The Rule of Names

This is an entirely silly post about the way I name the machines in my house, shared for the amusement of my regulars.

The house naming theme is “comic mythical beasts”.

My personal desktop machine is always named “snark”, after Lewis Carroll’s “Hunting of the”. This has been so since long before adj. “snarky” and vi. “to snark” entered popular English around the turn of the millennium. I do not find the new layer of meaning inappropriate.

Currently snark is perhaps better known as the Great Beast of Malvern, but whereas “snark” describes its role, “Beast” refers to the exceptional capabilities of this particular machine.

One former snark had two Ethernet ports. Its alias through the second IP address was, of course, “boojum”.

My laptop is always “golux”, from James Thurber’s The Thirteen Clocks.

The bastion host (mail and DNS server) is always “grelber”, after the insult-spewing Grelber from the Broom Hilda comic strip. It’s named not for the insults but because Grelber is depicted as a lurking presence inside a hollow log with a mailbox on the top.

Cathy’s personal desktop machine is always “minx” after a pretty golden-furred creature from Infocom’s classic Zork games, known for its ability to sniff out buried chocolate truffles.

The router is “quintaped”, a five-legged creature supposed to live on a magically concealed island in the Potterverse. Because it has 5 ports, you see.

The guest machine in the basement (distinct from the mailserver) is “hurkle” after the title character in Theodore Sturgeon’s The Hurkle Is A Happy Beast (1949).

For years we had a toilet-seat Mac (iBook) I’d been given as a gift (it’s long dead now). We used it as a gaming machine (mainly “Civilization II” and “Spaceward Ho”). It was “billywig”, also from the Potterverse.

I have recently acquired 3 Raspberry Pis (more about this in a future post). The only one of them now in use is currently named “whoville”, but that is likely to change as I have just decided the sub-namespace for Pis will be Dr. Seuss creatures – lorax, sneetch, zax, grinch, etc.

That is all.

103 thoughts on “The Rule of Names

  1. I should probably regularize my naming scheme. I’m a major Tolkien fan, so machine names tend to derive from his work. The current desktop is Valinor. The overall domain is Arda. One of the routers announces itself as Erresea. The netbook is Tirion. The ancient Fujitsu notebook is Varda. Kat’s Win10 laptop is Eowyn. The Android tablet will probably be Olorin. I’m tempted to name the other Win10 laptop Melkor (or perhaps Utumno.) There are a few other things, like a Sun Solaris 9 rack server, a Windows rack server, and an ancient Power Mac, but none are currently in use, so names can wait. And since I multi-boot on desktop, netbook, and notebook, there is potential multiple personality disorder, with name varying by what it’s booted into.

    At a former employer, I had a pair of Solaris boxes, loosely coupled and sharing a common file system, set to do automatic failover so if one went down the other would pick up the slack and users mostly could continue unaffected. The machines were used by two different user groups. I announced plans to name one Smeagol and the other Gollum. and let the users fight it out over whose machine got which name, but got overruled and had to apply boring corporate names.
    (Likely just as well. I’m not certain any of the users of either would recognize the reference and know who Smeagol and Gollum *were*.)
    ______
    Dennis

  2. Machine names are a lot of fun; I always enjoy learning other people’s names and naming schema when I work for them.

    My own computers at home are celebdil, caradhras, and fanuidhol. My more portable machines are gurthang and anglachel. I’m using islands for some VPSs I’ve got for various projects: tol-sirion, tol-galen, tol-in-gaurhoth, etc. Oh, and my wifi network is Eriador.

    Dennis: Smegol/Gollum are great names for a failover pair.

  3. Mine are named for characters in the Discworld books; except for VM servers which get named after towns.

    My desktop is Dorfl, laptop is Luggage, and when I have a VM for testing I call it Chalky. My VM server is Ankh.

    At work we use Australian author surnames for servers and Queensland islands for the PCs in the IT department.

  4. It was always worth having at least one machine called elvis on networks with Solaris boxen, for then one could ping it and be told that elvis is alive :-)

    Unrelatedly, The Lorax is one of my eldest son’s favourite books. Fortunately I’ve managed to spin it as a parable not about environmentalism, but about sustainable forestry. He’s totally down with the need for thneeds, but mocks the Onceler for not planting more Truffulas, thus allowing his business to fail.

  5. My desktop, a huge black-cased tower machine spec’d similarly to the Beast of Malvern is called “orthanc”, because it’s a big black tower (interestingly, a few months ago there was an article on Ars Technica wherein the author mentioned that his own machine using the exact same case was named “Monolith”).

