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inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #26 of 61: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 15 Apr 03 16:04
    
What a cool project that is!
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #27 of 61: oh me oh my, love that country pie (lava) Tue 15 Apr 03 18:03
    

Hey matisse, sorry I'm a bit late to the discussion, but major kudos for
a useful reference and idea book, right up there with the best of 'em and
sure to become a standard suggested for my OS/X-using friends.

That said, I'm amazed you had 10 days for each chapter. Wow!

You asked for comments on:
    ... the synergies between the Mac's graphical interface and the
        flexible, powerful, stable core of Unix.

I've never considered myself a UNIX geek. I learn what I need to learn to
get the job done, and then some, but it ain't my life, IYKWIM. I fell into
the opportunity to do system administration for a big company, and I enjoy
it. Pretty soon I'll be taking classes in AIX, thanks to work
requirements.

For me, the UNIX layer of OS/X opens a world of opportunities to explore on
my own system, rather than using work systems (or even The WELL) for such
exploration. I can run my mac apps and become a UNIX weenie at the same
time. Perhaps I'll get the two sides to interact, but personally that's not
my main goal or interest. It's about the power of UNIX available in
addition to my trusty mac, and I get a stable environment in the Mac
interface as a bonus.

Thanks again for writing this. 
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #28 of 61: J Matisse Enzer (matisse) Wed 16 Apr 03 12:04
    
Thanks Jeff.
Do you know of non-Unix using Mac people who have decided to check out thios
"unix stuff"?
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #29 of 61: Michael C. Berch (mcb) Wed 16 Apr 03 19:58
    
I think there was just sort of a disconnect at first among Mac users.
Many, perhaps most, didn't really internalize what it meant that the
brand new MacOS X was based on UNIX.  To them, it was just something
new (and perhaps a pain the the ass) from Apple -- if they new
anything about UNIX, perhaps they associated it with web servers or
with older models of workstations like Suns and SGIs.  It's been a 
lot of work (and fun) evangelizing.  

Another group of somewhat more technical people made the (unwarranted)
assumption that even if there was a UNIX base, it would be
inaccessible to users, as is the case on some special-purpose
networking hardware and consumer appliances (e.g., TiVo). 

I think it must have been exciting for a lot of those people to see
MacOS X up close and log in and get a real shell and all that. 

What do think people have on their wishlists for how the UNIX side of
MacOS might be improved? And what's on your wishlist?  I know that for me,
one thing would be better integration of system admin tools (like the
startup stuff membtioned above), and for Apple to make sure that every
single shell-level command shipped with MacOS X have a man page! 
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #30 of 61: J Matisse Enzer (matisse) Thu 17 Apr 03 07:42
    
I certainly agree about the man pages - and Apple has actually asked the
public for help with that.

Your mention of the system startup items brings up something that i find over
and over again with OS X - we start talking about the "Unix side" of OS X, and
immeadiatly get into how to make the Graphical User Interface have more
control over the Unix layer.

I think the main thig that traditioal Mac users want from the Unix side is to
not have to learn it! They want a nice, real Mac interface for all that stuff.

And you know what, they are gradually getting it. More and more tools are
coming out for the GUI that use the Unix layer. I've already mentioned
"Transmit", and then there is "Brickhouse" which offers a more detailed
ability to control the Unix firewall software compared to the tool built in to
the Systems Preferences "Sharing" tool.

Readers should be aware of "webmin" which offers a nice graphical interface
(via your web browser) of a huge number of Unix system administration tools.
Webmin is written entirely in Perl (so you can examine the code easily) and is
available for many different Unix flavors including OS X/Darwin.
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #31 of 61: &manbeast.hooved (satyr) Sat 19 Apr 03 09:19
    
The Cocoa API makes it a snap to wrap a graphical layer around preexisting
software written in C, provided you have the source code.  Even relatively 
inexperienced programmers can manage to use the provided tools to craft a
usable interface.
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #32 of 61: oh me oh my, love that country pie (lava) Sat 19 Apr 03 20:29
    

 Do you know of non-Unix using Mac people who have decided to check out
 this "unix stuff"?

