What do you use Terminal for?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by chriskzoo, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. chriskzoo macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2005
    I know that it's a UNIX shell and I've messed around a bit with UNIX in the past, but what are people using it for on a regular basis? I was listening to the TWIT podcast and Leo Laporte says he spends more time on his Mac using the command line than anything else....and I can't figure out what the hell he would be doing!
  2. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus


    Mar 10, 2004
    Bergen, Norway
    Mostly wget (to download stuff that won't let me opt-click, must be installed from here, installation help here (for an older version, should be the same)), whois (to identify SPAM/virus mails and find abuse-addresses) and the occasional tinkering (writeing preferences, removing files/folders, etc.).

    Used to use it for maintenance, too, but ever since I started trying out MainMenu that hasn't been necessary... ;)

    Edit: I also use the occasional ssh and/or sftp for uploading stuff to our webhost, for stuff that Cyberduck doesn't handle...
  3. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    I run a few websites on a volunteer basis, and I manage them almost exclusively through the terminal. I keep a local copy of them on my computer (Apple conveniently provides a ~/Sites folder for me to use) and I use the terminal to navigate folders, edit html or php files (using pico :p ) copy them to the web server using ftp, and all that other good stuff.

    When I was studying Engineering my university gave me a Linux account on a server called Engsoc, which I connect to using a protocol called ssh. To this day I still have the account and still use it as my preferred method of reading newsgroups (using a program called tin) - most people use graphical programs like Thoth, MT-Newswatcher, Outlook Express, Free Agent (Windows) or whatever, but I find nothing beats the raw efficiency of a text-based interface, when reading mountains of text!

    I also use the terminal for programming and compiling, hacking around (e.g. to find where Quicktime saves videos that it streams, so I can copy them to keep..)
  4. sreedy macrumors 6502a

    Feb 24, 2005
    I tend to use a little ftp, sftp and scp at home to transfer files about, I also use it to troouble shoot any issues..... and use top to see what is going on.

    At work I use Terminal all the time, I'm a Sys Admin for a small software company in the UK and do some Testing for them too...... the platform is Linux and Windows so I have to use Terminal to ssh into the Linux boxes to do my daily work..... and Remote Desktop for XP Pro boxes.
  5. MattG macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    To see processes that are running, to terminal into the server at work to run updates etc., and to check uptime. That's about it really.
  6. pulsewidth947 macrumors 65816


    Jan 25, 2005
    sudo diskutil repairPermissions /

    thats what i use it for :D
  7. pna macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2005
    I mainly use it for starting up secure shell connections (ssh) to other unix machines. I used the command line non-stop on my linux machine, but have fairly well adapted to the mac's habit of having a GUI for everything, and using the GUI is now faster or about the same for most operations I do.

    I don't tend to use the default 'terminal' app, though. The replacement 'iTerm' is way nicer, IMO, as it lets you have tabs, transparent backgrounds, etc, etc.


    To answer the OP's question, though, there are lots of more server-oriented programs, like mail spoolers, webservers, etc, that are often more easily managed via the command line than via any kind of graphical interface. Or that don't have a graphical interface at all. The way most unix tools were written, is to write a bomb-proof program that has only a command line interface, and then people come along after that and write some kind of graphical front-end that interacts with that command line interface for the user. Often the graphical interfaces don't have all of the functionality that the command line interface does, so many power users just skip the graphical stuff completely.

    Or, maybe this guy just doesn't like the Finder...
  8. ph0rk macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2003
    I use term for...

    Durandal:~ micah$ ssh <name>@<host.address>

    and more recently:

    Durandal:~ micah$ sudo port install wget
    Durandal:~ micah$ wget http://foo.bar.com/stuff.ext

    Durandal:~ micah$ sudo port install ncftp
    Durandal:~ micah$ ncftp ftp.blah.blah.com

    Durandal:~ micah$ sudo port install atanks

    also: i use cal more often than you'd think would be necessary.
  9. SpaceMagic macrumors 68000


    Oct 26, 2003
    Cardiff, Wales
    I use top to discover which processes, rogue or otherwise, are running and then kill to stop any ones which I don't want (e.g. HP Communications as soon as I login I delete it. There's no way to get rid of it from startup because everytime I print something it replaces itself AND it takes up like 80% CPU!).