    The Pi A+ that I’m trying to set up as a timeserver is “cuckooclock”. A 2001-vintage E-machine that was an old family computer is “methusela” (because of its longevity), and a 1995-vintage AST machine that I use for retrogaming is “cirdan” (once again, for extreme longevity). My laptop, however, uses the factory hostname: “system76-pc”. I forget what I’m calling my Pi 2.

    Unrelatedly, The Lorax is one of my eldest son’s favourite books. Fortunately I’ve managed to spin it as a parable not about environmentalism, but about sustainable forestry.

    I found the movie deliciously hypocritical: it opens with the standard dire warnings about breaking copyright, then establishes the villain as evil by telling us how he managed to find a way to sell air, which, in my view, is effectively what the IP lobby has managed to do with copyright.

  6. TIL: ESR play{s|ed} Spaceward Ho!

    This knowledge is pleasing.

    @Duncan
    but mocks the Onceler for not planting more Truffulas, thus allowing his business to fail.

    You are doing $DEITY’s work here.

    @Jon
    I found the movie deliciously hypocritical:

    Like Tron: Legacy. “Information wants to be free” doesn’t work when you are made by Disney.

  7. Like Tron: Legacy. “Information wants to be free” doesn’t work when you are made by Disney.

    I remember chuckling when Pirates of the Caribbean was new, and one line at the end was “Perhaps on occasion, the right course of action is piracy.”

    As for my naming scheme at home, I’ve tried to stick with Futurama characters, my big desktop is turanga, laptop philipjfry, server/backup-machine bender, the router/network itself is just “futurama”. It breaks down when I’m lazy and don’t bother renaming my tablet/phone away from the default of Android-, despite that I have static addresses configured for both.

  8. Sumerian gods here. Enku, Inana, Ninurta, Siduri, etc.

    The names don’t usually have any connection to the machine’s role or properties because that would be quite difficult. Finding genuine Sumerian names is hard enough, given the general confusion, particularly on the internet, between related cultures (Sumerian, Babylonian, Akkadian, etc).

  9. I always really enjoy interesting and esoteric hostname schemes. I like when the scheme isn’t explicit, and so becomes something like a riddle to figure out. Kind of a low-stakes Eleusis.

    At my last admin job I wasn’t allowed to use creative hostnames, and all of my systems had to be SitecodeOS-Number, like “rrux-40”, etc. Incredibly dull.

    For the sake of jumping on the bandwagon, my home name rotation includes:

    Lina (laptop), Lime (workstation), Linali (e-mail), Lynn (media), and Lucy (dev mac-mini). Currently available names, from retired systems, are Lois, Lola, Lain, Lorelei, Lisa, and Louise.

    The specific scheme is left as idle exercise for the reader.

  10. kasumi, nabiki, ranma, ryoga, duquesne, megelaar, chip, nelirikk

    One of then is a cat, not a computer.

  11. >TIL: ESR play{s|ed} Spaceward Ho!

    Reminded of it, I pinged the author last night inquiring about prospects for an Android port. No answer yet.

  12. @ESR

    Android port

    Just looked it up, Ahem.

    Did you ever play Alpha Centauri? It is available on GOG and runs beautifully under wine. It even runs well on 1920×1080 fullscreen.

  13. I used to use Tolkien names but got tired of it. Now I use mountains. My home desktop (spec’ed about the same as the Great Beast) is pathfinder, the unofficial name of a peak in the Yukon which I was probably the first person to climb in winter. The rest of the names all come from the Adirondacks, and I’ll start using the Whites once I run out of good names there. Currently I have rockypeak for my office desktop, cascade for my router, wright for my web server, skylight for my VPN concentrator, brothers from my printer (no points for guessing the manufacturer). Retired names for old hardware include wolfjaw, whiteface, and phelps. I have new laptop coming which will probably be sawtooth.

  14. Seconding Alpha Centauri. It’s very much in the civ2 vein, but even better. (I usually play without the expansion factions, though; not as well designed IMO)

    My own boxes are named after female summons from the Final Fantasy series (Shiva, Asura, Anima, Siren…). The domain controllers and VM host are named after summoners (Rydia, Yuna, Garnet).

    I am wholly unsurprised that so many people here have explicit themes.

  15. When it comes to my machines, I try to capture some aspect about them and put that in the name. My iMac12,2 is spreadthinly because the actual computer parts are smeared on the back of the monitor and then encased in aluminum (never mind that iMacs have gotten thinner still now that Ive threw out the optical drive and 3.5″ hard drives in later designs).

    Most of my nameable iPods got names based on their generation number: sa, o.