Well most of my friends are UNIX users, but I plan to give a copy of your
book to a buddy in San Diego who can probably put it to good use, as a non-
UNIX guy.

I agree with mcb that the UNIX aspect of OS/X almost seems like a utility,
rather than the foundation of the OS. It's kind of funny that as WIndoze
moves away from the DOS foundation, Macintosh embraces UNIX as *its*
foundation. Brilliant!

Gotta go track down webmin.

(sorry for taking so long to answer...work's been unusually consuming this
week).
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #33 of 61: &manbeast.hooved (satyr) Sun 20 Apr 03 09:46
    
Are there any unix shell programs that emulate the DOS command line
interface?  ;-)
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #34 of 61: J Matisse Enzer (matisse) Sun 20 Apr 03 15:51
    
There is DOSEMU - http://www.dosemu.org/
but I think it only works on Intel 80x86 processors.
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #35 of 61: Michael C. Berch (mcb) Sun 20 Apr 03 16:11
    
Just wanted to thank Matisse for hanging out here all week and
fielding questions -- it was a fun interview.  And though the featured
status of this topic is technically over, we are lucky to have Matisse
on the Well full time, so I'm hoping he will look in here from time to
time too, and you can find both of us all over the Mac conference.
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #36 of 61: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) Sun 20 Apr 03 19:16
    
I'm glad Matisse is around and I'm glad there's a BSD that unlies Mac, it
gives me faith in Apples future.
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #37 of 61: Reporting 'accounting irregularities' (thansen) Sun 20 Apr 03 23:07
    

  I am real late for this but I also want to thank Matisse for this book.  
It appeared at a good time for me.  I am in the process of buying my first
Mac after almost 20 years with PCs in CP/M, various dos, OS/2, and Windows
flavors. I have become increasingly annoyed by the Windows structure AND 
by the fact that I increasingly have no idea what the machine is doing 
technically.  The UNIX aspect of OSX kind of pushed me over the edge. I 
can get an OS and GUI that I (mostly) like better than Windows AND an 
opportunity to get to a command line where I am still quite comfortable 
feeling I can CONTROL the machine. 

  I decided that it was worth saving a few hunderd $ to buy my Mac through
work which has resulted in time and paperwork so I don't HAVE it yet. But
I have been reading chapters of UNIX for MAC OSX anyway and liking it a
lot.  Everything is falling into place.  I can hardly wait to get a hand
on my hardware and actually try things.

 Thanks.  
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #38 of 61: J Matisse Enzer (matisse) Mon 21 Apr 03 07:14
    
You're welcome!
It's interesting how the Unix aspect of OS X has become a common reason for
people to switch. (wolfy) here on the WELL switched for that reason, as well
as a several others. Having a real Unix machine with a sweet graphical
interface on top really appleals to a lot of technical people.
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #39 of 61: Michael C. Berch (mcb) Thu 24 Apr 03 18:34
    
Well, the hosts have kindly pointed out that we have a few more days
of featurehood here, so in closing, I'd ask if you (Matisse or anyone
else) had any final questions or comments, and for you, Matisse,
what's your next project? 
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #40 of 61: David Gans (tnf) Thu 24 Apr 03 19:20
    
NNo reason to end the discussion when the next interview begins.
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #41 of 61: J Matisse Enzer (matisse) Thu 24 Apr 03 19:23
    
A big current interest of mine is the Mozilla/XPFE approach to building
applications. XPFE is "Cross-Platform Front End" and is the collection of
technologies used to build the web browser "Mozilla" among other applications.

The XPFE approach essentially uses the the same kind of technologies you would
use to build a complex web site but uses them to build real applications. XPFE
uses a language called XUL that is similar to HTML (eXtensible User-interface
Language), Cascading Style Sheets, and JavaScript. The resukt is applications
that can be developed by teams of people dividing up the work into
user-interface, graphic design, and features.

