Monday, November 17, 2008

Mac install

Update (May 2012): this entry is not quite up-to-date. The "Mac Install notes" on Google docs may be much better.


A few links to (free) software I want on the Mac when doing a fresh install:
  • Firefox (the standard web browser)
  • Smultron (text editor. After install, in Smultron's help menu, also do: "install command-line utility")
  • Fink (essential open source shell tools like wget, etc.)
  • NeoOffice or (Office documents like Word, Excel, etc.)
  • Videolan VLC player (plays most audio/video formats which QT or iTunes don't)
  • Lingon (launchd configuration editor)
  • muCommander (File manager (and FTP client). Not as great as Total Commander, but better than nothing) (or the shareware Disk Order?)
  • MediInfo (displays all the gory details about audio/video files)
A few other things that may be needed or wanted: And some configuration notes:

File locations:

On the Mac, many standard Unix files are in different locations than expected:
  • /var/db/smb.conf for the Samba configuration
  • /private/etc/sshd_config for the SSH server config.
  • /private/var/at/tabs/$USER for the user's crontab
  • /private/var/mail/$USER for system mail (like cron output)


To change the silly default computer name: System Preferences -> Sharing. If it is not enough, try
$ sudo hostname my-permanent-name
$ sudo scutil -set LocalHostName $(hostname)
$ sudo scutil -set HostName $(hostname)
Configure Terminal
$ mkdir ~/bin
$ echo "export PATH=\$PATH:~/bin" >>~/.profile
$ echo "export EDITOR=nano" >>~/.profile
$ echo "export PS1='\[\e]2; \$PWD \a\e[32;1m\]\$PWD/\$\[\e[0m\] '" >>~/.profile
These preferences use the "Grass" look with a 12pt Andale Mono font. To use them:
cp Downloads/ Library/Preferences/
Then "Force Quit" Terminal. (otherwise, Terminal will overwrite them on exit with it's current settings)

I also like a longer history:

$ echo "export HISTSIZE=2000" >>~/.profile
I use many external disks and Time Machine constantly asking me if I want to use that disk for backups annoys me. To disable it:
$ defaults write DoNotOfferNewDisksForBackup -bool YES

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