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Mac OS X for Unix Geeks (Leopard) Paperback – Sep 25 2008
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It's about time: Mac OS X for Unix Geeks arrives on the scene none too soon for UNIX aficionados who, having heard that the latest editions of Mac OS are based on a UNIX variant, want to see how the platform compares to more venerable versions of the eminently configurable operating system. This book highlights some key differences between the Darwin environment and more conventional UNIXs, enabling people with UNIX experience to take advantage of it as they learn the Mac OS X way of doing things at the command line.
This skinny volume neither aims to teach its readers UNIX nor introduce them to the Mac, but rather to show how Apple has implemented UNIX. It's a fast read that assumes--as the title implies--rather a lot of UNIX knowledge. With that requirement satisfied and this book in hand, you're likely to discover aspects of Aqua more quickly than you otherwise would have.
The authors spend lots of time explaining how administrative tasks--such as managing groups, users, and passwords--are handled in the Mac OS environment. They document netinfo fully, and call attention to its limitations (like its inability to create home directories for users) by explaining how to do the job on the command line. They also cover C programming in the Darwin universe at greater length than any other book does, providing explicit instructions for such important tasks as creating header files and linking static libraries. A guide to the command line (they call the reference section--groan--"The Missing Manpages") provides good value at this book's conclusion. --David Wall
Topics covered: How to get around in Darwin, the UNIX implementation built into Mac OS X. Sections deal with basic maneuvering at the command line, LDAP services, C programming, and graphical user interfaces under Aqua. There's a short section on building the kernel itself, but it's limited in scope. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Vital starting point for UNIX power-users new to Mac OS X." Computer Shopper, July (5 stars) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
If you are a geek, (and you know it if you are) then you understand that vi isn't necessarily the Roman number for six, perl isn't a misspelling of a precious jewel, and X11 isn't a top-secret military reconnaissance plane. Indeed, it's been suggested that "real geeks speak Unix." Of course that's an overly narrow view, but there's no denying that the server and development landscape has been radically changed by Line, freebased, and the many *nix offshoots that have begun to mature and come into their own.
As with all O'Reilly publications, Mac OS X for Unix Geeks is authored by true experts in the topic, in this case, Unix geeks. In addition it has a complete index and helpful appendixes. But the content itself is fairly inclusive of all the basic tools and services with which Unix developers will be familiar. Apple wouldn't be Apple if it didn't 'think different-ly' and such is the case with Mac OS X. The file structures are just consistent enough but with significant variances to throw an old Unix geek into fits of frustration, and cause the newcomer to become befuddled rather quickly. Whether mainly managing services, building structures, or seeking information about Darwin and advanced compiling techniques, Brian and Ernest have excellent advice and pointers for you to consider.Read more ›
All and all, this was a good, if technical, book. Perfect for anybody who is interested in porting Unix software to Mac OS X, as well as the Unix admin who wants to get the most out of the new environment. However, unlike the title maintains, you don't have to be a Unix geek to get something worthwhile from the reading - though you may consider yourself one after carefully going through this book.
My only complaint is that the book leaves you wanting more information in some areas. Thankfully, it is always quick to point you to other O'Reilly titles that fill in the gaps.
The upcoming OS X in a Nutshell from O'Reilly looks more useful, even for Unix geeks, then this book.
Happily, Jepson and Rothman have addressed the *nix community switchers without being preachy about OS X. The book, as others have mentioned, does have some holes in its coverage. Also, some assumptions (due to the publishing schedule) were made about OS X 10.2 Jaguar that simply turned out to be false (e.g., StartUpItems scripts would shut down daemons) once 10.2 was actually released. The authors have posted some errata and clarifications to the first edition at the O'Reilly website.
Another shortcoming of this first edition is the shoddy copy editing/proofing in regard to the tables and diagrams. There are numerous instances where the tables and diagrams are wrong or outright missing.
Like many other O'Reilly titles, this book is not intended to be the definitive compendium, but rather a quick introduction to *nix developers who are trying to find their bearings in a mostly recognizable, but occasionally idiosyncratic neighborhood. It is not a system administration guide; O'Reilly's UNIX sysadmin book (by Frisch) is a far better one.
While this book may not unveil any new *nix secrets, it will accelerate familiarity with your new OS X surroundings. Assuming you value your time above minimum wage, the price of this book is negligible compared to the time it will save you figuring things out by yourself or perusing scattered websites.
The book is small, but very versatile. It is a carefully compiled text, which is big enough to dissect all aspects of the superb OS. Every information that the user of the Operating System would need is beautifully summarized in this portable book. The manner with which it correlates 'Mac OS X' with the more traditional 'Unix' environment deserves commendation. It is a fine handout that most 'Unix' geeks would love. A trial will definitely convince you!
Most recent customer reviews
This is a very slight book, with only slightly useful information. There is way too much time teaching supposed "Unix Geeks" what a shell is, rather than just saying,... Read morePublished on Sept. 7 2003 by Thomas Andrews
Don't buy this book. Must of the info is in the net. Much better if you get the MAC OS X Hacks by Dornfest (O'Reilly also)Published on April 12 2003 by Jose L. Rivera
I also agree I felt really cheated. There are a ton of topics regarding OSX from a Unix users's perspective I'd like to see covered and this book had about 5% of them. Read morePublished on April 7 2003 by Jeffrey Bolden
This book gives an old command-line hack like me a great start to getting a feel for Darwin/OS X. Lots of good nitty-gritty information, and pointers to where to find more.Published on Feb. 19 2003 by Monkey Monkey
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