Mac OS X Internals Review

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I’ve been waiting quite a while for this book. It was the introduction of the Intel Macs that delayed this; an appendix and numerous updates throughout the book cover the new hardware and the software changes (that’s the August 2006 printing; if you are buying used and want the Intel info, don’t buy the June 2006 edition).

This is quite a book. It covers everything from hardware on up. It’s of course not a user’s reference, but although it is probably of most interest to programmers (and especially system level programmers), I think advanced administrators will also find this to be a rich resource. You will need some background in Unix internals and C programming for parts of it, and computer hardware knowledge for other parts, but even if you are fairly light in those areas this book will have knowledge to offer.

There’s a lot of example code here to show you how things work. That code, and sample chapters, can be found at http://www.osxbook.com/. Personally, I liked that the author paid a lot of attention to historical context, how things came to be the way they are, and interesting side notes that are often not found in highly technical books. Amit Singh must be a very interesting and interested person; I imagine any conversation with him could range far and wide no matter what the starting point.

There is a lot of detail here. As noted, some of it is historical and anecdotal, but there is also a tremendous amount of hard information and explanation. On the historical side, the first chapter deals entirely with the origins of Mac OS X, from “Star Trek” (OS X on Intel with Novell) on through Next and Rhapsody. Then Chapter Two gives the 10,000 foot fly-by of OS X, from firmware to the BSD kernel and the user interface. After that, the meat of the book begins with hardware and moves on from there. There are over 1600 pages; that’s an amazing effort.

This is a geeky book, make no mistake about that. However, it is readable and enjoyable: as mentioned above, Amit Singh is obviously very interested in his subject and he makes it interesting for you. Highly recommended.

Index by Subject

  • Amit Singh
  • Addison Wesley
  • 0321278542
  • Order (or just read more about) Mac OS X Internals, A Systems Approach from Amazon.com

    *Originally published at APLawrence.com

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    A.P. Lawrence provides SCO Unix and Linux consulting services http://www.pcunix.com

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