    I also use ftp a lot. It's one of the best ftp clients really, it lets you do anything and its free!

    uptime so i can brag to people how long my computer has been up. (Currently at a measly 6 days).

    Then ssh. Now to a newbie this takes a little explaining. But basically if you have ssh running on another mac/computer (Turn it on in System Preferences -> Sharing) then you can control that computer from another. Eg. ssh -l rlobue will log me onto my G5 from my iBook. This way I don't have to get up (Cos I'm lazy) to open iTunes.app and share my PowerMac's music with my iBook. Also, I can access through the internet, so I scare my mum when I'm away by playing iTunes on max volume :p (yep! i'm a bast*rd)!

    And then my favourite (copied from MacOS Hints): Type in emacs and press Enter. Once it's loaded, press and release Escape, and then type x. At the bottom of the screen, you'll see M-x; type tetris and press Enter.

    You're now playing Tetris within emacs. Use the arrow keys and space bar (to drop blocks) to play. When you are done, a highscore will be generated at /tmp. You can then exit emacs by pressing Control-X followed by Control-C.

    So! What else? Hmm... I'll come back when I remember (when I use them basically!)
  10. RugoseCone macrumors 6502

    Aug 22, 2002

    Folding here too... that's about it.
  11. ph0rk macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2003
    sudo rm -rf /

    (don't try this at home, folks!)
  12. Soulstorm macrumors 68000


    Feb 1, 2005
    Actually, I use it for... Applescript!
    I really hate when I have to do some stuff manually and change permissions manually...

    I write applescripts and I use the "do shell script" command to make things work the way I want.
  13. HiRez macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2004
    Western US
  14. Catfish_Man macrumors 68030


    Sep 13, 2001
    Portland, OR
    svn, top, ps, kill, killall, grep, xcodebuild, open
  15. After G macrumors 68000

    After G

    Aug 27, 2003
    Used it to replace Finder. I don't need Finder on all the time.
    defaults write com.apple.loginwindow Finder /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app
    And if I feel like changing it back,
    defaults delete com.apple.loginwindow Finder
  16. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus


    Mar 10, 2004
    Bergen, Norway
    Wouldn't you rather just add a Quit Finder option with this command:
    defaults write com.apple.finder QuitMenuItem 1
    Then you can quit Finder whenever you want (and restart it by clicking the Finder icon in the Dock). :)

    Or, you can do from TinkerTool, of course... ;)

    Attached Files:

  17. greatdevourer macrumors 68000

    Aug 5, 2005
    Lots :p I use... Pico (I can't find my AppleWorks backup and I hate OpenOffice.org), GCC, DarwinPorts, WhoIs, Netstat, most standard stuff, messing about, SSH (use it as an iTunes controller for my Cube), Telnet (other servers), er... lots
  18. iShater macrumors 604


    Aug 13, 2002
    pico, java, ls, ps, tops, renice

    any UNIX folks just love terminal stuff, even if it can be done in GUI :D
  19. tombo macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2004
    Brighton/Bristol UK
    Loads of stuff.

    I started whilst doing my final year project. We were using Unix machines in a lab and I knew about Terminal, so forced myself to use it to learn. I used it to ssh into a server whilst at home and run programs that would take all weekend, much to the confusion to my coursemates :rolleyes:

    But nowerdays I use it for house-keeping when Finder just won't do, inspecting files with more, emacs for syntax highlighting all manner of languages, ssh, various compilers, and messing around with a Tomcat server.

    Has been invaluable for the course I'm on at the mo.
  20. risc macrumors 68030


    Jul 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Australia
    At home I use the terminal for accessing telnet based BBSes, and doing normal UNIX dork stuff. From work I'll use Putty to access my Power Mac to run irc, bittorrent, play cli games (if I'm really bored),etc...

    Oh and I find myself using vim for a text editor most of the time, just because I moved to Mac from Linux/*BSD and old habits are hard to break. :)
  21. spaceballl macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2003
    San Francisco, CA
  22. atszyman macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2003
    The Dallas 'burbs
    folding... of course
    ssh, ftp, uptime, vi, pico, sudo cp -R (backing up), finding hidden files that Finder won't show me (iPod's music library for example), running C/C++ programs that I write for work/school, every once in awhile I boot to single user mode and run /sbin/fsck -fy for maintenance...

    That about covers my use of terminal/command line

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