HostName and LocalHostName differ - what happens if I correct this?

When I set up the sync between my iMac and my MacBook, I was irritated by the machine I found via Bonjour, it different from the name I had given the iMac via the System Preferences-Sharing method. I set up sync anyway and it is working.

Due to this odd mismatch coming up in another application, I did some research and found out about the use of scutil in the terminal to get different computer name variables. And, here it is quite clear that the machine has a different LocalHostName (which is what is set in System Preferences) and HostName (which, I presume, is stored in the hosts file).

I’m quite keen on fixing this, a simple command using scutil will fix it. However, what will this do to my sync relationship between the iMac and the MacBook? It will break it, I’m relatively sure of that. If I reselect the new (corrected) machine name from Bonjour, what will happen to the sync? Will it just check everything and be fine or will it go bonkers and duplicate all my files?


Thank you!

Best regards, Nick

Frankly, I hate the dumbing down of technology to make it accessible to the masses. Running around in circles, as you are, trying to solve obscure technical problems created by simplifying technology like bonjour drives me up the wall.

Anybody with even a low-level of technical knowledge would be able to set up a reliable remote sync server for their own databases if we could specify the IP address of the server. But instead we are forced to use unreliable file servers like dropbox and iCloud or the IP vagaries of bonjour.

I adore DEVONthink and DEVONthink to go and rely on them completely. But the dearth of debugging information (log files etc) and inability to have solid control of sync drives me up the wall. Black box engineering spoils a good product designed for intelligent people who can handle technology.

Would it be that difficult for them to add a sink source specified by IP address or domain name?

Bonjour is intended for use by normal everyday people and also bypasses the issue of dynamic IP addresses changing and breaking things.

You’re more than welcome to try changing the LocalHostName. It likely will not cause an issue but I think the adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” would apply here. :slight_smile:

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" But instead we are forced to use unreliable file servers like dropbox …"

For years I’ve been using Dropbox to do the sync across my iMac, Macbook, iphone, and ipad … no problems.

There are, in fact, at least 3 names a Mac can have:

  1. HostName
  2. ComputerName
  3. LocalHostName

ISTR that there might even be a 4th one that I can’t remember now.

  1. HostName is expected to be your fully qualified domain name (i.e.
  2. ComputerName is the ‘User Friendly’ name (i.e. John’s MacBook)
  3. LocalHostName is your Bonjour hostname (i.e. macbook.local)

I shouldn’t have mentioned Dropbox, I agree it is reliable. The problems are with iCloud, which is where I have the capacity to sync. A paid dropbox account would be large enough for my needs but I can’t afford it.

After checking the two other Macs I have in the household, it turns out that the standard installation has a blank HostName. So I’ve gone ahead and cleared out the HostName on my iMac using scutil and rebooted. Lo and behold: the bonjour sync source I see on my MacBook is now called by the LocalHostName. There were no issues with the synchronisation - at all! It just took over from where the “old” name left off!

However, I want to bring one thing to your attention: in my opinion, DevonThink should not be showing the HostName in place of the LocalHostName (Bonjour name) at all - after all, I’m selecting a Bonjour sync source.

Development would have to assess and comment on this.

Sounds reasonable. Should I open a ticket?

I’ll just send the link along, though they likely already read this.