Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger

by Dave Taylor. 260 pp. O’Reilly, 2005. $19.95.

Does the thought of dipping into OS 10.4 Tiger’s Unix underpinnings leave you tempted, but slightly terrified? Reach for Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger, a refreshingly understandable yet surprisingly thorough guide to using Unix in Tiger. The book is the perfect guide for Mac users who are confident in the graphic user interface (the Finder and applications), and are ready to take on the power and flexibility of the Unix command line.

Author Dave Taylor poses the question “Why would any sane person want to type in a bunch of funny looking Unix commands when you can just use the mouse?” The answer? Power and control. The text-based tools of Unix, which are accessed primarily through the Terminal application, allow you make batch changes, locate hidden files, and find out all sorts of things about how your Mac is functioning - and that’s only scratching the surface.

The key to using Unix is to understand its syntax. Taylor explains the logic behind Unix commands in plain, non-geek-speak English, then digs into customizing your Terminal environment, working with the Mac OS X filesystem, managing and finding files and information, changing input and output, multitasking, using Unix online, working with the X11 environment, open source and finally, where to go to learn more about Unix.

Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger is amply illustrated with script examples and screen shots, and is nicely designed for easy reference. Very highly recommended.

– Elsa Travisano

Copyright ©2005 by Elsa Travisano. This review appeared in the October 2005 issue of Newsbreak, the newsletter of MUG ONE - Macintosh User Group of Oneonta, NY.