(http://www.mozilla.org/ for the browser, http://mozdev.org/ for the
application developmenrt information.)
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #42 of 61: Sean Harding (sharding) Thu 24 Apr 03 22:11
    
Going back to a theme mentioned in #29 and #30 in this topic, I think there
is an interesting balance that Apple needs to strike. They absolutely must
keep MacOS easy to use, unintimidating and visually attractive. These have
been core strengths of the Macintosh from the beginning. However, I think
that they could also benefit from getting more users to play with the 
Unix stuff. I've repeatedly amazed my girlfriend by solving some seemingly
intractable problem by opening a shell window and doing a string of commands
or an ad hoc shell script. The command line is intimidating to people
unfamiliar with it, but I think that the power it offers is appealing to
almost all computer users. It would be great to see developments that would
encourage more "average Joe" users to learn some basics of the Unix stuff
without scaring people away from the platform by making them think that
command line knowledge is a prerequisite to be a user. 

I suppose this is somewhat analogous to the more advanced features in
a program like Excel. The average users just know how to plug numbers
into the cells and they may not even know how to enter a formula. Most
of the people I know view the advanced features of Excel as so scary
that they'll never consider touching them. But almost anyone who uses
Excel on a semi-regular basis would benefit from learning the basics
of those features. Microsoft has not done a good job of making the
features approachable and convincing users that they should know about
them. Of course, it doesn't really matter to Microsoft -- they have
almost all of the spreadsheet marketshare anyway. I think it could
make a real difference for Apple to get more people using the "power
user" Unix features.

It's really the same problem that has existed in computing since the
beginning: giving users power while keeping it easy to use. I think,
perhaps, that the difference here is that the power and ease of use
are already present in the system. But either they're not presented
clearly enough or the integration isn't strong enough to get over the
barrier of intimidation for people.

I don't have good suggestions on how to fix this problem. If I could solve 
it, I'd start my own software company and maybe put both Jobs and Gates
out of work (right). 
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #43 of 61: J Matisse Enzer (matisse) Fri 25 Apr 03 07:14
    
Well, my book is one small part of the solution.
People who are curious about the command line stuff can read the first couple
of chapters and decide if they want to go further.

Another useful solution that I hope will emerge is something like a list of
the "Top Ten Easy Things To Do at The Command Line" -- things that NON-Unix
users would find useful. That's something that I think requires some real
consumer research, something Apple could do. It's easy for us Unix people to
make alist, but I think our lists would be wrong.
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #44 of 61: Gail Williams (gail) Fri 25 Apr 03 09:50
    
They might be a great starting point, however.  What *would* your top ten
things to do (for beginners) be?
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #45 of 61: J Matisse Enzer (matisse) Fri 25 Apr 03 17:08
    
I've tried to come up with a list and not done very well. I'll give it
some more thought and see if i can make at least  try at it.

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #46 of 61: Gail Williams (gail) Fri 25 Apr 03 17:24
    
Heh.  Civilization was built by successive rough drafts, after all.

I think various searches and sorts such as greps are the things I most 
crave when I don't have unix.      
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #47 of 61: J Matisse Enzer (matisse) Fri 25 Apr 03 17:34
    
So there's two:

sorting a text file easily
searching through many files for a word
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #48 of 61: Sean Harding (sharding) Fri 25 Apr 03 18:14
    
The one that first impressed my girlfriend was merging two directories full
of hundreds of files with duplicate names (but different content, so you
couldn't just delete one of the two). Took about 10 seconds to type the loop
into the shell and a few seconds to run. Would have taken ages to do in
the GUI.
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #49 of 61: J Matisse Enzer (matisse) Fri 25 Apr 03 18:15
    
Is that something you'd say it is easy for a newbie to do?
  
inkwell.vue.180 : Matisse Enzer, UNIX for Mac OS X
permalink #50 of 61: Sean Harding (sharding) Fri 25 Apr 03 18:23
    
Well, see, there's the problem. (Especially the problem with people like me
trying to come up with such a list). The really cool stuff is often not easy
for a newbie to do, unfortunately. I think that's an example of a very non-
geek problem: a lot of people have had file name problems like that (my
girlfriend's was caused by the fact that her digital camera reset the file
names so the new photos had the same name as a bunch of old ones). And I do
believe that it's much better solved in the shell than in the GUI, at least
in the current incarnation of the GUI. But is it reasonable to expect
someone to learn how to do 'for' loops in bash to avoid 20 minutes of
clicking and renaming? I dunno.
  

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