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Interesting new Unix commands/binaries in OS X Mountain Lion (blogoverflow.com)
199 points by telemachos on July 28, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 22 comments



The sharing command is new to desktops, but not new to OSX. I've used it in shell scripts on a Snow Leopard (10.6) server. (It's very useful if you are creating or updating the permissions for hundreds of shares at once. The manual method is brutal, as you can imagine.)

Checking the Apple man pages, they show documentation for it on 10.7.4 and for 10.4-intel[1], so it's been around on the servers for some time. (Also, the man pages still list it as a server-only command. Those may not have been updated yet for Mountain Lion.)

(If you're not already aware of them, Apple has a very full set of man pages online. The framed browsing style is a pain, but the pages are still great for scanning and finding new commands[2].)

[1] https://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#documentation/darwi...

[2]: https://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#documentation/darwi...


More like command-line commands. Isn't that a bit like calling Windows command-line utilities 'new DOS commands'?


OS X is proper UNIX®, so this sounds accurate.

Win32 command line utilities aren't really related to the DOS APIs in any way.


Confirming: OS X Leopard and Mountain Lion have received Unix certification: http://www.opengroup.org/openbrand/register/brand3591.htm

That doesn't make the commands themselves "Unix commands", which would AFAIU, be described under the "Commands and Utilities" portion of the standard: http://www.opengroup.org/openbrand/register/cxm4.htm

The document containing these standards is not freely available online, but may be purchased: https://www2.opengroup.org/ogsys/jsp/publications/Publicatio...

Wikipedia lists a set of IEEE utilities which is pretty brief, and contains a number of largely obsolete standards (SCCS anyone?), comprising of 161 commands: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Unix_utilities


So these new commands are available for any UNIX?

Or are they just new OSX tools that happen to run from a shell?


Some are. pgrep and pkill come from Solaris, IIRC.

But a unix program need not be available for every unix under the sun to still be a unix program.


Yes, pgrep and pkill originally come from Solaris. If anyone cares about the history here, they were added by Mike Shapiro in Solaris 7 to speed boot time -- he discovered that there were a ton of RC scripts that were doing "ps -el | grep foo | grep -v grep", and he was able to shave significant boot time by distilling this into one command. (pgrep and pkill both originated with this work; in as much as they had direct inspiration elsewhere, it was from the "slay" command found in QNX.)

If my long-windedness can be excused, a pgrep anecdote that I feel must be told: when Mike was originally doing pgrep and pkill, he wanted one to be able to search on every field specified in proc(4), including the wchan (denoted by pr_wchan), an archaic field that was actually a stowaway from Multics (!). Even by Solaris 7, the wchan had no real significance in Unix, and the co-inventor of /proc, Roger Faulkner, flew into an indignant rage that Mike would include it -- and "pgrep -w" quickly disappeared from both Mike's workspace and his PSARC case. Now, Mike and I were also the gatekeepers on Solaris 7, and we both wore pagers (aside: I'm old) that would page us whenever anyone integrated anything into Solaris with the bug synopsis. Sometime after pgrep/pkill integrated into Solaris 7, I decided to screw with Mike a little: he was headed to watch a Boston Celtics playoff game, and I knew he would be away from a machine for a few hours, so I started paging him with fake integrations that I knew would enrage him. The first integration that I fooled him with was someone that he disliked rewriting a command that Mike himself had just taken from the same engineer and himself rewritten -- and I really tweaked him by making the synopsis be that the "error messages could be improved" (trust me that this was a sore point). Now, I wanted the fake integrations to get more and more absurd over the course of the playoff game, so I next paged him with an integration from Roger: "pgrep(1) needs to be able to search on wchan". I was just getting ready to send my next page (after all, I had a couple hours of mischief planned) when Mike suddenly appeared in my office, drenched with sweat, panting "please just tell me the first one was a joke too!" As it turns out, he had taken my first page a little too seriously, had immediately stopped watching the playoff game, got back in his car and was returning to work to "throw [disliked engineer]'s monitor out his office window." When he saw the wchan option to pgrep, he knew that I must be screwing with him, and fortunately stopped at my office before doing anyone (or anything) physical harm. And that's how "pgrep -w" saved a monitor -- if not a life.


This is awesome. Do you have it written up in a blog post by chance? I'd love to link it to this answer: http://askubuntu.com/questions/27501/whats-the-difference-be...


No blog post, no -- but you can link to my HN comment[1]. Also, as long as I'm commenting again on this, I should point out that pkill also had an Easter egg of sorts: "pkill -V" was a shorthand for killing everyone's least favorite Solaris daemon: vold. (This option was ripped out when vold itself was ripped out in 2006.)

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4306515


So instead of fixing fork to be faster Mike just reduced the number of forks? Kidding, kidding...


`caffeinate' seems to be a command-line ripoff of http://www.lightheadsw.com/caffeine/


There isn't much to rip off, the whole thing is a few dozen lines long, trivial utility. The program name is probably a bona fide reference to the app.

The source code of caffeinate(8) is available at http://opensource.apple.com/source/PowerManagement/PowerMana...


Hmm, never heard of that, but I can see myself using this caffeinate command quite often.

Sometimes I leave command line programs running overnight then get annoyed when I find that my Mac went to sleep after an hour because I'd forgotten to adjust the power saving settings.

So running caffeinate -u <my command> will be very handy indeed


Quite obvious ripoff, too. Apple could at least have named it "nosleep" or something like that.


Nosleep would be a ripoff of this project: https://code.google.com/p/macosx-nosleep-extension/


More importantly, it'll make these utilities easier to write.


Pgrep is super-cool.

Ex: What are all of the python subprocesses started by PID 1234? `pgrep -P 1234 python`

I've been missing it on osx for a long time.


If you do not have Mountain Lion yet,

    brew install proctools


Yup. Besides pgrep, pkill is invaluable as well.


Is anyone else's Terminal.app crashing when trying to type "~" on an international keyboard layout?


The enscript command is gone though.


I think that was removed in the course of Apple's anti-GNU crusade




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