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Archive for December 27th, 2016

by Tom Nelson

Terminal may be one of the least used but most powerful apps included with a Mac. At first glance, Terminal seems to be the antithesis of the Mac’s friendly GUI (Graphical User Interface), presenting instead a simple command line interface that harkens back to the days of glowing CRTs with green, amber, or whitish text, connected to some distant computer system.

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Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

The Mac’s Terminal app emulates the old terminals, and provides access to a UNIX shell, where you can issue commands to manipulate the UNIX system that underlies the Mac OS. The UNIX shell, in this case, a Bash shell, provides a command processor that can interpret text entered by the user. It’s not just simple text commands you enter, such as displaying the contents of a folder, that the Bash shell can process, but also scripts, chains of commands, piping, conditional testing, variables, and more. The entire syntax that the Bash shell understands is a bit beyond this article. If you’re interested in creating shell scripts, Apple provides a developer’s guide to scripting using Terminal and the various UNIX shells.

In the first part of our introduction to Terminal, we’re going to look at Terminal with an eye to more basic usage, primarily as a way to modify the standard behavior of the Mac OS. We’ll also look at some basic file system manipulation as examples of ways to use Terminal. So, let’s get started with how to launch and configure Terminal for your use.

Read more on Rocket Yard, The MacSales.com Blog.

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