In 2001, Apple released Mac OS X (that's pronounced "mac oh ess ten"), building their next-generation operating system on the power of a Unix-like environment. Apple's famed "lickable" GUI is built on top of the open source Darwin, including the BSD source tree. Although many users may never realize it (and Apple's mainstream marketing has never made too much of it), when you're running Mac OS X, you're running a powerful Unix-like system.
The beauty of Mac OS X, besides its obvious visual beauty, is that it's turning out to be the way to get a real Unix system onto the desktops of the business world. IT departments around the world are finding that Mac OS X is an alternative to Microsoft Windows that can be used by anyone, not just Nick Burns, The Company Computer Guy. Mac OS X integrates effortlessly with Microsoft networks through the Samba package. Users familiar with Microsoft Office have a Mac version available to them. Most major software packages such as Adobe's Creative Suite (consisting of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, etc.), QuarkXPress, and Maya have versions for Mac OS X. Internet packages, whether web browsers, email clients, or instant messaging clients are especially well represented on Mac OS X.
It's for those who want to get at the Unix underpinnings of Mac OS X that this book is designed. Previous editions of Mac OS X in a Nutshell have been thick with chapters on System Preference panels, running Classic, and using the Finder and the Desktop. There are many more appropriate titles for this type of information, such as the Missing Manual series (O'Reilly/Pogue Press) or the Mac OS X Tiger Pocket Guide (O'Reilly). With Mac OS X Tiger in a Nutshell, we've come back to the Unix roots, more closely aligning with our ancestors, Unix in a Nutshell and Linux in a Nutshell.
The path to Unix on Mac OS X starts with the Terminal application . In Chapter 3, you'll find details on what for Unix fans is the most used application on their system. Even if you've been using Terminal for years, take a look to see what tidbits of configurability you might have missed.
Once in the Terminal, your login shell is your interface to your system. Chapter 4 gives a crash course in the basics of shell interaction and compares bash , the default shell for Mac OS X Tiger, with tcsh, the shell for the earliest versions of Mac OS X. Although both shells have much the same functionality, there can be big differences between how they approach different tasks. You should be familiar with these differences.
It's not surprising that bash is the default shell under Mac OS X. The bash shell has become a standard in the industry with its inclusion on almost every Linux distribution. It's also arguably the best shell available in terms of features, customization, and programming constructs. Chapter 5 provides a quick reference to bash's inner powerful features. For a gentle introduction, and details on writing bash-specific shell scripts, see Learning the bash Shell (O'Reilly). For an introduction to shell scripting, see Classic Shell Scripting (O'Reilly).
If bash isn't to your liking, Tiger provides all the major shells, so you can choose what's best for you. In addition to bash and tcsh, you also get the Z shell, zsh , and the Korn shell, ksh . For details on tcsh, see Using csh & tcsh (O'Reilly), and for ksh, Learning the Korn Shell (O'Reilly). Details on zsh can be found at http://www.zsh.org.
When you're writing text, you're probably going to use vi or Emacs. Chapters 7 and 8 cover these two Unix stalwarts, including the latest information on versions that take advantage of Tiger's Aqua interface.
Section III of this book is about managing your Mac OS X system. For many, including this author, the jump to Mac OS X from a Unix background can be disorienting, with plenty of pondering "Where did the boys in Cupertino decide to put that?" The seasoned Unix user would do well to read Chapters 9 and 10 before installing new files or creating a user by editing /etc/passwd.
The chapter you'll refer to most often is Chapter 2. In compiling this command reference, we've updated over 100 commands, added a dozen, and dropped outdated entries. If you're reading this book on paper, keep a highlighter handy whenever you turn here.
Tiger's biggest leap forward is the powerful Spotlight indexing service. Spotlight constantly indexes and monitors your system for documents, and adds them to a local document database. It's like Google for your hard drive, with extensible plug-ins that software vendors can provide. Even though it's most often seen in the upper-right corner of the screen, Tiger provides command-line programs to interface with Spotlight. See the mdfind command in Chapter 2.