Mac OS X in a Nutshell
This is my unofficial homepage for Mac OS X in a Nutshell, published by O'Reilly and Associates in January 2003. Co-authors include myself, Chuck Toporek (who also served as the book's editor) and Chris Stone, who took charge of writing the massive command reference chapter, which is more or less a whole book in its own right.
O'Reilly's page contains errata, sample chapters, and other official information about the book. This page is just for one author's notes (and promotion) about it.
Who is this book for?
The intended audience includes people already comfortable with modern operating systems, with special attention in early chapters for people coming at Mac OS X from either Mac OS 9 or Unix. People who know their way around Mac OS X already can skip right to the "interesting" parts, of course, but I'll bet there's plenty of fun little nuggets in the first couple of chapters (which cover the Aqua interface and the Finder) to make them worth a read anyway.
What's it about?
The book attempts to concisely cover all the important facets of Mac OS X from user, administrator, and developer perspectives, in that order. It thoroughly describes the system's two UIs (graphical Aqua and command-line Darwin via Terminal), exploring not just how to use them, but how they actually work under the hood.
In fact, the book keeps this dual nature of Mac OS X constantly in mind, showing both the Aqua-friendly and the arcane command-line ways to do things as it continues through chapters on system administration, running network services (including a whole chapter on setting up a "DAMP" webserving system of Darwin, Apache, MySQL, and Perl/PHP/Python), printing and printer sharing, and scripting and development.
Latter chapters concentrate on Mac OS X's Unix side, with a complete command reference and chapters covering Darwin-level software installation and running the X Window System on your Macintosh.
Why a German shepherd head?
O'Reilly has been putting various flavors of puppy-dogs on its Mac OS X books since it started publishing them. This German shepherd appears on books and materials about the operating system itself, such as Chuck Toporek's Mac OS X Pocket Reference.
My pal Cthulhia suggested early on that the cover-dog should be a beagle. (Think Darwin.) I passed this suggestion on to several O'Reilly design people and they all became sad that they didn't think of that. Alas, the doggie of choice was already set in stone by that point. It is the same breed as you'll find throughout O'Reilly's core Mac OS X-related media.