A network lets computers communicate with each other, share files, send email, and much more. Unix systems have been networked for more than 30 years, and OS X has had networking as an integral part of the system design from day one. In fact, AppleTalk was the first computer network that let computers connect directly together without needing a server in the middle.
This chapter introduces Unix networking: remotely accessing your Mac from other computers and copying files between computers. It also shows you how the Terminal’s “New Remote Connection” feature can make common connections a breeze once you’ve set them up initially.
There may be times when you need to access your Mac, but you can’t get to the desk it’s sitting on. If you’re working on a different computer, you may not have the time or inclination to stop what you’re doing, walk to your Mac, and log in (laziness may not be the only reason for this: perhaps someone else is using your Mac when you need to get on it, or perhaps your Mac is miles away). OS X’s File Sharing (System Preferences→Sharing→File Sharing) lets you access your files, but there may also be times you want to use the computer interactively, perhaps to move files around, search for a particular file, or perform a system maintenance task.
If you enable Remote Login (System Preferences→Sharing→Remote Login), as shown in Figure 8-1, you can access your Mac’s Unix shell from any networked computer that can run ...