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

Airmail 3.3.2 - Powerful, minimal email...
Airmail is an mail client with fast performance and intuitive interaction. Support for iCloud, MS Exchange, Gmail, Google Apps, IMAP, POP3, Yahoo!, AOL, Outlook.com, Live.com. Airmail was designed... Read more
Numi 3.15.1 - Menu-bar calculator suppor...
Numi is a calculator that magically combines calculations with text, and allows you to freely share your computations. Numi combines text editor and calculator Support plain English. For example, '5... Read more
TextSoap 8.4.1 - Automate tedious text d...
TextSoap can automatically remove unwanted characters, fix up messed up carriage returns, and do pretty much anything else that we can think of to text. Save time and effort. Be more productive. Stop... Read more
TextSoap 8.4.1 - Automate tedious text d...
TextSoap can automatically remove unwanted characters, fix up messed up carriage returns, and do pretty much anything else that we can think of to text. Save time and effort. Be more productive. Stop... Read more
Backblaze 4.3.0.44 - Online backup servi...
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
Numi 3.15 - Menu-bar calculator supports...
Numi is a calculator that magically combines calculations with text, and allows you to freely share your computations. Numi combines text editor and calculator Support plain English. For example, '5... Read more
EtreCheck 3.3.3 - For troubleshooting yo...
EtreCheck is an app that displays the important details of your system configuration and allow you to copy that information to the Clipboard. It is meant to be used with Apple Support Communities to... Read more
BusyContacts 1.1.8 - 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
TunnelBear 3.0.14 - Subscription-based p...
TunnelBear is a subscription-based virtual private network (VPN) service and companion app, enabling you to browse the internet privately and securely. Features Browse privately - Secure your data... Read more
Apple Final Cut Pro X 10.3.4 - Professio...
Apple Final Cut Pro X is a professional video editing solution.Completely redesigned from the ground up, Final Cut Pro adds extraordinary speed, quality, and flexibility to every part of the post-... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

The best new games we played this week
We were quite busy this week. A bunch of big mobile games launched over the past few days, alongside a few teeny surprises. There're lots of quality games to load your phone with. We've gone and picked out five of our favorites for the week. [... | Read more »
Magikarp Jump beginner's guide
Magikarp Jump is a mystifying little game. Part Tamagotchi, part idle clicker, there's not a whole lot of video game there, per se, but for some reason we can't help coming back to it again and again. Your goal is to train up a little Magikarp to... | Read more »
Goat Simulator PAYDAY (Games)
Goat Simulator PAYDAY 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** IMPORTANT - SUPPORTED DEVICES **iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPod Touch 5 or better Goat Simulator: Payday is the most... | Read more »
GRID Autosport delayed until autumn
Sorry mobile racing fans -- GRID Autosport has been delayed a few months. The game is now expected to launch this fall on iOS. Feral Interactive announced that they wanted more time to work on the game's UI and overall performance before launching... | Read more »
Zombie Gunship Survival Beginner's...
The much anticipated Zombie Gunship Survival is here. In this latest entry in the Zombie Gunship franchise, you're tasked with supporting ground troops and protecting your base from the zombie horde. There's a lot of rich base building fun, and... | Read more »
Mordheim: Warband Skirmish (Games)
Mordheim: Warband Skirmish 1.2.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.2.2 (iTunes) Description: Explore the ruins of the City of Mordheim, clash with other scavenging warbands and collect Wyrdstone -... | Read more »
Mordheim: Warband Skirmish brings tablet...
Legendary Games has just launched Mordheim: Warband Skirmish, a new turn-based action game for iOS and Android. | Read more »
Magikarp Jump splashes onto Android worl...
If you're tired ofPokémon GObut still want something to satisfy your mobilePokémon fix,Magikarp Jumpmay just do the trick. It's out now on Android devices the world over. While it looks like a simple arcade jumper, there's quite a bit more to it... | Read more »
Purrfectly charming open-world RPG Cat Q...
Cat Quest, an expansive open-world RPG from former Koei-Tecmo developers, got a new gameplay trailer today. The video showcases the combat and exploration features of this feline-themed RPG. Cat puns abound as you travel across a large map in a... | Read more »
Jaipur: A Card Game of Duels (Games)
Jaipur: A Card Game of Duels 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** WARNING: iPad 2, iPad Mini 1 & iPhone 4S are NOT compatible. ** *** Special Launch Price for a limited... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Memorial Day savings: 13-inch Touch Bar MacBo...
B&H Photo has the 2016 Apple 13″ Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 13″ 2.9GHz/512GB... Read more
Apple refurbished 13-inch MacBook Airs availa...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/8GB/128GB MacBook Air: $... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished 11-inch MacBook Ai...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 11″ MacBook Airs (the latest models recently discontinued by Apple), available for up to $170 off original MSRP. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each... Read more
12-inch 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up...
B&H has 12″ 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1449.99 $150 off... Read more
15-inch 2.7GHz Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro o...
MacMall has the 15-inch 2.7GHz Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro (MLW82LL/A) on sale for $2569 as part of their Memorial Day sale. Shipping is free. Their price is $230 off MSRP. Read more
Free Tread Wisely Mobile App Endorsed By Fath...
Just in time for the summer driving season, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company has announced the launch of a new Tread Wisely mobile app. Designed to promote tire and vehicle safety among teens and... Read more
Commercial Notebooks And Detachable Tablets W...
Worldwide shipments of personal computing devices (PCDs), comprised of traditional PCs (a combination of desktop, notebook, and workstations) and tablets (slates and detachables), are forecast to... Read more
Best value this Memorial Day weekend: Touch B...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 15″ and 13″ MacBook Pros available for $230 to $420 off original MSRP. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 15″ 2.6GHz... Read more
13-inch MacBook Airs on sale for up to $130 o...
Overstock.com has 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for up to $130 off MSRP including free shipping: - 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (sku MMGF2LL/A): $869.99 $130 off MSRP - 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air (sku... Read more
2.8GHz Mac mini available for $973 with free...
Adorama has the 2.8GHz Mac mini available for $973, $16 off MSRP, including a free copy of Apple’s 3-Year AppleCare Protection Plan. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax in NY & NJ... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Media Products - Commerce Engineerin...
Apple Media Products - Commerce Engineering Manager Job Number: 57037480 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Apr. 18, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Read more
*Apple* Media Products - Commerce Engineerin...
Apple Media Products - Commerce Engineering Manager Job Number: 57037480 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Apr. 18, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**509643BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Location Number:** 001482- Apple Valley-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Read more
*Apple* Media Products - Commerce Engineerin...
Apple Media Products - Commerce Engineering Manager Job Number: 57037480 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Apr. 18, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.