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Cult of Mac Discovers Unix

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MIDDLE EARTH (Rixstep) — Who could have known? But deep in the underbody of OS X - where no self-respecting Maccie would ever dare go - lurks an Easter egg!

Except it's not an Easter egg at all, this is the Xmas season, not Easter, it's not at all new, and it's in fact part of the standard FreeBSD distribution, and as such has shipped with every version of OS X for at least the past nine years (if not longer).

That's way more than three strikes for Cult of Mac. That's more than enough to end the inning.

'Little Surprises'

'Apple loves to hide little surprises, or easter eggs, within its software', writes Killian Bell at 14:02 30 November UTC.

'A new one has been discovered that's sure to please Lord of the Rings fans.'

Now it's true most Mac users rely on the crippled Finder to do their spelunking (because they don't know any better) and only the pros go for something like this - but how long has OS X been around now? And this fabulous Lord of the Rings file's been there all along too.

In fact, it was put in the CLIX starter command files back in 2003!

The file itself - if actually read correctly - should give enough of a clue anyway.

 * Lord Of The Rings
 * $FreeBSD: src/usr.bin/calendar/calendars/calendar.lotr,v 1.2 2003/10/09 00:31:48 grog Exp $

That's just past midnight on the 9th of October 2003. Over nine years ago. And there was certainly a version before that as well.

Welcome to Unix, Cult of Mac!

But Wait! There's More!

The magical file 'calendar.lotr' is located in the directory '/usr/share/calendar'. Could there be more 'Easter eggs' there? Or perhaps Cult of Mac may be saving them up for future articles?

Use CLIX, use the command line, or heck - use a real file management tool and see for yourself.

There are 60 (sixty) files in there. Heck - there are special calendar files for Germany, Austria, France, Croatia, Hungary, Russia, and the Ukraine!

In addition to special files with famous birthdays, milestones in computer science, a massive file on FreeBSD of course, history files, holiday files, a super music file, and so on.

Cult of Mac, you got your work cut out for you.

Smokedart & Spizzatus

Cult of Mac readers smokedart and spizzatus read the label and caught on pretty quick.

'Very cool Easter Egg. But it wasn't added to OS X by Apple. It's a part of BSD which OS X is built on top of.'

'Yeah, it says right in the file that it comes from FreeBSD.'

Oopsie, Cult of Mac.

Lesson Learned

There's a lot on OS X systems most users never get near. Apple deliberately crippled their built-in file manager to make it more difficult for you to get around. The thousands of commands packaged with the free CLIX download are the result of checking out OS X file systems with a better file manager.

The /usr/share hive cited here has 28400 files. Have you seen them yet?

  • It seems dear Killian is only acquainted with the command cat and is delighted to tell everyone that it won't harm your computer! But check out that CLIX screenshot again and you'll see another command in play: calendar. Yes that's right, folks! Apple FreeBSD also include a special tool to help you get the most out of your Easter eggs from Apple FreeBSD files!

    You can summon up all the info you need from the command line with 'man calendar' or get it right in CLIX itself.

    /usr/bin/calendar is actually a general purpose tool that can be adapted to a number of useful ends. And the man page says all (something else the Cult of Mac missed).

    The main thing is you can ask calendar to look a few days into the future and past as well, so you find events close to your current day (which calendar gets by checking the date with your Mac).

  • Download CLIX now and check out other 'Easter eggs' for OS X.
  • Download Xfile now so you can find more cool stuff on your own.

See Also
Xfile Test Drive
CLIX: The #1 Power Tool for OS X

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