• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

Chapter 1. Mac OS X Survival Guide > Tips for Windows and Unix Converts

1.2. Tips for Windows and Unix Converts

This section is intended as a quick reference guide for people who are coming to Mac OS X from a non-Mac platform (i.e., Windows and other Unix systems). We've tried to point out some key differences between your old platform and Mac OS X to help you acclimate yourself with the Mac that now sits before you.

  • The Mac user interface has only one menu bar—at the top of the screen—instead of one on each window. The menu bar's contents change depending on which application is currently active. The name of the application that's currently active appears in bold text next to the Apple menu.

  • The Apple menu, located at the far left of the menu bar, is roughly analogous to the Windows Start menu (although it doesn't list common utility programs).

  • The basic GUI control program, akin to the Windows Explorer or the Window Manager in Windows, is called the Finder. Clicking on its icon in the Dock (the blue smiley-face icon) brings up a Finder window, not the desktop as you might expect.

  • To find what Mac OS X applications you have on your system, click on the Applications icon in the Finder's toolbar.

  • To find out which Mac OS 9 applications you have on your system, click on Finder Computer Mac OS 9.2.2 Applications (Mac OS 9).

  • The Command key ( ) provides many of the functions that you are used to having associated with the Control key. For example, use -C to copy, not Control-C; -S to save, not Control-S, etc. In the Terminal application, however, the Control key will perform the expected functions.

  • At first, you will sorely miss your two- or three-button mouse. You can emulate right-button functions by holding down the Control key when clicking, or you probably can still use your two-button mouse if it's USB. Mac OS X supports multibutton mice, mapping the Control key to the right mouse button.

  • The Dock is analogous to the Windows Task Bar. It is initially populated with some frequently accessed applications, such as the Finder, System Preferences, and Sherlock (the Mac file search application). You can drag any program icon onto the Dock to create a shortcut to it accessible at all times.

  • System Preferences is analogous to the Windows Control Panel. The System Preferences application can be launched by clicking on its icon in the Dock (the one that looks like a light switch with a gray apple next to it).

  • Printer setup and queue control is handled by the Print Center application (/Applications/Utilities). You may want to drag it onto the Dock or place its icon in the Finder toolbar for easy access.

  • Each user has his own desktop, which is stored in /Users/username/Desktop. By default, many documents (such as files downloaded from the Web or saved attachments) are stored in /Users/username/Documents. Files stored in the Desktop folder will appear on the desktop when you log in.

  • The Unix command line (the tcsh shell) is available via the Terminal application (/Applications/Utilities). If you plan to work frequently from the command line, you should add the Terminal application's icon to the Dock by dragging its icon there.

  • For Unix users and administrators, you'll quickly find out that some of your admin commands are missing or that useful options aren't there. For example, the commands for managing users and groups don't exist; for that, you need to use the GUI tools and/or NetInfo Manager (/Applications/Utilities).

  • To find out which Unix applications and utilities are available, you can poke around in /usr/bin, /usr/local/bin, /usr/sbin, /usr/share, and /usr/libexec.

  • By default, the root user (or superuser) isn't activated. If you are the only user on your system, chances are you will have administrator privileges for using the sudo command. See Section 2.7.3 later in this book for details on how to activate the root user.

  • While Mac OS X is Unix-based, it doesn't come with the X Window System. Don't fret, though. You can download and install a rootless version of X, but first you should download and install Fink (http://fink.sourceforge.net), which you can use to download and automatically install BSD Unix applications.



Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint