GT 001 : Terminal Discussion for the Noob


Eyes glaze over when I bring up the terminal in OS X.   Even some Mac Admins.  I admit, it can be really daunting to open the terminal and have nothing but a blinking cursor staring back at you.  And to top it all off, there is very little hand holding when working in the terminal.  Adam and I chat a little bit about the terminal to figure out what was the most challenging to Adam as he learned how to use the terminal and how to start to leverage it.

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In This Episode

For getting used to the terminal we recommend you start with just moving around.  I know that sounds pretty lame and pointless if you are going to just open the finder and finish what you were doing, but seriously, it will really help you get “situational awareness” in the terminal.  Once you know how to move around then doing things like searching for files, searching the contents of files, etc. becomes really easy.

So here is our list of navigation commands for the terminal noob:

  • cd – this is the change directory command.  It is how you move from one folder to the next.
    • example:  cd /Library/Preferences
      • change directory into the /Library/Preferences directory
  • ls – list the contents of a folder
    • example:  ls ~/Documents
      • This will list the contents of your documents folder
  • pwd – print out the full path to the current folder you are in
    • example:  pwd
      • um, yeah. That is pretty much it for this command
  • man – Not mentioned in the episode, but it will give you information (i.e. man = manual) on other commands
    • example: man ls
      • This will give you manual information about the “cd” command.

Items of Interest

And yes, you can interact with email in the terminal.

For starters, OS X has built in mail, mailx, and sendmail commands.

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