Command line for Mac users

Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger

I noticed an set of tutorials to teach the basics of the command line on MacDevCenter (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4).

Many of longtime mac users may find this as a nice gentle introduction to the the command line in Mac OS X.

Skimming the articles I noticed that O’Reilly is promoting Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger which I only mention because it has the cutest book cover.1 Rawr!

I can’t comment on this book since I haven’t seen it. I do have a vivid memory of reading the first edition of O’Reilly’s Learning Unix book back in college. I distinctly remember thinking to myself, “Gee O’Reilly can publish a book that sucks.” From its Amazon rating, I guess later editions have corrected that.2 But I never recovered from the disillusionment suffered by that book.

1 This year O’Reilly has finally started using cats on the Mac OS X books. They used to use dogs. What was up with that?
2 Then again, Amazon customers gave the Koala book 4 out of 5 stars and I am 100% sure that book sucks. C’mon, single pixel struts in tables to create whitespace is an “Advanced Topic”? Maybe in 1995 when Netscape was in beta.

2 thoughts on “Command line for Mac users

  1. I would give O’Reilly another chance. I personally always look at the O’Reilly book first when I am looking for a topic. The Emacs book, for example, is always kept close to hand.

    They also ‘maintain’ their books like a responsible software project, providing updates, corrections and regular new editions. They publish books on really obscure stuff that no-one else does. If you want to read an extreme amount of technical books then you can subscribe to their online thing that lets you read all their books,

    Of course with all book publishers, some of the books will be great and others will be ducks. Sounds like you happened to find a duck! This is where the library comes in useful so you can read it before you buy.

    Having said all that, some of the best computing books I have read recently have been ones that you download for free, I still print them out though, which is not any cheaper than buying them, plus you have to holepunch all the pages.

    Printed books are still easier on the eyes for larger works, but this may change with some kind of device that is easier to read than a monitor, e.g. digital ink or whatever.

    Best Wishes,
    (Command Line Warriors)

  2. Zeth,

    Thanks for the comment, it appears I wrote my article with a misssing assumption. What I forgot to mention was that when I was an underclassman in college, I thought all O’Reilly books were great: the X Windows books, Unix in a Nutshell, the camel/llama book, the vi and emacs books, etc. Caltech used to keep nearly the entire safari in the Sun workstation lab (that was back when you could put the entire Safari in a single bookshelf).

    On the day I read the Learning Unix book (1st edition), O’Reilly became fallible.

    I noticed that the worst O’Reilly Safari books are the introductory/basic texts. Therefore I have trepidation of recommending an introduction to Unix for Mac OS X users, sight-unseen. I have no such trepidation recommending the Mac OS X for Unix Geeks book (having read the first edition). It is a great text if you know Unix programming/administration and want to know how the Mac OS X behaves differently.

    When I reread my article I make it sound like I dislike all O’Reilly books because two of them were particularly bad and yet get high ratings on Amazon.

    Sorry I wasn’t clear.

    Take care,

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