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Macintosh Terminal Pocket Guide by Daniel J. Barrett

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Reading This Book

You don’t have to read this book from start to finish: much of it is a reference for daily work. A typical pattern might be:

  1. Look in the Table of Contents to find a general topic (say, viewing files).

  2. The section for that topic (File Viewing) begins with a list of relevant commands (cat, tail, etc.).

  3. Read about the command you want (e.g., tail).

We’ll describe many commands in this book. Each description begins with a standard heading about the command; Figure 1-2 shows one for the ls (list files) command. This heading demonstrates the general usage in a simple format:

ls [options] [files]

which means you’d type “ls” followed, if you choose, by options and then filenames. You wouldn’t type the square brackets “[” and “]”: they just indicate their contents are optional; and words in italics mean you have to fill in your own specific values, like names of actual files. You may see a vertical bar between options or arguments, perhaps grouped by parentheses:

(file | directory)

This indicates choice: you may supply either a filename or directory name as an argument.

The standard heading in Figure 1-2 also lists six properties of the command printed in black (meaning the property is supported by the command) or gray (unsupported):

Standard command heading

Figure 1-2. Standard command heading

stdin

This means the command reads from your keyboard, which goes by the name “standard input” (stdin).

stdout

The command ...

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