    When I got my first iPad, a third-generation, I thought about its threeness over a few days and eventually settled on “King Dedede”, the principal antagonist of the Kirby series. Its successor, a 4th-generation, was quickly named “Dark Matter”, the single-eyeball black cloud that ends up corrupting King Dedede into being an antagonist. My current iPad is a 9.7″ Pro named “blew it”, so named because Jobs once said “if you see a stylus, they blew it” (I got the Pencil).

    My old iPhone 5s was “likeachamf” (chamfered edges, y’see?). I decided to keep that name for my SE since my old phone was decommissioned almost immediately and they look nearly identical.

    The laptop is “crisp”, after the screen with the tiny pixels.

    My Windows machine was put together by Puget Systems, so I started thinking “pug, pug, pug…” and settled on “pugnacious”. While writing this comment, I decided to rename it “paddedontheinside”. Silent computers are wonderful.

    The AgGressively PascalCased HP ProLiant MicroServer has a grotesquely bright blue light coming out of the HP logo when it’s on, so it’s called “bluehal”.

  16. Alpha Centauri […] is available on GOG and runs beautifully under wine.

    So I should stop pounding my head against the wall getting the Loki Linux version running on newer kernels? And with any sound architecture newer than OSS? Not that I’m bloody-minded or anything&#x2026

    Anyway, the reason we’re all here: sharing our computer naming systems and not paying attention to anyone else&x#2019;s! As it is, was, and ever shall be, amen:

    I started off with the theme of fictional computers: an old desktop that is mainly used as an end table these days is called holly (which caused me to have to do some fast talking when a co-worker named Holly was looking over my shoulder as I ssh’ed home. Unix may be case-sensitive, but…). The same theme has put two names in the rotation for Portable Electronic Things: big or more capable ones are called starbug, smaller, more specialized ones are called skutter.

    Later I built a new desktop named hactar, but after that I decided I needed an even geekier naming scheme, so I switched to a Markov-chain system. holly was succeeded by queeg, then I called my work machine blaine, and my current system is called laszlo. The next one might be sergei or ansel.

    If you’re terminally bored, feel free to try and figure out the chain!

  17. > It was always worth having at least one machine called elvis on networks with Solaris boxen, for then one could ping it and be told that elvis is alive

    Fire is also a fun name for a server. “Henry’s home directory is on fire!”

  18. >Just looked it up, Ahem.

    Thanks.

    I bought it. This is a rare event, me actually buying software. Can’t remember the last time it happened.

  19. For a long time, I had two desktops on my desk. I named the one on the left, “sinister”, and the one on the right, “dexter”.

    This was extremely functional, as I rarely move desktops.

    I did, however, simultaneously purchase a new desk, and a new homebuild desktop, that I knew would end up where I do most of my work and play.

    I called that one “maniber”.

  20. I’m still using Animaniacs character names…the Mac desktop is yakko, the Linux desktop is dot, the Mac laptop is wakko, the Internet-facing server is thebrain, the firewall is ralph, and so on for other machines.

    Once upon a time, I did a consulting gig at Muzak’s home office. They had music piped in everywhere but the elevators. Their naming convention was band names. I got to name one zztop.

  21. So I should stop pounding my head against the wall getting the Loki Linux version running on newer kernels?

    Yes.

    In case you aren’t familiar with GOG they specialize in casting Resurrection on old games, though they have expanded into new stuff. They also have this weird business plan of not treating their customers like shit. For unaccountable reasons this has worked well, probably put shoggoth ichor in the coffee machine…

    Anyway, the reason we’re all here: sharing our computer naming systems and not paying attention to anyone else’s

    Alas! This household has never been one for naming stuff. I should rectify that, but there are so many choices… Maybe just cut to the chase with Badass-usually-brunette-females-from-nerdy-sources: (Bastilla, River, Tali, Liara, Kerrigan, Ellie, Mission, Katniss, […])

  22. A place I used to work used an algorithmic naming convention for end-user machines (based on the user’s name), but named servers after biblical cities.

  23. “Louis” Carroll? ;-b

    I name mine after philosophers. My two current desktops are HUME and MILL.

  24. My desktop machine (an HP tower workstation) is “Hell Prince II” with it’s predecessor having been “Hell Prince” My current laptop is “Fat Imp” with my previous laptop having been “Little Imp.”

  25. I have server instances named after Babylon 5 characters, so I have sheridan, ivanova, delenn, lennier, londo, and gkar. Some of those are hosted, some are local.

