How to edit dotfiles on Mac OS X without using a terminal —03 January 2014
It seems there is no way to run shell commands in Mac OS X without using a Terminal application.
I realized this while trying to answer
this question on unix.stackexchange.com:
the poster messed up his
making his Terminal app unusable.
He needed to rename,
edit or delete
.bash_profile to get his Terminal back.
files starting with a
. are hidden by default,
so normally you can’t see them in Finder.
You can make hidden files visible using this command:
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool true
But, how can you run any commands if you don’t have a usable Terminal?
In Linux you could switch to a virtual terminal,
root and fix things.
Probably all desktop / window managers have a shortcut to run shell commands without a terminal.
Ironic that there is no similar way in Mac OS X,
a system derived from UNIX.
Luckily, there is a way to open hidden files, even if normally they are not shown in Finder:
- Open a plain text editor, for example TextEdit
- Select File | Open… or press Cmd + O
- Navigate to the directory where you want to edit hidden files
- Press Command + Shift + > to show hidden files (press again to hide)
- Select the file you need to edit