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Chapter 3. Unix Basics for Mac OS X > Terminal, the Shell, & Console

Terminal, the Shell, & Console

Mac OS X includes a utility called Terminal (Figure 2). This application is your window into the Unix world lurking deep inside Mac OS X. If you’re old enough, you may remember using big, clunky video terminals to communicate with large mainframes. Terminal mimics the operation of those CRT terminals, but it uses your computer’s screen, keyboard, and CPU instead of dumb-terminal hardware.

When you run Terminal, it connects to a communication process inside your Mac called a shell. The shell is a program that interprets human actions such as the typing of commands and the starting and stopping of jobs. It passes these requests to the computer and is responsible for sending the results of your actions to the Terminal window.


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