Revision as of 16:04, February 24, 2015 by Oleg (Talk | contribs)



A hostname is a unique name created to identify a machine on a network. In computer networking, a hostname is a label that is assigned to a device connected to a computer network and that is used to identify the device in various forms of electronic communication such as the World Wide Web, e-mail or Usenet. Hostnames may be simple names consisting of a single word or phrase, or they may be structured.


In Funtoo Linux /etc/conf.d/hostname is the only configuration file for setting a hostname. In OpenRC framework /etc/conf.d/foo is the configuration file for a corresponding Init script /etc/init.d/foo. With the case of hostname, default value in /etc/conf.d/hostname is set to localhost, means when system boots and OpenRC's /etc/init.d/hostname script started a hostname getting only localhost name. How it looks? In your shell promt this will look in following way, an example for root:

localhost ~ #  Hello :)

Let's play a bit with a configuration. Open /etc/conf.d/hostname with your favorite editor and set a hostname of your choice. Below, I will use a real examples from one of my working test boxes.

localhost ~ #  nano /etc/conf.d/hostname

Let's set it to hostname="". Save the file and restart a hostname service:

localhost ~ #  service hostname restart

Now, let's examine our changes, after a restarting a hostname

oleg-stable ~ #  Hello :)

Diving deeper

Notice, that in above output we seeing a shortened hostname and not a FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name). Don't be frustrated. This is how default bash promt PS1 set. To get nice promts, please, follow Another way to test our settings is using a hostname command. Here we will show only some of it's features. Let's try to execute hostname command:

oleg-stable ~ #  hostname

Now we see our fully qualified domain name hostname just how we configured it in /etc/conf.d/hostname in above paragraph. To get a short hostname we need to set -s (short) argument to hostname command.

oleg-stable ~ #  hostname -s

Good! Hostname offers more then just displaying a system host name but can also set one. Let's try:

oleg-stable ~ #  hostname
oleg-stable ~ #  hostname

As you can see, we changed a hostname on-the-fly. This is not recommended way.


Please, notice that using hostname command to configure will work temporary for a current session and will be reverted back to a value set in /etc/conf.d/hostname file with next system restart.

Now that we got a brief description of a hostname and basic configuration steps, its time to reflect another important case which is directly related to a Funtoo Linux hostname generation, a hosts.

Hosts case

As per man page hosts stands for static table lookup for hostnames and it's configuration file is /etc/hosts. Here is how it looks

# Auto-generated hostname. Please do not remove this comment. oleg-stable localhost localhost.localdomain
::1    oleg-stable localhost localhost.localdomain

As you can see it has entries from our /etc/conf.d/hostname. As you may have guessed, in Funtoo Linux /etc/hosts file entries are auto-generated, when OpenRC hostname service starts. Previously, it is used to edit /etc/hosts manually. In Funtoo Linux there is no such need.

What about custom hosts entries? This can be easily configured with 'aliases'. For example you want to have a hosts for your remote router or a computer in home LAN. Let's try to modify /etc/conf.d/hostname with adding following - my remote computer oleg.distant.home has an IP

oleg-stable ~ #  echo 'aliases="10.1.12 oleg.distant.home"' >> /etc/conf.d/hostname
oleg-stable ~ #  service hostname restart
Examine our changes:
oleg-stable ~ #  cat /etc/hosts
# Auto-generated hostname. Please do not remove this comment.        oleg.distant.home oleg-stable localhost localhost.localdomain
::1    oleg-stable localhost localhost.localdomain