Could someone please explain how I can see these directories...
...on my machine?
I'm using 10.3.7.
These directories are not shown in Finder.app by default because they
are more concerned with the Unix end of Mac OS X than the GUI end.
They typically store Unix executables, which typically are invoked via
the command line and take command line arguments and/or keyboard entry
via standard input. It therefor might be useful to know how to "see"
these directories in the shell environment. Knowing how to see them in
a Finder window is also often useful, and others have already shown a
few ways to do that.
You can view the contents of any directory (or folder, if you prefer)
in the Terminal using the ls command.
(in the following examples, the command line prompt is denoted by "$ ")
The manual page (manpage) for `ls` lists a variety of usage options.
$ man ls
$ ls /usr/local/bin
To view a list of the directory contents in long format (which includes
timestamps, file sizes, and other useful info):
$ ls -l /usr/local/bin
To show all files, normal and hidden, except the pointer to the parent
directory and the current directory (.. and ., respectively):
$ ls -A /usr/local/bin
And, I find it helpful to turn on colorized output, which renders
filenames in different colors depending on type and permissions:
$ ls -G /usr/local/bin
Or, what I most often use, a combination of the three above:
$ ls -AlG /usr/local/bin
I use these enough to have created a couple of aliases in my .profile
(a text file that is read when your shell initializes its
environment... in some cases).
# First I turn on colorization by default:
alias ls="/bin/ls -G"
# Then another alias for long format and hidden files:
alias l="ls -Al"
Now 'ls' acts like 'ls -G', and 'l' acts like 'ls -AlG'. Suits me.
More information about .profile and aliases can be found in the bash
$ man bash
Everything I needed to know about the command line I learned in
"Learning Unix for Mac OS X Panther," published by O'Reilly. The book
is written for complete neophytes and does not even assume working
knowledge of the term "path". I highly recommend it.
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