July 9, 2007
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Unix for Macintosh Users

Tinderbox has hooks to the command line that let you do some very interesting things — building connections to outside Web sites and services, to programs and files on your computer, to email. Most people don't need this, but it's nice to have it when you do need it.

Now, lots of Mac OS X mavens are comfortable with the command line. Some live in Terminal. But, to plenty of people, the command line is a new and undiscovered country.

Back in the day, the natural starting point was Kernighan and Plauger's classic, Software Tools . This is a fine and important book, and a true classic of tech writing, but it's also 30 years old. It's not very Mac-centric, obviously.

What's the best entrée to the world of command line? Email me. and I'll pass along the recommendations.

Update: Jolyon Patten recommends Unix Power Tools by Shelley Powers, Jerry Peek, et al.

it seems to me that Mac-type people would only be delving into the command line once they know they need (or want) to do something that the easy GUI front end won't let them do, and hence they would benefit from the book's non-simplistic, but logical layout. And everything is cross-referenced so well that it's easy to string bits and pieces of a larger solution together.

...The book is also rather funny, in a rather laconic, understated way. Oddly, perhaps, I think it would be one of my Desert Island books.

Gordon Meyer recommends Dave Taylor's Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger .

I think this is the best Unix book for Mac OS X

Russ Urquhart likes Jepson and Rothman’s Mac OS X for Unix Geeks