Choosing a Name for Your Computer

From RFC 1178:

Don’t use your own name.

Even if a computer is sitting on your desktop, it is a mistake to name it after yourself. This is another case of overloading, in which statements become ambiguous. Does “give the disk drive to don” refer to a person or computer?

Even using your initials (or some other moniker) is unsatisfactory. What happens if I get a different machine after a year? Someone else gets stuck with “don” and I end up living with “jim”. The machines can be renamed, but that is excess work and besides, a program that used a special peripheral or database on “don” would start failing when it wasn’t found on the “new don”.

It is especially tempting to name your first computer after yourself, but think about it. Do you name any of your other possessions after yourself? No. Your dog has its own name, as do your children. If you are one of those who feel so inclined to name your car and other objects, you certainly don’t reuse your own name. Otherwise you would have a great deal of trouble distinguishing between them in speech.

For the same reason, it follows that naming your computer the same thing as your car or another possession is a mistake.


Read the rest of RFC 1178 by Don Libes for some more good tips.