Mac OS X Tiger in a Nutshell
A Desktop Quick Reference
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: November 2005
Pages: 528

Following the common-sense O'Reilly style, Mac OS X Tiger in a Nutshell cuts through the chaff and gives you practical details you can use every day. Everything you need to know about the Unix side of Mac OS X has been systematically documented in this book.

Mac OS X Tiger in a Nutshell offers a complete overview of Mac OS X Tiger (Version 10.4), focusing on the BSD Unix layer. This book familiarizes you with over 300 of Tiger's Unix commands, the Terminal application, file management, system and network administration issues, and more.

Completely revised for Mac OS X Tiger, this book offers:

  • The most complete and thorough coverage of Mac OS X's Unix commands you'll find anywhere (even in the system)
  • An overview of basic system and network administration features, including coverage of NetInfo and Directory Services
  • An introduction to using Mac OS X's Unix command-line interface, the Terminal application
  • An overview of Mac OS X's Unix text editors, including vi and Emacs
  • Information on shell syntax variables for Tiger's default Unix shell, bash

Each command and option in this book's Unix Command Reference has been painstakingly tested and checked against Tiger; even the manpages that ship with Mac OS X can't compete in accuracy. Mac OS X Tiger in a Nutshell is the most comprehensive quick reference on the market and is a must for any serious Mac user.

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Grab some Jolt and your favorite junk food - it's Mac/Unix geek time!

By Steve Zappe

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Mac OS X Tiger in a Nutshell:

"Mac OS X Tiger in a Nutshell" isn't your typical tome on "everything you need to know to use Mac OS X." If you're looking for an easy to read, richly illustrated book to curl up with on a rainy day with a cup of coffee, this isn't it. But if you're interested in the Unix underpinnings of Mac OS X, then grab a six pack of Jolt and your favorite junk food, because there's a heck of a lot of information packed into this book.

The authors clearly identify their target audience early on - "Unix users and Unix programmers", or generally people who are already familiar with the Unix system. Obviously, that's not your stereotypical Macintosh user from pre-OS X days (i.e., System 7 or Mac OS 9). But if you've ever spent time using other operating systems (dare I say DOS?) or are feeling adventurous and want to "peek under the hood", then you'll also benefit from the wealth of information presented in this book.

"Tiger in a Nutshell" is organized into three major parts. Part I, "Commands and Shells", introduces the basic concepts of networking and system administration. After providing a four page quick reference to Unix commands by topic (terrific for beginners), fully one half of the remainder of the book is a comprehensive alphabetical Unix command reference, which the authors claim is the most complete and thorough reference available anywhere (even on the system itself). They've borrowed heavily from other O'Reilly Nutshell books to compile this list, and this compilation alone is worth the price of the book. They also cover the Terminal, which is the gateway between the Aqua graphical user interface (GUI) and what they call the "no-nonsense command-line interface" of Darwin. After briefly providing an overview of different flavors of shells, the authors then describe bash, the default user shell for Mac OS X Tiger.

Part II, "Text and Text Processing", describes the tools used to work with text files, including text editing programs like vi and Emacs, and pattern matching commands like grep and the metacharacters used in search and replacement patterns. There are separate chapters that go into the details for both the vi and Emacs editors. By the way, just a little obscure history about the vi editor... although "vi" (pronounced "vee-eye") is derived from the shortest unambiguous abbreviation of "visual", I remember learning it back in the 90's as an acronym for a less flattering term: "virtually impossible". That gives you an idea how spoiled we've become with text editors that don't require memorizing arcane commands - remember, that's why you'd buy this book, right?

Finally, Part III, "Managing Mac OS X", offers chapters on managing Mac OS X Tiger with full knowledge (gained from reading the preceding 400 pages) about the Unix underpinnings of the operating system. Here's where you'll be able to finally understand the file system, directory services, how to run network services, using X Windows (also known as X11) as an alternate GUI to Apple's Aqua interface, and learn about the defaults database, used to store preferences for individual applications.

This book obviously isn't for the casual or newbie Mac user, but provides an excellent reference for the Unix geek learning to use the Mac, and the Mac geek wanting to learn more about the incredible power of Unix that is just waiting to be unleashed. As long as you're in the target audience, I have no qualms recommending this book for you!

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