[OS X TeX] Lost in Mac space

cfrees at imapmail.org cfrees at imapmail.org
Sat Dec 13 20:22:28 CET 2008

On Sat 13th Dec, 2008 at 18:29, Maarten Sneep seems to have written:

> On 13 dec 2008, at 18:18, Alain Schremmer wrote:
>> Just googled "Unix for OS X" and immediately found "Mac OS X For Unix 
>> Geeks, 4th Edition" exactly the dual of what I need. OK, will try harder 
>> later on.
> Not the book I'd recommend: it assumes you know how to use Unix, and then 
> teaches the specifics of Unix utilities on Mac OS X.
> On the Ars Technica forums, I produced this list with comments.
> I'd stick with an O'Reilly book. They are generally good for this type of 
> instruction.
> "Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Leopard Edition" -- This is aimed 
> at switchers, I doubt it has anything about the terminal in it.
> "Mac OS X Leopard: The Missing Manual" -- Although aimed at “Mac users of all 
> technical levels and experience”, I still doubt it deals with the terminal.
> "Mac OS X For Unix Geeks, Fourth Edition" -- Although it promises a “complete 
> tour of Mac OS X's Unix shell for Leopard and Tiger”, it assumes quite a lot 
> of prior knowledge and experience with the terminal. Don't have it, would not 
> recommend to the OP (whatever he means with “learning the terminal”).
> "bash Cookbook" -- This teaches you the bash shell. Some may not like bash 
> (they like to “bash” it, and hopefully prefer the Korn shell over it – kill 
> csh), it is the default shell, and essential in many ways to the operation of 
> a Unix system. Might be useful, although not the best starter book.
> "Mac OS X Tiger in a Nutshell" -- Although still referring to Tiger, I think 
> this is a great introduction. Previous editions used the tcsh, as it was the 
> default back then, but the BSD layer of Tiger is not too different from 
> Leopard that it becomes unusable. I have an older edition, and like the 
> introduction + reference style combination of it. I can imagine that if you 
> you have no previous experience with a shell, this might be less useful. It 
> includes an introduction for interactive use.
> "Classic Shell Scripting" -- This teaches shell scripting to a rather 
> advanced level. Starting from zero, the learning curve might be steep, but it 
> is easy to read, and gets you to a level that is certainly above average. 
> Includes some focus on security as well - although there are better 
> references for that. Notice that this is scripting, not interactive use, 
> although the distinction is blurry. Have it, like it, not sure I recommend it 
> to OP.
> "Learning the bash Shell, Third Edition" -- Good introduction to the bash 
> shell, including interactive use and scripting. Don’t have it, would probably 
> recommend to OP.
> "Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger" -- The abstract almost read as if it was 
> written for the OP, but it deals with Tiger. It seems limited to the Mac OS X 
> specific parts accesible from the terminal. Recommended with care.

It isn't limited in that way. (At least the earlier edition I used to
use was not so limited.) There's also a generic unix version, I think,
which I may have used first because no OS X specific edition was
available. Anyway, I would definitely recommend this to the OP having
used an earlier edition myself. It goes through all the basics at what
is a good pace for a beginner, I think.

If you are worried about destroying things, do this:
1. create a new user account w/o admin privileges;
2. login to this account to practise Terminal commands and reserve the
account for this use (note: you cannot use sudo in this case or do
useful installation tasks but you can feel your way around).
You would have to try very hard and know a good deal to harm anything
using this method as it protects not only the system directories but
also your usual home directory - so you cannot accidentally delete the
book you're working on, for example.

Of course, you should be backed-up anyway for all kinds of other

- cfr

> Original thread with more comments and books over here:
> http://episteme.arstechnica.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/8300945231/m/862009175931?r=890009475931
> Maarten

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