Going command line with OSX

My dad is an old school electrical engineer. He worked on so many big aerospace projects and spacecraft when I was a kid that it was crazy. One thing he taught me is from a story he once told me. He said there are some thing that you learn in class that people don’t take very seriously. For example, I always had to know how to do the same things on paper as with a calculator. One particular situation that made him a star was when he was working on a satellite and their equipment failed. The rest of the engineers in his group just left and/or scrambled for another place to do their work.

My dad said that he stayed right there and worked it all out by himself. He relied on knowing the guts of how this stuff worked and having pen and paper. I took this seriously. I have found that this pays off in a couple ways. When I was building my office and when I’ve done construction on my house or someone else’s (something I love to do now) I needed geometry. Most kids now days learn enough about it to pass the class in high school and never look back. The postulates and theorems of geometry helped me when I lacked a tool or equipment.

This being said, the way I figure it, don’t call yourself a real administrator until you know how to go to the command line and wreak havoc in no matter what operating system you use. I appreciate the Mac for it’s user friendliness. However, I used to stay away from OS 9 and before because it’s lack of depth. Yes it was easy to do menial tasks but I wouldn’t advise a network rely on it or especially an enterprise.

I welcomed OS X to the modern world of technology with open arms. Up until it’s release I was a rare user of the operating system because I tried but didn’t really get that deep into Appletalk. OS X’s Mach kernel brought serious Unix thinking to a pretty interface.

So, you own a Mac? Let’s get you some street cred. You want to hang with the Linux, Windows, and Unix network admins and not be the red headed step child? This is what you do. First start with network troubleshooting from the terminal. Create scenarios for yourself to solve. My usual problem to solve is why I don’t have access to the internet from a machine that I know should have a live connection plugged in… The networksetup and serversetup commands are key and new to even hardcore Unix/Linux admins. I still use “ifconfig” out of unix habit though.

Here’s a couple of useful links that can help you. The first is this pdf file that is a “Mac OS X Server from the command line” file.

Next: “Top 15 terminal commands for hidden Mac OS X settings.”

Then for the Unix/Linux guys. Here are some command line programs that are specific to the Mac. “Unique Darwin commands.” Also, check out this blog: http://patgmac.blogspot.com/

Mac guys/gals. show your true geekness. Flip up a terminal window in front of you networking friends and even impress the Cisco guys.

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