REVIEW: "Mac OS X in a Nutshell", Jason McIntosh/Chuck Toporek/Chris Stone
- BKMOSXNS.RVW 20040415
"Mac OS X in a Nutshell", Jason McIntosh/Chuck Toporek/Chris Stone,
2003, 0-596-00370-6, U$34.95/C$54.95/UK#24.95
%A Jason McIntosh
%A Chuck Toporek
%A Chris Stone
%C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
%I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
%O U$34.95/C$54.95/UK#24.95 800-998-9938 nuts@...
%P 801 p.
%T "Mac OS X in a Nutshell"
The preface, on behalf of the reader, asks why there should be a need
for this Nutshell series book, when a "Missing Manual" (another
O'Reilly series) Mac OS X title exists. It concludes that the
Nutshell books are for the power users who are "curious about what
happens under the hood." The preface goes on to promise that this
work is terse and without excessive verbiage. Overall, this
commitment to consision is met, but the "under the hood" material
seems to be missing. This volume is a good index in terms of where to
look for a given operation, but gives little explanation of the
underlying technology or functions that the power user could utilise.
"Terse" should not just mean a command to "do this," without any
Part one is a general introduction. Chapter one presents the usual
list of desktop GUI (Graphical User Interface) basics. File and
application management with the Finder is covered in chapter two. The
differences between Mac OS X, OS 9, and Classic are presented in
chapter three. Chapter four is an index to functions and settings.
Part two deals with system configuration. System preferences are
outlined in chapter five. Chapter six has a listing and brief
description of many applications and utilities shipped with the
operating system. Dialogue boxes related to net connections are
discussed in chapter seven, but there is little additional
information. Printer control, in chapter eight, is reviewed with
slightly more data. Chapter nine lists some file systems, and
presents a few UNIX file system concepts, but is very disappointing in
its lack of detail. Superficial coverage of Java related settings in
Internet Explorer and MRJAppBuilder makes up chapter ten.
Part three reviews system and network administration. Chapter eleven
lists miscellaneous administrative tasks such as running commands with
root privileges, mounting disks, and (oddly) the firewall. The
explanation of network directory services and NetInfo, in chapter
twelve, clarifies some items that were confusing in chapter eleven: a
forward reference would have been helpful. Chapter thirteen talks
about starting Web, email, and other servers, and fourteen discusses
installing parts of Darwin, Apache, MySQL, PHP, Perl, and Python (all
under the acronym DAMP).
Scripting and development, in part four, has a catalogue of
development tools (in chapter fifteen), a brief description of
AppleScript (sixteen), text editors and command lists for vi and emacs
(seventeen), and a CVS (Concurrent Versions System) command reference
Part five is, ostensibly, the long promised look under the Mac OS X
hood. Chapter nineteen reviews terminal preferences, twenty takes a
brief look at patterns and regular expressions (regex), twenty one
lists some tcsh shell commands and operators, twenty two discusses
settings in property list (plist) files, twenty three deals with some
aspects of starting X, twenty four has an extremely terse mention of
installing UNIX software, and twenty five is a UNIX command reference.
Yes, this section does give a bit of background in UNIX, the operating
system underlying OS X, but the look is fleeting, and the hood is
slammed shut without much useful information being imparted.
While this book is a serviceable guide for the general MAC OS X user,
coming from the usually superior Nutshell series it is a
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2004 BKMOSXNS.RVW 20040415
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