    My personal machines have names taken from nanotechnological devices from my friend Jeff Duntemann‘s novels. My desktop system was originally “sangruse” (from the device featured in The Cunning Blood), but, after I upgraded it, it became “protea” (the even-more-powerful device to be featured in the yet-to-be-written The Molten Flesh). My laptop is “theometry,” another device mentioned in The Cunning Blood (literally, “that which measures God”).

    My fiancee just called her gaming machine “phoenix,” after her handle in her gaming clan.

  26. I named my laptop “mobilechernobyl”, after the nickname assigned to the rockets of the ROVER/NERVA program.
    I named my raspberry pi ace_of_spades.
    I named instances of Linux running in virtualbox turtlesallthewaydown, and recursiondepthtest

  27. I own only one (desktop) computer and always accept the name suggested by the OS at install time. The current name is jorge-desktop, chosen by Ubuntu. Pretty boring, huh? :P

    @ esr

    > This is an entirely silly post

    You’re being modest again. Nothing you write can ever be entirely silly, and the overwhelming majority of it isn’t silly at all. For instance, I’ve been commenting here for two years and gotten only three weak responses from you. (And even in those extremely rare cases, I appreciate the gesture.)

    @ Jay Maynard

    > I’m still using Animaniacs character names

    That’s a good scheme, Jay. Definitely a good scheme.

  28. Could be a false memory, but ISTR “snark” and “snarky” in use in British English in the 90s, and maybe the 80s too.

  29. Worked at a customer who used TV characters. Made it a pain to find servers by function but I was able to build a clustered file server using batman, robin, batcave (for the cluster) and alfred (for the virtual server).

    Backups were on hotlips and frequently got locked up, so a common question in the IT pit was “When is the last time someone punched out Hotlips?” :-)

  30. I once built a Beast in college and named it gas-o, after the character from the dance-battle game Bust A Groove. Since then, rhythm-action-game characters have provided the names for most of my machines; except my Raspberry Pi computers get Disgaea character names (after I called the first one “raspberyl”).

    Honestly, though, this is going to be looked upon by our successors as a quaint relic of the old times. We’re living in the era of The Cloud. Computers and their applications will become entirely separate from one another, with applications requisitioning and using compute resources on-demand.

  31. Once upon a time, I did a consulting gig at Muzak’s home office. They had music piped in everywhere but the elevators. Their naming convention was band names. I got to name one zztop.

    I once worked a gig at a place where the naming convention was “dead musicians’ names”. One day they wheeled in a new prod server and called it “luciano-pavarotti”. I was like “But he’s still alive, isn’t he?” Checked the web and was proven wrong by the morning’s headlines.

  32. Another Discworld theme here. Current desk machine is magrat; server is vetinari; lab Linux machine is turnipseed; lab Windows machine is bursar; previous laptop was luggage; current big gray portable thing is greebo; entertainment machine in living room is silverfish; first dual-core machine (not currently in use) was perdita.
    The cats, however, have mundane botanical names.

  33. I have recently acquired 3 Raspberry Pis (more about this in a future post).

    They breed fast….

    FWIW I have named certain computers after Japanese gods/spirits. Ebisu, Susanowo…

  34. @Jeff Read: Honestly, though, this is going to be looked upon by our successors as a quaint relic of the old times. We’re living in the era of The Cloud. Computers and their applications will become entirely separate from one another, with applications requisitioning and using compute resources on-demand.

    Not really. The roles played by our devices may change, from “local place where the work is done” to “client accessing where the work is done”, but our habit of giving our devices names is likely to remain.
    _____
    Dennis

  35. I once had a server farm with paired servers with hot fallback. I named them Laural & Hardy, Beanie & Cecil, Penn & Teller, etc. Upper Management got wind of it and nearly stroked out. So I aliased them to prod-1a, prod-1b, etc.

    And one for elvis. And colossus and guardian, of course.

    My main home machine used to get a new name with each major update, but it has been Simulacron-3 for maybe fifteen years now.

  36. Lina (laptop), Lime (workstation), Linali (e-mail), Lynn (media), and Lucy (dev mac-mini).

    “Just you and me, Lucy. We’re gonna show ’em, baby.”

  37. @esr:
    If the sub-namespace of your Rasberry Pi devices is going to be Dr. Seuss creatures, then I look forward to future blog posts about thing1 and thing2.

  38. @esr –

    > My laptop is always “golux”, from James Thurber’s The Big O.

    Wikipedia titles it The Wonderful O. Do you have a copy of your own?

    > Cathy’s personal desktop machine is always “minx” after a pretty golden-furred creature
    > from Infocom’s classic Zork games, known for its ability to sniff out buried chocolate truffles.

