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The Mac OS X Open Source Tools Collection

by Derrick Story

Back in the days when you had to choose either command line or GUI, life was simple. But it was also limiting. Now that Mac OS X has blurred the line between geek and artist, terminal and Aqua, right and left brain, we can command line by day and iApp by night.

But how do you part the waters of the Aqua interface and delve into the open source depths of Mac OS X? The following collection of articles and books will help you do just that. And once you've tried your hand at a tutorial or two, take a look at the talkbacks at the bottom of this page. There you'll find commentary from your comrades to help you discover the treasures buried deep within Apple's state-of-the-art operating system.


Installing Tomcat on Mac OS X -- The Tomcat server is ideal for deploying Web applications and Web services. It's also a snap to install on Mac OS X. Here's how.

PostgreSQL for Mac OS X -- Having just made the switch from Windows 2000 to Mac OS X, Michael Brewer decided to flex some of his database skills on his new iBook. In this tutorial he walks you through an installation of PostgreSQL.

iBooks Love Linux -- An iBook turned out to be a great choice for running Debian GNU/Linux. Edd Dumbill explains why, and walks us through the installation process.

Comment on this articleHere's your forum to discuss open source tools for Mac OS X. Talk about your successes, failures, and topics that you'd like more information about.
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Learning the Mac OS X Terminal: Part 1 -- The Terminal application in Mac OS X is a new benefit to traditional Mac users, and it's a terrific one. Chris Stone shows you step by step how to get comfortable with the Terminal, and how to accomplish your first task via the command line.

Apache Web-Serving with Mac OS X: Part 1 -- In this first part of a multi-part series, Kevin Hemenway shows you how to start serving web pages directly from your Mac using its built-in Apache server.

Network Test Automation with Mac OS X and Tcl -- Unix-based Mac OS X is receiving lots of attention from open-source developers. Michael Norton explains how to use Tcl and Expect on a Mac to set up a network testing workstation.

PHP on Mac OS X -- The BSD underpinnings of Mac OS X allow PHP to run as an Apache module in its native Unix environment. Here's how to load and run PHP on your Mac OS X system.

Installing XFree86 on Mac OS X -- XFree86 is an open-source implementation of the X Window System GUI for Unix. Even though XFree86 was originally intended for x86-based architectures, it runs great on Mac OS X. Here's how to install it.

How I BSDed My iBook -- It's true that Mac OS X has BSD under the hood. But what if you wanted to load pure BSD? Chris Coleman explains what happens when you take a Tangerine iBook, add a little NetBSD, and shake vigorously.

Unix for the Rest of Us -- Did you know that BSD is much older than its rival Linux and predates the personal computer? Learn more about the history of BSD and Mac OS X from Peter Fraterdeus.


Learning Unix for Mac OS X --

Learning Unix for Mac OS X is a concise introduction to just what a reader needs to know to get started with Unix on Mac OS X. With Mac OS X, they now have the ability to not only continue to use their preferred platform, but to explore the powerful capabilities of Unix. This title gives the reader information on how to use the Terminal application, become functional with the command interface and explore many Unix applications.

Apache: The Definitive Guide --

Written and reviewed by key members of the Apache group, this book is the only complete guide on the market that describes how to obtain, set up, and secure the Apache software on both Unix and Windows systems. The second edition fully describes Windows support and all the other Apache 1.3 features. Includes CD-ROM with Apache sources and demo sites discussed in the book.

Mac OS X: The Missing Manual --

Mac OS X: The Missing Manual illuminates both the big-ticket features and the fine points of Mac OS X version 10.1: its UNIX-like folder structure, powerful networking and Internet features, and even the command-line interface of its UNIX underbelly. Also covers each of the control panels and bonus programs that comes with Mac OS X, including iTunes, Mail, Sherlock, and Apache, the built-in Web-server.

Mac OS X Pocket Reference --

The Mac OS X Pocket Reference introduces Mac, Windows, and Unix users to the fundamental concepts of Mac OS X. The book starts out with a "Mac OS X Survival Guide," which shows Mac users what's changed from Mac OS 9, and also helps Windows and Unix converts get acclimated with their new OS. The Mac OS X Pocket Reference concludes with a 30+-page "Task and Setting" index, which answers questions that users might have when trying to configure their system.

Managing & Using MySQL --

Learn how to use MySQL, a popular database product that supports key subsets of SQL on Linux and Unix systems. Using C/C++, Java, Perl, PHP, or Python, you can write programs to interact with a MySQL database, either as a stand-alone application or through a web page. This book covers the whole process, from installation to programming interfaces and database administration. It includes ample tutorial material and examples.

Derrick Story is the author of The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers, The Digital Photography Companion, and Digital Photography Hacks, and coauthor of iPhoto: The Missing Manual, with David Pogue. You can follow him on Twitter or visit

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