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Mac OS X Leopard Phrasebook by Brian Tiemann

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Chapter 7. Ownership and Permissions

The history of Unix is a history of multiuser computing. Unix, from day one, was a “time-sharing” operating system, designed to allow multiple users to access the system simultaneously, run programs concurrently, and be safe from other users on the same computer prying into their data. Although earlier versions of Mac OS were single user (just as Windows was), as befitted the modest needs of desktop computing at the time, Mac OS X is a fully functional Unix and inherits the ownership and permissions system that made multiuser operation such an integral part of Unix in all its variations over the years.

Most Mac systems are used only by a single person, and so ownership and permissions seldom come into play. ...

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