    I thought it might have been for other reasons…. *Me blushes*

    FWIW, my personal computing environment right now is a modest laptop named “perfectbeast”, for reasons I’ve alluded to already. I work in an unimaginative academic environment, so machine names around here are just role-based or something like that. My prior laptop (a borrowed system from the University, running Linux in contrast to my standard Windows desktop) I called “doppelganger”.

    In a prior employment situation, we named NFS mounts that were “genericized” away from their servers’ names by colors. Each color contained one basic class of served applications, except for the one that contained specialized development tools and versions-under-test of several apps – it’s name was “plaid”.

  39. Just don’t name any ‘up’ or ‘down’, for reasons which I do not explain in RFC 2100.

  40. The Golux isn’t in The Wonderful O, he’s a character (and not a mere device) in The Thirteen Clocks.

    Fun fact: Thurber got the word GOLUX from a code group during his work as a code clerk in WWI.

  41. >No you have a copy of your own?

    No – and the reason I get it mixed up with The Thirteen Clocks is because in the edition I read, many years ago, both books were packaged as a double – read one, flip it over, and there’s the other cover.

  42. “Snafu” for the stable production host, “Fubar” for development. The desperately obsolete, bought at scrap prices, backend system is always “Lucy,” not yet of legal age but viciously used beyond its means for the sick pleasures of strange people. There were once servers named “proof” and “press” for internal staging and public versions, respectively, of a publishing company.

  43. @esr: The only one of them now in use is currently named “whoville”, but that is likely to change as I have just decided the sub-namespace for Pis will be Dr. Seuss creatures – lorax, sneetch, zax, grinch, etc.

    Speaking of which, did you ever read Robert Coover’s “The Cat in the Hat for President”?

    An unnamed political party can’t think of anything else to do, and runs the Cat in the Hat for President. Scurrilous (and hilarious) chaos ensues.

    Ted Geisel was reportedly deeply unhappy about the story and what it had the Cat getting up to.

    (The story originally appeared in the New American Review in 1980. It was reissued later in slightly different form as “A Political Fable” – http://www.amazon.com/A-Political-Fable-Robert-Coover/dp/0670563099)
    ______
    Dennis

  44. I bought it. This is a rare event, me actually buying software. Can’t remember the last time it happened.

    In fairness, a game is a bit of a special case. More like buying music or a movie :P

  45. When setting up my home network I pondered names and was tempted to use Animaniacs names, but multiple people I knew on IRC did that, and I figured I might simply add to confusion. Which yakko, wakko, or dot? Instead I settled on names of breeds of horses. My main (mane?) desktop machine is belgian, for example.

    This turned out to be a good decision as eventually there was a merger of networks and the names didn’t have any collisions – not even pharfignewton.

  46. Back in the mid-eighties when I was a grad student in the CMU CS department, our small group was the first in the department to get Sun Microsystems machines (Sun-2s). We named them after the seven deadly sins (pride, envy, wrath, gluttony, lust, sloth, and avarice).

    Later, some guy posted on the internal bulletin board system that he had just acquired two Three Rivers Perqs (an early “personal computer”) and wanted suggestions for naming them. Having used Perqs myself, I suggested Albatross and Millstone.

    BTW, esr, are you going to Penguicon this year?

  47. >BTW, esr, are you going to Penguicon this year?

    Sure am. Throwing a Friends of Armed & Dangerous party, even.

  48. In naming my machines, I keep to Grecian myth, insist on a thematic match and slightly prefer feminine names. As a result, my machines are currently named Eurydice (Windows partition)/Aglaia (Linux partition, same workstation), Hecate (laptop), and — for the times I must boot it into Linux — Metis (RasPi).

    For wireless networks, I use fictional places. Since the latest wireless router generations support two networks (which the firmware labels ‘guest’ and ‘home’), those are Rivendell and “Babylon Five” respectively. [Yes, both networks are secured; if I’m ever tempted to put up an unsecured network it gets named “Mos Eisley”.] In addition, since my mobile phone supports a wireless hotspot, I named that Trenzalore as a reminder to avoid using it until it becomes a matter of life and death.

    Also, @Jeff Read:

    this is going to be looked upon by our successors as a quaint relic of the old times. Computers and their applications will become entirely separate from one another…

    I’ve had this thought, but unless there is a better way to identify separate wireless networks, the tradition will live on there. (Although I consider it an open question of just how many instances you need before you can accurate say you have a ‘naming scheme’.)

  49. Until recently all my machines were named after near earth asteroids. Recently (in light of the whole SJW thing), three got named dancer, prancer, and vixen, and the router in the red case got named Rudolf of course.

    http://pcengines.ch/apu2c4.htm is Rudolf, and I hope that it does lead the way to better wifi. Pretty good router thus far.

