Conversion: Unix for Mac OS Users

Apple has provided a graphical user interface (GUI)-based operating system for its users since the introduction of the Macintosh computer in 1984. While much has changed under the hood between 1984 and today, the current version of the Macintosh operating system, Mac OS X, provides the user with a GUI interface that is quite elegant and powerful, while retaining a friendly almost childlike simplicity on the outside. Underneath the candy-coated interface, however, is a completely different engine. While a proprietary engine powered previous iterations of the Macintosh operating system, Mac OS X is powered by Unix.

This chapter aims to discuss the changes to the operating system with two different audiences: long-time Macintosh users who are getting started with Mac OS X/Unix as well as Mac OS X users who are interested in other Unix systems. This chapter uses Mac OS X as its reference Unix platform, as it is most likely that Macintosh users who are still using classic versions of the operating system will soon upgrade their systems to Mac OS X, either on their current computers or certainly when purchasing new equipment. Additionally, the information in this chapter will prove useful to long-time Unix users who are interested in working with Mac OS X.

A Very Brief History of Mac OS X

The Macintosh operating system was due for a serious overhaul by the end of the 1990s. Apple had attempted to create a new version of the Macintosh operating system ...

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