Unix can be used as it was originally designed: on typewriter-like terminals, from a prompt on a command line. Most versions of Unix also work with window systems (or GUIs). These allow each user to have a single screen with multiple windows ”including "terminal" windows that act like the original Unix interface.
Mac OS X includes a simple terminal application for accessing the command-line level of the system. That application, reasonably enough, is called Terminal and can be found in the Applications Utilities folder. The Terminal application will be examined more closely in Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.
Although you can certainly use your Mac quite efficiently without typing text at a shell prompt, we'll spend all our time in this book on that traditional command-line interface to Unix. Why?
We aren't saying that the command-line interface is right for every situation. For instance, using the Web ”with its graphics and links ”is usually easier with a GUI web browser within Mac OS X. But the command line is the fundamental way to use Unix. Understanding it will let you work on any Unix system, with or without windows. A great resource for general Mac OS X information (the GUI you're probably used to) can be found in Mac OS X: The Missing Manual by David Pogue (Pogue Press/O'Reilly).