Using the Command Line Interface, and a Caution Regarding the Master Password

Some Mac OS X tasks are more easily accomplished in the Command Line Interface rather than through the graphical environment. These include:

• Some options are not accessible through the graphical interface, but can be reached through the CLI

• The CLI allows you to view and open any file and folder, giving you a way around the limitations imposed by the Finder

• The CLI grants invisible remote access using the SSH client

• You get root user-level entrance and execution of files and tasks

• The CLI is easy to script using a variety of languages. These include, but are not limited to, Python, bash, Perl and Tcl

• Utilizing the CLI and ARD, you can administrate several Macs at once

How can you access the Command Line environment? There are four different ways to do it.

• By running the Terminal application

• You can initiate a User Mode session by pressing the Command and S keys simultaneously during system startup

• At the login screen, enter ‘>console’ as your username

• Or, use the SSH client to start a remote session

Much like the old DOS operating system for PC’s, the CLI will show you a user prompt. The default user prompt includes:

• Name of Computer Host

• Directory name, or Current Location

• Username, or User’s Credentials

Usually, a CLI command has three parts. These are:

• Command Name

• Optional parameters, or Command Options

• Command Arguments. This last is optional, and is often the name of a folder or file.

There are several terms you should know and understand when working in the CLI. These are: folder, directory, path, absolute path and relative path.

• The first two are simple. They both refer to collections of files in the filesystem.

• A path is almost exactly what it sounds like. It describes the “path” to a specific file or folder in the filesystem.

• An absolute path includes complete directions, from the root to the file or folder in question.

• Relative paths give directions only from the current location.

Some things you need to know about resetting the Maser Password in relation to FileVault user accounts.

• If you already know the current Master Password, resetting it won’t make any difference to your ability to change FileVault account passwords.

• If you reset the Master Password because you don’t know the current one, then you have to login the individual FileVault accounts and disable, then enable their FileVault encryption.

• If the FileVault password is also lost or unattainable, that’s bad. Then, the content of the FileVault volume in question is permanently lost.