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

Google Drive 1.20 - File backup and shar...
Google Drive is a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff. Whether you're working with a friend on a joint research project, planning a wedding with your fiancé, or... Read more
Simon 4.0.3 - Monitor changes and crashe...
Simon monitors websites and alerts you of crashes and changes. Select pages to monitor, choose your alert options, and customize your settings. Simon does the rest. Keep a watchful eye on your... Read more
Vitamin-R 2.23 - Personal productivity t...
Vitamin-R creates the optimal conditions for your brain to work at its best by structuring your work into short bursts of distraction-free, highly focused activity alternating with opportunities for... Read more
iDefrag 5.0.0 - Disk defragmentation and...
iDefrag helps defragment and optimize your disk for improved performance. Features include: Supports HFS and HFS+ (Mac OS Extended). Supports case sensitive and journaled filesystems. Supports... Read more
PCalc 4.2 - Full-featured scientific cal...
PCalc is a full-featured, scriptable scientific calculator with support for hexadecimal, octal, and binary calculations, as well as an RPN mode, programmable functions, and an extensive set of unit... Read more
FileZilla 3.10.2 - Fast and reliable FTP...
FileZilla (ported from Windows) is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface. Version 3.10.2: Note: Now requires a 64-bit Intel processor.... Read more
The Hit List 1.1.11 - Advanced reminder...
The Hit List manages the daily chaos of your modern life. It's easy to learn - it's as easy as making lists. And it's powerful enough to let you plan, then forget, then act when the time is right.... Read more
Bartender 1.2.32 - Organize your menu ba...
Bartender lets you organize your menu bar apps. Features: Lets you tidy your menu bar apps how you want. See your menu bar apps when you want. Hide the apps you need to run, but do not need to... Read more
ClamXav 2.7.5 - Free virus checker, base...
ClamXav is a free virus checker for OS X. It uses the tried, tested, and very popular ClamAV open source antivirus engine as a back end. I hope you like and use ClamXav a lot and that it helps keep... Read more
xScope 4.1.2 - Onscreen graphic measurem...
xScope is powerful set of tools that are ideal for measuring, inspecting, and testing on-screen graphics and layouts. Its tools float above your desktop windows and can be accessed via a toolbar,... Read more

Dungeon Hunter 5 Coming on March 12
Gameloft has excitedly announced that Dungeon Hunter 5 is on its way! Once again, you will adventure across the land of Valenthia exploring dungeons and fighting monsters. The game will have a new asynchronous multiplayer mode called Strongholds... | Read more »
It Came From Canada: Jurojin: Immortal N...
At this point it’s pretty safe to say that no MOBA is going to dethrone Dota 2 and League of Legends anytime soon. After all, if Batman can’t do it, nobody can. However, with a genre as popular and profitable as this one, there’s still room for... | Read more »
Tiny Farm – Animals, Tractors and Advent...
Tiny Farm – Animals, Tractors and Adventures! Review By Amy Solomon on March 3rd, 2015 Our Rating: :: LIVELY LANDSCAPESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Tiny Farm – Animals, Tractors and Adventures! includes farm-related... | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: February 23-27, 20...
Final February Fun 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... | Read more »
GDC 2015 – Does Not Commute is Definitel...
GDC 2015 – Does Not Commute is Definitely a Game You Should Keep an Eye on Posted by Rob Rich on March 2nd, 2015 [ permalink ] We were teased about Mediocre Games’ (Smash Hit, | Read more »
F84 Games & POW! Announce Stan Lee V...
F84 Games has announced that it is working with legendary comic creator Stan Lee and POW! Entertainment to produce Stan Lee’s Hero Command. The game will be a action adventure of heroic proportions. | Read more »
Setlyst Keeps Your Set Straight So You C...
Setlyst Keeps Your Set Straight So You Can Focus On Rocking Out. Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 2nd, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Space is Vast, So Space Agency Has a Vas...
Space is Vast, So Space Agency Has a Vast New Update! Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 2nd, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Size DOES Matter Review
Size DOES Matter Review By Campbell Bird on March 2nd, 2015 Our Rating: :: HARD TO BEATUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad This rhythm game has a unique control scheme and performance system that make it feel like a true... | Read more »
The first ever action 3D card battler Al...
On the other hand, you probably haven’t played an action 3D card battler – until now. Step forward, All Star Legion. All Star Legion is a 3D QTE-based action RPG card battler, but fear not – the game itself isn’t as convoluted as its description.... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Another Tranche Of IBM MobileFirst For iOS Ap...
IBM has announced the next expansion phase for  its IBM MobileFirst for iOS portfolio, with a troika of new apps to address key priorities for the Banking and Financial Services, Airline and Retail... Read more
Sale! 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros for up to $...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $250 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $... Read more
WaterField Designs Introduces the Minimalist...
With Apple Pay gaining popularity, Android Pay coming in May 2015, and loyalty cards and receipts that can be accessed from smartphones, San Francisco’s WaterField Designs observes that it may be... Read more
Sale! 15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro for $...
 Best Buy has the 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1774.99 $1799.99, or $225 off MSRP. Choose free home shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Price valid for online orders... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (refurbished) avai...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros available for $170 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.5GHz... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $100 o...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
27-inch 3.5GHz 5K iMac in stock today and on...
 B&H Photo has the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac in stock today and on sale for $2299 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for... Read more
Apple Launches Free Web-Based Pages and Other...
Apple’s new Web-only access to iWork productivity apps is a free level of iCloud service available to anyone, including people who don’t own or use Apple devices. The service includes access to Apple... Read more
Survey Reveals Solid State Disk (SSD) Technol...
In a recent SSD technology use survey, Kroll Ontrack, a firm specializing in data recovery, found that while nearly 90 percent of respondents leverage the performance and reliability benefits of SSD... Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
The Apple Store is offering Apple Certified Refurbished Mac Pros for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
*Apple* Pay Automation Engineer - iOS System...
**Job Summary** At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring passion and dedication to your job Read more
Sr. Technical Services Consultant, *Apple*...
**Job Summary** Apple Professional Services (APS) has an opening for a senior technical position that contributes to Apple 's efforts for strategic and transactional Read more
Event Director, *Apple* Retail Marketing -...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global engagement strategy and team. Delivering an overarching brand Read more
*Apple* Pay - Site Reliability Engineer - 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
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.