  50. This leads me to an annoying point – android machines can’t seem to be named, they come in dns like: android-8533e742a69c273f

    which, dang it, seems sad. Can you give your android a name?

  51. I’ve wound up changing schemes enough times that my naming is almost entirely incoherent now. My desktop is “gilgamesh” and my Windows gaming box is “enkidu”, but I’ve got a few others – “bastet”, “maion”, “sandalphon”, “icarus”, “saruman”… The firewall is “heimdal”, though, and the Kerberos KDC is “onniel”. I really should make these sane one of these days.

  52. Utterly prosaic. Easier to keep straight that way. Always based on some characteristic of the particular piece of hardware, usually model or manufacturer name, with qualifications as necessary such as serial number, installation sequence / date / location, or for things like live USB sticks, distro name / version, stick brand / capacity, build date. A bit of whimsy may creep in if the acquisition circumstances were sufficiently memorable, for instance, I once dug four computers out of a dumpster, the one I tested last was functional enough to get a machine name, so it became ds4 (Dumpster Salvage).

  53. @dave taht: Turns out there’s an app for that. Needs root. Grump. This is crazy.

    Not really. Android is a Linux system. You need root to perform the equivalent operation there.

    (Rooting my Android tablet was the first thing I did after getting it. There are an assortment of “one click root” solutions out there, and one worked for me.

    The annoyance is that all expect to be run from Windows connected to the target device. A friend still hasn’t rooted his device because he’s Windows free, and can’t find a solution that will push the required exploit from Linux.)
    ______
    Dennis

  54. The annoyance is that all expect to be run from Windows connected to the target device.

    Maybe for the one-clickers. They’re just automating a 4-step process that the XDA threads lay out in meticulous detail. Had no trouble at all with my Samsung Galaxy S3, Motorola Moto X, or Nexus 5X–just a few fastboot commands, one adb push, follow the instructions in the on-phone recovery program, and you’re set.

  55. So ESR, did you actually build a small linux box with multiple network cards as your router? Or did you put OpenWRT on an ASUS (or some other linux) router?

  56. >Or did you put OpenWRT on an ASUS (or some other linux) router?

    CeroWrt on an N600. Actually Dave Taht did it. CeroWrt is his baby.

  57. Yet Another Tolkien fan here. Place names for me. Machines at home get names from inside the Shire, outside home outside the Shire.

  58. Being a fan of Spaceballs, I had to name my Raspberry Pi … “lonestar”

  59. My preferred naming scheme for machines on my local network comprises characters from Joyce’s Ulysses. Regular appearances include:
    bloom, cyclops, molly, mulligan, daedalus, mcintosh, haine

  60. With the possible exception of my dexter / sinister / maniber setup, Ulysses sounds like the most esoteric scheme in this thread so far…

  61. I never felt the need to name them. In fact, it seemed kind of wrong that inanimate objects should have names, so when I started using advanced operating systems (read: not DOS) where hostnames were mandatory I just gave went laptop1, laptop2 etc. Do you also name your cars etc. or just do it because having a computername/hostname is pretty much mandatory during installation? My mother used to name our cars. I found that extremely weird. It’s not a pet and it led to her missing them and becoming emotional when the cars got old and we bought a newer one.

  62. >Do you also name your cars etc. or just do it because having a computername/hostname is pretty much mandatory during installation?

    I do it because I sometimes have to ssh/scp to them, and distictive names are easier to remember than IP addresses.

  63. “laptop1,” “laptop2,” etc is hardly different from 192.168.1.2, 192.168.1.3, etc. Which one is which, again?

    Give them personality, start with a name :)

  64. > I do it because I sometimes have to ssh/scp to them, and distictive names are easier to remember than IP addresses.

    Wouldn’t names like eric-desktop and eric-laptop be distinctive enough? :P

  65. >Wouldn’t names like eric-desktop and eric-laptop be distinctive enough? :P

    Yes, but where’s the fun in that?

  66. >I thought [minx] might have been for other reasons…. *Me blushes*

    No! How could you possibly imagine that?

    Apropos of nothing, completely irrelevantly, Cathy occasionally walks up to me, kisses me, and says “minx minx minx”. She’s imitating the Zork minx – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it, anyway.

  67. I haven’t named any machines in a long time, but I do generate new disk volume names. Recent ones include Holofernes, Thrint, Jaxartes, and Tumbril.

    My method is just to pick an obscure noun or proper name.

  68. > Yes, but where’s the fun in that?

