What can I do with Terminal?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by sethypoo, Dec 1, 2003.

  1. sethypoo macrumors 68000

    Oct 8, 2003
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Hey everyone.....

    Long, long ago, I knew how to use DOS. I assume Terminal is similar, in that both are command line programs.

    So what neat things can I do with Terminal? Tricks? Tips? Thanks.
  2. Thom_Edwards macrumors regular

    Apr 11, 2003
    Terminal is similar to DOS command prompt in that it is a command line and is used for similar tasks. but, just as most Windows users rarely need the command prompt, most Mac users won't need Terminal. no offense, but if you don't know what Terminal is used for, you probably don't need it. however, i am not saying don't learn it! it can be fun to learn new things, and you might find yourself doing different things with your computer.

    knowing DOS commands will not help much in Terminal, though. go to a unix/linux site for a listing of the different commands and their usage.
  3. encro macrumors 6502


    May 6, 2002
    With Terminal you have the power to push the button that blows up the world if your feeling evil (In other words... completely delete your harddrive) :p

    alternatively, check out these 2 sites for more detailed helpful information:

    Mac OS X Hints

    OS X Faq
  4. revenuee macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2003
    A place where i am supreme emporer
    Re: What can I do with Terminal?

    The question shouldn't be "what can you do?"

    It should be "what can't you do?"

    With Terminal you have access to one of the most powerful Operating systems in the world ... FreeBSD-UNIX.

    Those who control Unix control the world.

    Learn it, Love it
  5. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040


    Apr 21, 2003
    washington dc
    my personal favorite command...


    esp. when you know a friends IP and password... good time, good times...

    ;) :D
  6. revenuee macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2003
    A place where i am supreme emporer
    LOL ... i didn't wanna come out and say it... but basically.. .YA
  7. sethypoo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Oct 8, 2003
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Huh? What do you mean?
  8. revenuee macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2003
    A place where i am supreme emporer
    don't worry about it man ... if you don't know what he means ... then your probably not going to be missing anything from not using the terminal ...

    your actually better off leaving the terminal alone until you read up on using Unix commands ... doing things from the terminal is not as forgiving as running things in the GUI, you could make a mess that you can't clean up ... .LOL

    any decent UNIX BIBLE will explain everything you might want to know, in detail

    then again - you probably havn't set up the root user yet, so other then deleting your own files, you probably won't be able to make any real trouble for yourself
  9. kuyu macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2003
    i am in the process of learning unix, and i love it. in a gui, like panther, you can only do what some programmer decided you could do.

    On the other hand, in unix (terminal), you are only limited by your own imagination. So, to answer the question 'what's terminal for?'...... anything you can dream of a computer doing, there is a way to do it in terminal.
  10. whocares macrumors 65816


    Oct 9, 2002
    Re: What can I do with Terminal?

    From anything to everything.

    Heck, if the command doesn't already exist to do the task you want, you can whip up a binary (a program) to do just that task.

    The greate thing about Terminal (as in all UNIX) is each command only does one thing (copy, move, list, find, etc.). This may sound a limiting factor, but au contraire it's what makes it so damn good: it does that one thing really well and you have an infinite number of combinations to get the exact result you want.

    As kuyu said, your dreams are the limits!

    Go learn some UNIX :cool:
  11. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    The command line lets you get into the guts of the computer. Some things are faster from the command line, in my opinion - bulk file transfers for example (especially when combined with SSH keys or Kerberos authentication). If you learn bash (the language of the command line shell you use in terminal) you can whip up scripts to accomplish repetitive tasks quickly and painlessly. If you're a systems admin you can log into remote servers and work on them from the comfort of your own desk.

    For that matter, knowing the command line may occasionally help if your OS X box locks up (not that they ever do...) - you can get on another computer and ssh into your box to troubleshoot it. I found this really handy with Linux, and imagine it'll be the same for OS X. Usually when a machine like that freezes the underlying system is still running just fine, if you can just get to it!
  12. joeyjojoe macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    maybe you UNIX people could point out a couple of useful terminal commands to get him started.
  13. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    For some specifics, check out this thread.
  14. f-matic macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2003
    to learn some ropes..

    try taking a look at all the possible commands you have installed - you can do this by holding the 'escape' key for three seconds, and say Yes to Display All Possibilitles.

    then pick one that looks interesting, like ssh, and type 'man ssh', which will bring up a manual page for that command. the manpages are a little techy, but you'll get an idea what they're for.

    some fun ones to start with:

    top - displays all current processes
    ps aux - same thing but a snapshot
    netstat - shows all network activity

    there's also some really helpful ones in there, like grep, which searches through a specific input and looks for a certain set of characters, but it's really flexible and has a lot of customizable options. it can also take input from other commands by using the pipe command or |. so you could do:

    netstat | grep udp4

    which will show you all the udp4 connections currently active on your computer.

    hope this helps for starters!


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