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Monday's Mac Gadget
by John F. Braun

Want To Harness Command-Line Power Under OS X? Try CLIX!
April 12th, 2004

CLIX 1.1 (Freeware)

Sure, the Mac OS X Finder is one of the best graphical interfaces on top of a UNIX core, but there are times when you may want to experience the power of UNIX via a Command-Line Interface, otherwise known as a CLI. Getting at this interface is easy enough; just launch the Terminal application, located in the Utilities folder, which is inside of your Applications folder; but what do you do once you have a Terminal window? CLIX (a CLI for X, get it?) provides a way to both learn and use important CLI commands...

CLIX contains a database of over 250 UNIX commands that let you explore your system status, clean up the gunk that can accumulate under a UNIX system, access "secret" settings, and more. This information is stored in a _default.clix data file, which you can easily view and edit using your favorite text browser, but you probably want to start by double-clicking on this data file, which opens it with the CLIX application. The CLIX application shows the command name, category, description and the actual content of each command.

A Small Sample of Available UNIX Commands

Once you double-click on a command, you'll then be presented with an expanded window that shows the same title, category, description and command line information as the main CLIX application window. You can, of course, execute the command by hitting the Run button. The command will be executed, and you'll be shown any output generated by the command. Here's where CLIX gets interesting, however; you can edit the aforementioned fields, and save them by hitting the Save button. Plus, since CLIX shows you the raw UNIX command, it serves as a great tool for you to learn how to issue your own UNIX commands, without the help of CLIX.

So start on the road to learning and using the command-line power of OS X, and give CLIX a try!

Have any other Gadgets that let you get at the guts of OS X? Send John an e-mail, and he'll investigate it.

Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you with those cool things that we all just have to have on our Macs. Shareware, Freeware, Postcardware, Emailware, and even commercial apps, Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you find and use the best of these programs.

John is a software engineer who works in the corporate R&D group of a Fortune 500 company, focusing on all aspects of communications technology. He has several degrees that claim he knows what he's doing when it comes to computers. After watching co-workers reinstall Windows, search for device drivers, and experience other horrors during the day, he's glad that he comes home to a Mac (compatible) computer. Have any comments, suggestions, or favorite Gadgets? Drop John a line at

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