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Chapter 19. Working with Unix > Unix and Macs: A Match Made in Heaven?

Unix and Macs: A Match Made in Heaven?

Unix was designed to maximize the ability of multiple users to use a single machine at the same time. The Macintosh system was originally designed to enable a single user to run multiple programs. The basic principles of managing multiple users and multiple processes are the same—needed are a flexible number of processes that run at the same time and that can provide and manage protections associated with whatever resources they need. At the operating system levels, those processes need to allocate, share, and deallocate system memory, access the processor, access peripherals including disk storage and so on. At the user level, those processes need to able to determine whether the user can access specified files, directory, and peripherals, execute specific programs, create, edit, and delete file data, and so on. Chapter 6, “What’s under The Hood?” introduced the Darwin kernel that makes up the core of Mac OS X and provided an overview of how Mac OS X is organized. In this section, I’ll use Unix as a generic term to mean the combination of the Darwin kernel and all of the Unix and BSD utilities that together form the Mac OS X Unix environment. The focus of Chapter 6 was to help you understand the hierarchy of operating system layers, system services, and interfaces that are combined in Mac OS X. As discussed there, Unix provides the fundamental support for multi-processing and multi-tasking, protected memory, and inherent security used by the Mac Aqua interface and its Quartz graphic subsystem. This section provides additional insights into how Unix works (and how you can work with Unix) to maximize your productivity on a Mac OS X system.

The Philosophy of Unix: Small, Specialized Utilities

Unix is an operating system with a well-known philosophy. Anyone who has ever done substantial work on Unix understands how things are supposed to work. This has helped guarantee its conceptual consistency despite the large number of people, universities, and corporations that have sold, distributed, enhanced, or implemented their own versions of Unix.


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