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Mac OS X: The Complete Reference 1st Edition

26 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 078-3254034242
ISBN-10: 0072126639
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Editorial Reviews Review

On the surface, Mac OS X isn't all that different from Mac OS 9.1. Indeed, most users will be just as happy with the slightly older version of the Macintosh operating system as with version X. But for people who have longed for a more robust kernel with true preemptive multitasking, better graphics support, and a stronger suite of programming tools, Mac OS X is manna. Like too many other books that choose to focus on Mac OS X as just another Mac System for everyday home and office users, Mac OS X: The Complete Reference explores the new Mac OS in terms of its basic features before delving into its new architecture, server capabilities, and BSD Unix-derived features.

Feiler's coverage of the new features isn't terribly deep--readers might expect more from a "Complete Reference." In explaining the new low-level architecture of Mac OS X, for example, Feiler does a fine job of explaining that Mach manages system resources and that an implementation of BSD Unix handles tasks associated with networking, the filesystem, and threads of execution. Great, but there's nothing about configuring a machine at the BSD command line or the "Unix way" of thinking about hardware and settings. Read this book if you're a beginner or interested in a high-level guide to the new features, but look elsewhere for deep documentation. --David Wall

Topics covered: The features of Mac OS X, explained at a level suitable for everyday users, with some sections of interest to administrators and power users. Specialized sections address architectural fundamentals, hardware and software setup, networking, and programming with AppleScript, Carbon, and Cocoa.

From Library Journal

A timely and complete reference for OS X is in order. Maria Langer's Mac OS X (Computer Media, LJ 7/01) faltered, but Feiler has come through. He clearly covers a range of concepts, including the Aqua interface, networking, applications, and, surprisingly, programming OS X with Carbon and Cocoa (see above). This volume lives up to its nameDthe programming aspect is a nice bonus. Highly recommended for libraries catering to Mac users.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Complete Reference
  • Paperback: 763 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill/Osborne Media; 1 edition (May 25, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0072126639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0072126631
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.4 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,448,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jesse Feiler is a developer, consultant, and author specializing in Apple technologies. He is the creator of Minutes Machine for iPad, the meeting management app, Saranac River Trail app a guide to the Trail that includes location-based updates as well as social media tools. His apps are available in the App Store and are published by Champlain Arts Corp ( As a consultant; he has worked with small businesses and nonprofits on projects such as production control, publishing, and project management usually involving FileMaker.

He is heard regularly on WAMC Public Radio for the Northeast's The Roundtable. He is President of the Plattsburgh Public Library and founder of Friends of Saranac River Trail, Inc. A native of Washington DC, he has lived in New York City and currently lives in Plattsburgh NY.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Donald Hall on August 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
A better title for this book might be "Mac OS X: The Complete Overview". Coverage of the new OS is a mile wide and an inch deep. It might be a good book for someone thinking about moving to OS X who is looking for general information to help make their decision, but its lack of depth will frustrate a new OS X user wanting to master their system. For some chapters the low level of detail is fine and to be expected, but for others it effectively renders the information provided useless. For example, I found the chapter on using the command line particularly frustrating as I wanted to learn how to use some of the basic commands. There is an extensive list of commands, but no explanations of how they work. Here is an example: chmod: Change file permissions chmod [-R [-H | -L | -P]] mode file ... That is it! No explanations of the options, what the modes are, or what exactly you need to type in for 'file'. This may be okay for a Unix user needing to confirm the command syntax, but for a classic Mac user, this section is largely useless without an accompanying Unix manual. Having said that, if all you want is a flavor of OS X, and not any detail, the book is extensive and does touch on almost all of its features.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Andre on June 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book introduces you to OS X, with a complete walkthrough of nearly every feature OS X has to present. It will be valuable to Wintel users too, because the introduction to Macs is done very professional. It treats every user the same, and it does just what it's supposed to do, namely as a complete reference, in which I think it does very well. The book is also based on version 10.0.2 as of this writing, which makes all those other books written for the beta version old and outdated. You won't find better books about OS X !!!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Frank Bergdoll on June 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
As a new Mac User, this book is an excellent resource! I searched high and low to find something that was comprehensive enough to appeal to the more technical aspects of the OS and this book did delve into them to a fairly good extent (some mention of architecture and comparative architecture). For the most part, I would have given the book a 4/5, but ... there's a programming section! This is very nice to add to a book and it brought back all sorts of warm and fuzzy feelings of the old days when all manuals and texts dealt with programming to some extent. Nice book and a good choice for those needing a Mac reference. The book spends some time on the interface and interaction with the interface -- so you may wish to skim "some" of the material if you are already comfortable with GUI operations. However, sometimes reading these sections will give you insight into something you forgot or a detail you never quite knew.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book spends a lot of time on the obvious.
My two main complaints are:
1. Very shallow, almost useless treatment of the terminal application. This is a unix machine. The GUIs for the most part are self-explanatory. I need to know how to use this particular flavor of unix, how to compile code, etc. Something about the peculiarities of the root structure, unusual commands like "open", how to set up an NFS network, X-windows, and other unixy things would have been helpful. I am still looking for such a book but will be cautious about spending my money.
2. For GUI applications like MAIL, the entire chapter explained the obvious, but very little was there for the harder part of configuring and setting preferences. I still don't know how to sort my saved messages into files having individual user names, how to import from other programs (pine, etc). Sure would have been nice. Ditto for NETINFO. This thing is crucial. Also they should at least tell you how to establish a root account. Many of us actually do want to use this computer for computing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. Anderson on March 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
I am a long-time and dedicated Mac user, with varied amounts of experience with other platforms -- I have enough Windows experience to earn an MCSE, but only enough Unix experience to be afraid of the root account. I have been very excited about the potential of Mac OS X and wanted a book that was a comprehensive reference for the GUI side but also had substantial documentation of the Unix side, particularly the command line interface.
This book is a fairly decent intro to OS X, but its command line reference is awful. I bought the book and ended up returning it to the store later the same day.
This weekend I just picked up "Mac OS X Unleashed" by John Ray and I would definitely recommend that title over this one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Don Cartwright on January 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
Jesse Feiler's "Mac OS X:The Complete Reference" includes most of the basic information necessary
to operate Mac OS X presented in a clean, organized fashion. It covers all of the features of the original release of the OS and serves its pupose as a basic reference for a new user. The book also touches on the underpinnings of the operating system (Carbon, Cocoa, etc.).
What is missing is troubleshooting information. The book assumes OS X is in good working order. It gives little advice as to how to deal with installation problems, incompatibility problems, or anything that requires repair.
If you are looking for what is basically an extended owner's manual that explains the features of OS X, this book does a good job. But if you want to troubleshoot, repair, or otherwise tweek OS X (ala "Sad Macs, Bombs, and Other Disasters" and "Mac Secrets"), you should wait for one of the newer books based on OS X.1.
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