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Chapter 9. Accessing the BSD Subsystem > Getting Started with the Command Line

Getting Started with the Command Line

If you're not familiar with Unix, you've probably heard and read enough to have developed any number of preconceptions regarding what using it will be like. Almost all of them are probably at least a bit intimidating. You've probably heard that Unix commands are cryptic and that the learning curve is steep. Even worse, it uses a command-line interface—you've actually got to type at the thing to tell it what to do, and we all know how archaic that mode of controlling a machine is.

It might be archaic, but that does not mean that there's anything wrong with it or that it's not the best way to accomplish certain tasks. We know—many of you poked fun at that other operating system for years because its unfortunate users had to type to make it work. Don't worry; we've laughed, too. You're just going to have to be courageous and admit that you've used the keyboard in the Mac OS Finder to do things such as jump a Finder window to a file with a particular name. The mouse is a wonderful tool for doing things where the brain's visual processing machinery can come into play. The keyboard is also a powerful tool for other types of interaction, and it would be silly to intentionally restrict yourself to only one type of interface when other complementary interfaces are available. In many ways, what Apple has given you is analogous to being provided with a high-end sports car, and a fully equipped machine shop and garage to work on it. If buzzing around in the fancy car is your pleasure, you are free to do so without ever opening the hood. On the other hand, if you feel like working on the engine, all the tools are there to enable you to further customize and enhance your ride to your heart's content.


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