’s forthcoming 5.5-inch panel iPhone 6 will cannibalize iPad sales, in his estimation, these concerns are being... Read more
Primate Labs Releases July 2014 MacBook Pro P...
Primate Labs’ John Poole has posted Geekbench 3 results for most of the new MacBook Pro models that Apple released on Tuesday. Poole observes that overall performance improvements for the new MacBook... Read more
Apple Re-Releases Bugfixed MacBook Air EFI Fi...
Apple has posted a bugfixed version EFI Firmware Update 2.9 a for MacBook Air (Mid 2011) models. The update addresses an issue where systems may take longer to wake from sleep than expected, and... Read more
Save $50 on the 2.5GHz Mac mini, plus free sh...
B&H Photo has the 2.5GHz Mac mini on sale for $549.99 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software. NY sales tax only. Read more
Save up to $140 on an iPad Air with Apple ref...
Apple is offering Certified Refurbished iPad Airs for up to $140 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Stock tends to come and go with some of these... Read more

Jobs Board

Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** The Apple Store is a retail environment like no other - uniquely focused on delivering amazing customer experiences. As an Expert, you introduce people Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** At the Apple Store, you connect business professionals and entrepreneurs with the tools they need in order to put Apple solutions to work in their Read more
*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. Product Leader, *Apple* Store Apps - 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
Sr Software Lead Engineer, *Apple* Online S...
Sr Software Lead Engineer, Apple Online Store Publishing Systems Keywords: Company: Apple Job Code: E3PCAK8MgYYkw Location (City or ZIP): Santa Clara Status: Full Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.