Alex Kaloostian

Apple Certified Master Trainer | Systems Integrator | Video Editor | Motion Graphics Artist

Doing more with the Mac command line

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Between the Mac App Store and Amazon’s new Mac Download store, Macintosh graphical apps are suddenly getting a lot of attention, but most people don’t know there has long been a rich community of developers creating open-source apps for the Mac command line.

Here is a screenshot of Mac OS X’s built-in process monitor, top:

Useful, but not very user-friendly. Now, here is the free app htop:

Now we’re talking! The only thing is, it has not aways been easy to find these apps, or install them. Until the MacPorts project. MacPorts will let you search for command line apps, get info about them, download them and install them all in one place. It will even download and install any dependent tools first. There are disk utilities, calendar apps, games, even a command line Twitter client.

  1. Check your Utilities folder to see if you have X11 installed. If not, you can install it off of your OS X DVD.
  2. Install the Xcode developer tools. These can also be installed off of the OS X disk, or you can download the latest version off of the Mac App Store for $4.99
  3. Go here and install the MacPorts app. Thats it!

Here are some other useful resources for learning more about the Mac command line:

Mac command line A-Z
Lifehacker’s command line tricks
More Lifehacker command line tricks
Useful command-line tools: Softpedia 

Author: alexkaloostian

I'm a video editor, motion graphics designer and Mac IT consultant in the Boston area.

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