Unix Commands Unique to Mac OS X / Darwin

This page lists command-line programs that are found only or almost only on Darwin, the Open Source version of Unix used in Mac OS X. This information on this page is a pre-publication version of Appendix A of Unix for Mac OS X Tiger.

For more information on Darwin, including access to the source code see http://developer.apple.com/darwin/.

To read the Unix manual entry for a command type:
man command
at a shell prompt, for example: man authopen to read the authopen documentation.

In the following table the first column shows the command name followed by the Unix manual section in parenthesis. Entries in Section 5 of the manual (for example plist) are documentation for configuration files and file formats, not commands.

Based on OS X 10.4.2, August 2005. Compiled in August 2005 by Matisse Enzer
BuildStrings(1) Programmer tool to generate .h and .r files. /Developer/Tools
ConsoleMessage(8) Send a message to SystemStarter. /usr/libexec
CpMac(1) Copy files preserving metadata and forks. /Developer/Tools
DeRez(1) Decompiles resources (programmer tool) /Developer/Tools
DirectoryService(8) DirectoryService daemon. See also dscl(1). /usr/sbin
GetFileInfo(1) Get Mac-only attributes of files & directories. /Developer/Tools
MergePef(1) Programmer tool. Merges "PowerPC Executable Format" (PEF) files. /Developer/Tools
MvMac(1) Move files, preserving metadata and forks. /Developer/Tools
PPCExplain(1) Programmer help for PPC assembly code. /Developer/Tools
ResMerger(1) Programmer tool for merging resource data. /Developer/Tools
Rez(1) Programmer tool to compile resources. /Developer/Tools
RezWack(1) Programmer tool to flatten file. /Developer/Tools
SetFile(1) Set Mac attributes of files and directories. /Developer/Tools
SplitForks(1) Divide two-fork HFS file into AppleDoubleresource and data files. /Developer/Tools
StartupItemContext(8) Execute a program in StartupItem context. /usr/libexec
SystemStarter(8) Start, stop, and restart system services. /sbin
UnRezWack(1) Split a RezWack file into separate files. /Developer/Tools
WaitingForLoginWindow(8) Draws to the screen until LoginWindowis ready. /usr/libexec
agvtool(8) Apple-generic versioning tool for Xcode. /Developer/Tools
asr(8) Apple Software Restore; copy volumes(e.g. from disk images) /usr/sbin
authopen(1) Open file with OS X authorization. /usr/libexec
bless(8) Set volume bootability and startupdisk options. /usr/sbin
blued(8) The Mac OS X bluetooth daemon. /usr/sbin
bootpd(8) DHCP/BOOTP/NetBoot server. /usr/libexec
cd9660.util(8) ISO 9660 file system utility. /System/Library/Filesystems/cd9660.fs
chkpasswd(8) Verifies user password againstvarious systems. /usr/libexec
coreaudiod(1) Daemon for CoreAudio related purposes. /usr/sbin
crashdump(8) Crash reporting tool. /usr/libexec
crashreporterd(8) Crash detection and panic logging daemon. /usr/libexec
create_nidb(8) Creates a NetInfo database from flat files. /usr/libexec
defaults(1) Read and set Mac OS X user defaults. /usr/bin
diskarbitrationd(8) Disk arbitration daemon. /usr/sbin
disklabel(8) Manipulate and query Apple Label disk label. /sbin
diskutil(8) Modify, verify and repair local disks. /usr/sbin
ditto(1) Copy files and directories, provides Mac-specific options not available in cp. /usr/bin
dnsextd(8) BIND Extension Daemon. /usr/sbin
dscl(1) Directory Service command line utility. /usr/bin
dsconfigad(8) Configure the Active Directory Plug-in. /usr/sbin
dsconfigldap(1) Add/remove LDAP server configurations. /usr/sbin
dseditgroup(1) Manipulate groups in Directory Service. /usr/sbin
dsenableroot(8) Enable or disable the root account. /usr/sbin
dsidentity(1) Add/remove "identity" (non-login) user accounts. /usr/sbin
fibreconfig(8) Configure settings for Fibre Channel disks. /sbin
fsaclctl (no man page) Enable/disable Access Control Lists (ACLs). /usr/sbin
hdid(8) Disk Image loading and decompression. /usr/bin
hdiutil(1) Manipulate disk images (preferred over hdid.) /usr/bin
hfs.util(8) HFS/HFS+ file system utility. /System/Library/Filesystems/hfs.fs