    Nowhere. But once you get used to a fun name, doesn’t it stop being fun?

    > Cathy occasionally walks up to me, kisses me, and says “minx minx minx”.

    And what do you reply? “Snark snark snark”? :-P
    You may want to get Zola a computer and call it “meow”, so he can join the conversation by saying “meow meow meow”. Seriously, though, there are tablet games for cats now. :-)

    BTW, I’ve been thinking: if I had three computers, I’d call them “Wynken”, “Blynken”, and “Nod”. How ’bout that for your Raspberry Pis? (Provided you don’t plan to get a fourth, which would preclude that scheme.)

  69. >Nowhere. But once you get used to a fun name, doesn’t it stop being fun?

    No. Besides, my names are short enough to be easier to type.

  70. I forgot one.

    The guest machine in the basement (distinct from the mailserver) is “hurkle” after the title character in Theodore Sturgeon’s The Hurkle Is A Happy Beast (1949).

  71. Machines here are named after the seven dwarves and the huge NFS mount point is called Snow White. And yes, my laptop is Grumpy.

    Routers are named for where they are (Robot Lab Router) is called Robot. Stuff from there are called RobotPrinter, RobotCast, etc. Main wireless is called NCCPoliceCommand. All the sensor ESP8266 have “Strawberry”, “BirdFeeder”, etc. names.

    Lastly the new time server is called Timex.

  72. >Do you also name your cars etc. or just do it because having a computername/hostname is pretty much mandatory during installation?

    We name them because we talk to them. See also: command line, linguistic interfaces.

  73. Mine are all asterisms—constellations for the computers, stars for usernames and storage/mobile devices that don’t have accounts attached. On my current machine, my first really nice one, I’m thuban@draco; before that I was altair@aquila, alpha@fornax, and deneb@cygnus. My phone is fomalhaut. It’s Spaceward Ho’s fault for introducing kid-me to traditional star names; they’re such wonderful corruptions.

  74. My personal workstations at home alternate between “frank” and “lurch”. If I ever need a third at the same time, it would be “herman”. (For those who don’t know me well, I’m 6’6″, over 300 lbs. Knowing this, the theme should be evident.)

    At work we have really boring server names that follow a peculiar naming scheme. A combination of alpha prefixes, stems, and suffixes indicate the OS and possibly the data center of residence, whether the server is prod/qa/dev/etc., and the primary application for the server. The final component of a name is always a number. This is very boring, but it does have the advantage that I can look at a server name and figure out what the hell its job is most of the time.

  75. @ esr

    > No.

    I don’t see it, myself. But it takes all kinds of sense-of-humor to make a world. ;-)

    > Besides, my names are short enough to be easier to type.

    Oh, you’re right! And when you’re right, you’re right. And you… you’re always right! (Except for your assessment of dogs.)

    > I forgot one.

    When your avatar’s bigger than usual, is that intended to convey a difference in tone?

    (I accidentally just posted this on “Evil viziers represent!”; you’ll probably want to delete the comment there. I apologize and promise to be more careful from now on.)

  76. “>Do you also name your cars etc. or just do it because having a computername/hostname is pretty much mandatory during installation?

    We name them because we talk to them.”

    I cuss at my cars occasionally, but that doesn’t mean they get names…

  77. At one point, I decided my naming scheme would be all dragons, because dragons. Then creativity abandoned me, and I couldn’t think of any names not from Pern. So the main desktop was named dragon. After a replacement, it became dragon_mk2 because I was feeling lazy. Some minor hardware upgrades brought the name to dragon_mk2a, and a new idea occurred to me. The present revision is dragon_mk2b. Once the CPU upgrade and water cooling go in, it will be dragon_mk2c+, after John Petrucci’s guitar amplifier.

    This leaves me with a conundrum, though. Do I change my naming scheme to all Mesa/Boogie guitar amps (Recto, Stilleto, Nomad, et. al.), try to stick with dragons and just go with Pernese names I can recall, or move forward with the weirdness that’s likely to result from merging the two?

  78. >Do you also name your cars etc.

    I don’t name my cars, but I do have a “car-munculus” that gets transferred from car to car when I get a new one. That way, all my cars through the years are symbolically the same car.

  79. At Comp. Sci. department at University of Warsaw there were 7 labs, with computers named after colors of rainbow, with numeric suffix, e.g. yellow01. Server computers were named rainbow01 etc., of course.

    My personal dual-boot computer was named roke / gont, depending on what OS was booted.

  80. “The $CAR_MODEL$” is a name. It’s not necessarily a globally-unique name, but neither are a bunch of names of machines in comments here.

