I'm hoping to build on my embarrassingly-limited knowledge of the command line, and I know there are a ton of great resources out there. I'm wondering if there are any books or other resources that are tailored specifically to the OS X user running Terminal.


7 Answers 7


Well, there is always Apple´s official command line guide but back when I learned my way around the Terminal, I found Unix for the beginning Mage (PDF, free) quite entertaining and educational (given it suits your humour).

If you´d rather go for a book, I´d highly recommend "The Mac OS X Command Line: Unix Under the Hood".


This Mac OS X Unix Tutorial has a lot of information in there which you could start from. All in all, I think that if you start up with any of the good resources on Linux (or Unix), you should be able to get up to speed with most aspects of Unix on OS X.


O'Reilly has several Learning UNIX for Mac OS X books. They were all published several years ago, and the most recent one is for Tiger. But they are still relevant to UNIX, as one of the great things about UNIX is that the fundamentals are quite stable.

  • 1
    I've got the Tiger edition of the book. While UNIX is relatively stable, some of the OS X specific features change quite a bit between OS X releases. Mar 11, 2011 at 8:35

I'm a fan of Take Control of the Mac Command Line with Terminal, by Joe Kissell. It's a $10 ebook that is specifically designed for beginning command line users on Mac OS X. I think it's exactly what you asked for. I find many O'Reilly UNIX books to be frustratingly opaque for the beginner.

Book blurb from the above link:

If you've ever thought you should learn how to use the Unix command line that underlies Mac OS X, or felt at sea when typing commands into Terminal, Joe Kissell is here to help! This 111-page ebook will help you become comfortable working on the Mac's command line, starting with the fundamentals and walking you through more advanced topics as your knowledge increases. And if you're uncertain how to put your new-found skills to use, Joe includes numerous real-life "recipes" for tasks that are best done from the command line.

Disclaimer: Though I wrote a Take Control book seven years ago, I have no financial interest in Joe's book.


There is this kid on youtube who runs the macheads channel - best place to start learning the terminal is his 21 part series - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaIBH4fNqOc

Another source I would point to is the Meet the Command Line series by Dan Benjamin at Peepcode: http://peepcode.com/products/meet-the-command-line


I have a newsletter and upcoming screencast specifically for OS X users, which you can follow here: http://learning-the-unix-command-line-on-os-x.chipcastle.com/


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