Chapter 4. Working with Files

Everything in the Mac OS X file system can be viewed as a file. This includes data files, directories, devices, named pipes, links, and other types of files. Associated with each file is a set of information that determines who can access the file and how they can access it. This chapter covers many commands for exploring and working with files.

Understanding File Types

Directories and regular files are the file types you will use most often, by far. However, you'll encounter several other types of files as you use Mac OS X. From the command line, there are many ways you can create, find, and list different types of files.

Files that provide access to the hardware components on your computer are referred to as device files. There are character and block devices. You can use hard links and soft links to make the same file accessible from different locations. Regular users will also use, though less directly, named pipes and sockets, which provide access points for processes to communicate with each other.

Using Regular Files

Regular files consist of data files (documents, music, images, archives, and so on) and commands (binaries and scripts). You can determine the type of a file using the file command. In the following example, you change to the directory containing Safari configuration ...

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