Gotta start somewhere ... how many of us are really out there?

User Freebsd freebsd at
Tue Aug 1 15:20:48 UTC 2006

On Tue, 1 Aug 2006, Nikolas Britton wrote:

> On 7/31/06, User Freebsd <freebsd at> wrote:
>> On Mon, 31 Jul 2006, Xiao-Yong Jin wrote:
>> > Chris Whitehouse <chris at> writes:
>> >
>> >> Alex Zbyslaw wrote:
>> >>> Counting portsnap and cvsup accesses is non-intrusive - i.e. nothing
>> >>> sent from local host - will count systems from any version of
>> >>> FreeBSD, but will never count everything because sites with multiple
>> >>> hosts may easily have local propagation mechanisms.  But you will
>> >>> get an order of magnitude.  However, how do you deal with systems
>> >>> with variable IPs?  I don't know enough about the internals of
>> >>> either portsnap or cvsup to know if there is some kind of unique id
>> >>> associated with hosts.  If not, then you'd wildly over count for
>> >>> many home-based, variable IP systems.
>> >>
>> >> Maybe not so many, my non-static ip hasn't changed since I signed up 3
>> >> years ago despite turning off the modem for the odd day or
>> >> two. Another network I look after also hasn't changed in a year.
>> >>
>> > But one can't rely on that.  You'll definitely see more than one ip
>> > associated with my laptop, if I move it around.
>> >
>> > A more reliable way that I can think of is generating a unique ID
>> > number when a system finishes installation or upon the first boot.
>> > However, it may involve some additional privacy problem.  What do you
>> > think?
>> How does Solaris generate its 'hostid'?  Is it a hardware/sparc thing, or
>> software?
> Generating a unique anonymous key is easy, proving why we need it is not.
> Ok, here it is, " ifconfig | sha256 | md5 ". 16^32 unique anonymous
> keys. Every host needs to have a NIC to send results so all ifconfig
> outputs will be different. Now... What does this solve and why do we
> need to add 32 extra bytes?

'k, so we'd be looking at something like:

ID=`ifconfig | sha256 | md5`
SYS=`uname -mr | sed 's/\ /+/g'`

URL would be different, mind you, just using that to test / example ...

Actually, using ifconfig wouldn't work ... it would give unique, but as 
soon as you add another IP (ie. alias), the ID would change ... you'd need 
to do something like:

ifconfig | grep ether | sha256 | md5

since the 'ether' would never change ...

Marc G. Fournier           Hub.Org Networking Services (
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