ifcstart(8) Rebuilds file caches used by International /usr/libexec
installer(8) System software and package installer tool. /usr/sbin
kerberosautoconfig(8) Configure Kerberos for Open Directory. /sbin
kextcache(8) Creates or updates kernel extension caches. /usr/sbin
kextd(8) Loads kernel extensions on demand. /usr/libexec/kextd
kextload(8) Loads, validates, and generates symbols for a kernel extension. /sbin
kextstat(8) Display status of dynamically loaded kext's. /usr/sbin
kextunload(8) Terminates and unloads kernel extensions. /sbin
kuncd(8) The Kernel User Notification Center daemon. /usr/libexec
launchctl(1) Command-line interface to launchd. /bin
launchd(8) System wide and per-user daemon/agent manager. /sbin
launchd.conf(5) Commands for launchctl to run when launchd starts. man page, not a command.
launchd.plist(5) Documentation for launchd configuration files. man page, not a command.
launchd_debugd(8) Simple HTTP server to display launchd job data. See man page.
launchproxy(8) Provides inetd emulation for launchd. /usr/libexec
lookupd(8) Directory information and cache daemon. /usr/sbin
mdcheckschema(1) Schema validation tool for mdimport files. /usr/bin
mdfind(1) Command-line version of Spotlight search. /usr/bin
mdimport(1) Import file hierarchies into the Spotlight datastore, /usr/bin
mdls(1) Lists the metadata attributes for the specified file. /usr/bin
mdutil(1) Manage the metadata stores used by Spotlight. /usr/bin
memberd(8) Group membership resolution daemon. /usr/sbin
memberd.plist File located at /usr/share/man/man8/memberd.plist Not a command.
mkextunpack(8) Programmer tool for multikext (mkext) archives. /usr/sbin
mount_cddafs(8) Mount an Audio CD. /sbin
newfs_hfs(8) Construct a new HFS Plus (HFS+) file system. /sbin
nibtool(1) Programmer tool to print, verify, and update nib files(nib files contain user interface objects.) /usr/bin
niutil(1) NetInfo utility - read and write NetInfo data. /usr/bin
ntfs.util(8) NTFS file system utility. /System/Library/Filesystems/ntfs.fs
osacompile(1) Compile AppleScripts and other OSA language scripts. /usr/bin
osalang(1) Show information about installed OSA languages. /usr/bin
osascript(1) Execute AppleScripts and other OSA language scripts. /usr/bin
pbcopy(1) Copy from STDIN to the pasteboard (Clipboard.) /usr/bin
pbpaste(1) Paste from the pasteboard (Clipboard) to STDOUT. /usr/bin
pbhelpindexer(1) Index the HTML documentation for Developer Tools. /Developer/Tools
pbprojectdump Takes an Xcode project file and outputs a more nestedversion of the project structure. No man page.
pl(1) Converts between ASCII and binary plist formats. /usr/bin
plist(5) Property list format documentation. Not a command.
plutil(1) Check property list syntax and/or convert format. /usr/bin
pmset(1) Modify power management settings. /usr/bin
say(1) Convert text to audible speech. /usr/bin
screencapture(1) Capture screenshots to file or Clipboard. /usr/sbin
screenreaderd(8) VoiceOver daemon, gives audible feedback on useractivity and responds to user requests forVoiceOver feedback. /usr/sbin
scsid(8) SCSI subsystem daemon. /usr/libexec
securityd(1) Security context daemon for Authorization and cryptographic operations. /usr/libexec
softwareupdate(8) Mac OS X System Software Update tool. /usr/sbin
sw_vers(1) Show operating system version information. /usr/bin
system_profiler(8) Show system hardware and software configuration. /usr/sbin
textutil(1) Convert between various file formats. /usr/bin
ufs.util(8) UFS file system utility /System/Library/Filesystems/ufs.fs
uninstall-devtools.pl(8) Remove Xcode Tools or Developer installation. /Developer/Tools
uuidgen(1) Utility to generate a new Universally Unique ID (UUID.) /usr/bin
vpnd(8) Mac OS X VPN service daemon. /usr/sbin
wait4path(1) Wait for given path to show up in the file system. /bin
xcodebuild(1) Build an Xcode project. /usr/bin
xgridctl(8) Xgrid daemons control interface. /usr/sbin

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