This book is organized for ease of use in different situations. For example, you can read it from cover to cover to learn about the UNIX aspects of Mac OS X from the ground up. Alternatively, once you are comfortable using OS X, you can use this book as a reference: Look up a topic of interest in the table of contents or index and read about it. Or, refer to one of the utilities covered in Part VI, "Command Reference." You can also think of this book as a catalog of Mac OS X topics: Flip through the pages until a topic catches your eye. If you are familiar with UNIX or a UNIX-like operating system such as Linux, refer to Appendix C, "Mac OS X for UNIX Users," which lists some of the differences between Mac OS X and traditional UNIX systems. The book also includes many pointers to Web sites where you can get additional information: Consider the Web to be an extension of this book.
A Practical Guide to UNIX® for Mac OS® X Users offers these features:
Optional sections allow you to read the book at different levels, returning to more difficult material when you are ready to tackle it.
Caution boxes highlight procedures that can easily go wrong, giving you guidance before you run into trouble.
Tip boxes highlight situations in which you can save time by doing something differently or when it may be useful or just interesting to have additional information.
Security boxes point out ways that you can make a system more secure.
The supporting Web site at www.sobell.com includes corrections to the book, downloadable examples from the book, pointers to useful Web sites, and answers to even-numbered exercises.
Important command line utilities that were developed by Apple specifically for Mac OS X are covered in detail, including GetFileInfo, SetFile, nidump, otool, launchctl, diskutil, and plutil.
Descriptions of Mac OS X extended attributes include file forks, file attributes, attribute flags, and Access Control Lists (ACLs).
The relationships between GUI tools and their CLI counterparts are discussed in depth.
Information that will help you set up servers includes sections on property lists, the launchd superserver, and DHCP.
A section on NetInfo discusses the NetInfo database and ways to work with it.
Concepts are illustrated by practical examples found throughout the book.
Many useful URLs (Internet addresses) identify Web sites where you can obtain software and information.
Chapter Summaries review the important points covered in each chapter.
Review exercises at the end of each chapter allow readers to hone their skills. Answers to even-numbered exercises are available at www.sobell.com.
Important GNU tools, including gcc, gdb, GNU Configure and Build System, make, gzip, and many others, are described in detail.
Pointers throughout the book provide help in obtaining online documentation from many sources, including the local system and the Internet.