  81. I’m using the norse mythology as a theme. The main internet router which connects almost every machine called “yggdrasil”. The desktop-pc is called “asgard” and my laptop is “midgard”. The wifi is after the rainbow bridge “bifrost”. The VPN client router in my parent’s house would be “heim”, but still not implemented.. So the PCs there will be named after one of the nine worlds name ending with “heim”. (Vanaheim or Niflheim..)
    I’ve acquired three 3550 switches for playing with Cisco, but haven’t found any adequate name for them yet. Any ideas?

  82. >I’ve acquired three 3550 switches for playing with Cisco, but haven’t found any adequate name for them yet. Any ideas?

    The Norns, of course. Urðr, Verðandi and Skuld.

  83. > The Norns, of course. Urðr, Verðandi and Skuld.

    How do you type the eth? I use Alt Gr + d, but I’m curious because your keyboard must have a different layout from mine.

    > [From your Google+ page] Believe it or not – done! I saw a stack of 5 Pis Beowulfed together at Penguicon.

    If you find that impressive, it means you haven’t seen this sixty-four-Pi cluster. :-)
    I suppose giving them all names would serve no purpose. But, just for fun, what naming scheme would you follow for that number of computers? I’d be tempted to use the names of the I Ching’s hexagrams, but I’m not sure they’d be distinctive enough.

  84. How do you type the eth? I use Alt Gr + d, but I’m curious because your keyboard must have a different layout from mine.

    Eric will have his own answer, but I run Linux with US-layout keyboards and define Menu as a Compose key.

  85. >How do you type the eth?

    I cheated – I pasted the names in from a web page. They are, by the way, often transliterated to English as “Urd, Verdandi, and Skuld”.

    >If you find that impressive, it means you haven’t seen this sixty-four-Pi cluster

    Actually I had seen that but had forgotten it. The expression on that 6-year-old kid’s face as he tweaked the rack design! It warmed my heart, it did.

    If the test farm gets large enough to need a rack, now I know what I’ll do. Lego really is quite functional for this use. Besides, having a good reason to put a box of Legos on the Linux Foundation’s equipment budget would be hilarious.

    >But, just for fun, what naming scheme would you follow for that number of computers? I’d be tempted to use the names of the I Ching’s hexagrams, but I’m not sure they’d be distinctive enough.

    I’m not sure either, but your idea is too appropriate and funny not to use anyway.

  86. @ Christopher Smith

    > I run Linux with US-layout keyboards and define Menu as a Compose key.

    With xmodmap, I suppose. But why Menu as opposed to right Alt? Wikipedia says: “For ergonomics, the preferred place for the Compose key is Right Alt, especially on keyboards that do not use Right Alt as AltGr.”

    @ esr

    > I cheated – I pasted the names in from a web page.

    I’m rephrasing: how would you type the eth?

    > Besides, having a good reason to put a box of Legos on the Linux Foundation’s equipment budget would be hilarious.

    When you go to the toy store for the Lego, the following dialogue shall ensue…

    ESR: I’d like to charge this to the Linux Foundation.
    Shopkeeper: Look, buddy. I don’t know who put you up to this, but no foundation’s budget contemplates something as frivolous as Lego! (Turns on the radio and whispers) Meet me in the alley in fifteen minutes. And come alone.

    > your idea is too appropriate and funny not to use anyway.

    Thanks. Got any contacts at the University of Southampton who could put our evil scheme into practice? ;P

  87. >I’m rephrasing: how would you type the eth?

    I don’t know. Haven’t needed to learn how yet.

    >Got any contacts at the University of Southampton who could put our evil scheme into practice? ;P1

    Alas, no.

  88. I’m another one who uses Tolkien namespace. All my devices are named for Tolkien *characters*, whereas my workgroups and domains are named for Tolkien *kingdoms*.

  89. Ah, The Thirteen Clocks. My aunt Dorothy gave it to me for my birthday when I was abut 12. It became special for me because it was dedicated to one “Jap” Gude. Gude is my family name and when I asked my dad about him he said that he was his great uncle and got his nick name because he had oriental appearing eyes. My father said that he had met him and that he was quite a character and that he liked him. There is an entry for him if you Google “Jap Gude” to get the exact text but there is not much information. He was a friend of Thurber’s. I might name my Mackintosh The Todal, or keep it Hackensack which is about where Jap Gude lived over in Jersey.

  90. At one of my wife Deirdre’s workplaces, all Solaris hosts got named for noble gases, on grounds of them being inert and unresponsive.

    After casting about for host naming schemes once too often, I collected a bunch (re-findable under Admin). Enjoy.

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