[erlang-questions] detection of hostname

Vlad Dumitrescu <>
Mon Oct 22 21:53:50 CEST 2012


In erlide we are starting erlang nodes from Java and lately we had
(and still have some) trouble with retrieving a host name that works.

The latest versions are starting an erlang node with "erl -name foo"
and read the hostname used by it. Today I got a report that this
method is not reliable either: for a machine called "desktop", erlang
may detect it is on a network and use "desktop.domain.com" as
hostname. But the DNS might not be able to resolve that name, and it
may not be in /etc/hosts either. So even if two erlang nodes can
connect to each other using this name, other programs that use other
ways to resolve the name can't connect.

I've been trying hardcoding "localhost" and "" but that makes
the nodes unreachable from other machines, so one can't reliably do

My knowledge about name resolution in networking is poor (just what I
discovered while fighting this issue), so I'll ask a dumb question:
isn't there a method to get a host name that can be use in all
circumstances (when there is one)? That is it should be resolvable by
the OS, not something made-up from the machine name and the network

Or if anybody has a suggestion for another method for starting an
Erlang node that one can later always connect to, I am open for

I could keep adding checks (look for /etc/hosts myself, query the DNS,
etc), but I can't possibly cover all OSs and all possible network
configurations. It feels like this is an operation that should have a
standardized implementation...

Thanks in advance!
best regards,

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