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Chapter 19. Working with Unix > Using Unix Utilities

Using Unix Utilities

When you first start the Mac OS X Terminal application, you’re confronted with a sequence of characters known as a prompt. This prompt, generated by the Unix tcsh command interpreter running in the Terminal window, indicates that it is waiting for you to type some command. The next few sections progressively lead you through some of the most basic and popular Unix applications, showing how to accomplish a variety of common tasks using the Unix command line interface.

Using the tcsh Shell

Any computer system needs some way to let users execute commands. On graphical systems such as the Mac OS, this usually involves pointing and clicking or dragging and dropping icons. The Mac OS Finder interprets these actions and performs the appropriate action. Single-clicking an item selects it, double-clicking on an icon runs the program that is associated with that icon, and so on. On command-line-oriented systems such as Unix, executing commands and related actions are performed by programs called command interpreters. When you log in on a standard Unix system (or open a Terminal window on a Mac OS X system), the system automatically starts a command interpreter. The specific command interpreter started depends on which one was selected when your account was created. The Unix term for this type of command interpreter is a shell. The default shell for all user accounts on Mac OS X systems is /bin/tcsh (usually known simply as tcsh, which stands for the TENEX-style C-shell). TENEX is an old command-line operating system that offered sophisticated command editing and recall mechanisms that have been reimplemented in tcsh.


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