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Hour 20. UNIX Command Line Tour > Terminal: The Window to the Underworld

Terminal: The Window to the Underworld

If you’ve been using Mac OS X for a while now, you might be wondering what all this command-line talk is about—after all, you certainly haven’t needed to type a command on your system, nor have any of your applications required you to access a command prompt. That’s precisely what Apple intended when creating Mac OS X.

Beneath the veneer of Aqua lies the powerful BSD (Berkley Software Distribution) version of the UNIX platform. This layer sits behind many of the tasks you perform on your machine and coordinates the actions that make using your Macintosh possible. At the same time, it provides a wealth of opportunities of its own, such as the capability to write scripts and access thousands of existing command-line tools that, despite their lack of a GUI interface, can prove to be very productive members of your Mac OS X software library.


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