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SubjectRe: hostid derived from...
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> how does linux provide the hostid string?

Its up to the C library

> on a sun box this is a guaranteed unique identifier, since AFAIK
> intel architecture does not have this unique identifier can
> two linux boxes end up with same hostid by chance?

Easily. hostid is generally only useful to proprietary license managers so
its a relatively minor issue in the Linux world. You can set it by sticking
the data you want in /etc/hostid

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