Title text: This hostname is going in dozens of remote config files. Changing a kid's name is comparatively easy!
On the top panel is the sketch of a Debian Installer showing a hostname dialog for its menu-driven frontend. Cueball wants to make sure that he chooses a great permanent name that he can give to the server he is running.
Choosing a name for a server is both an important and non-trivial task. It is non-trivial enough that there are official communications on how to choose a good name and why many ideas are bad, for example RFC 1178 Name Your Computer. It is important to pick a good name because changing it is costly once many reference to the existing name are widespread. For example, RFC 1178 states:
if you later decide to change a name (to something sensible like you should have chosen in the first place), you are going to be amazed at the amount of pain awaiting you. No matter how easy the manuals suggest it is to change a name, you will find that lots of obscure software has rapidly accumulated which refers to that computer using that now-ugly name. It all has to be found and changed. (...)
When Megan quips about how quickly, in comparison, Cueball named their daughter Caroline (a living being - that is, the type of entity that would give the server purpose), Cueball retorts that he was under pressure at the time: Megan tried to name said daughter "Epidural" in honor of the painkiller drugs that were being injected into her spine at the time. Megan tries to justify this by explaining that those were very good drugs, but thus also confirms Cueball's point, in that she was drugged, not in her right mind, and thus not making good decisions. Epidurals work by stopping nerves in the spinal cord from transmitting signals, and would not have an effect on the brain similar to those seen in someone given an opiate or narcotic. She may, however, have been motivated purely by the fact that the drug stopped the pain of labor or a cesarean section; alternatively, she may have been on entirely different drugs at the same time.
In the title text Cueball mentions that he thinks that it is easier to change a person's name than to change the hostname of a server because of the number of changes that would need to be made to each of the machines that would have saved the old name of the server. It seems, however, that Cueball has never had to wait in line at the Social Security Administration office or at the Department of Motor Vehicles, as both of those events typically take excruciatingly long amounts of time. Also, a child's name will get logged in government records, school records, and pretty much anything they sign up for and anything they buy or sign.
- [A large panel the combined width of the four panels below it.]
- [A blue Linux terminal installer screen with a grey box that is labeled "[!]CONFIGURE THE NETWORK" in red. Below, in black, it reads "Please enter the hostname for the system." Below is an empty blue entry box with a cursor and dashed underscore, and below this it says "<GO BACK>".]
- [Cueball sits at his computer, Megan stands behind him.]
- Megan: You've been staring at that screen a while.
- Cueball: Picking a good server name is important.
- [Megan stares at him.]
- [She continues to stare.]
- [Cueball pushes his chair back, puts one elbow on the back of the chair and points with his other hand at the screen.]
- Megan: And yet you settled on "Caroline" for our daughter in like 15 seconds.
- Cueball: But this is a server!
- Cueball: Besides, I had to—you were trying to name her "Epidural."
- Megan: Those were good drugs.
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