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I noticed that when in terminal the prompt is generally in the format username@users: or I have even seen username@(none):. I get that the first part is the logged in person's user name, but what is the part after the @ symbol?

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It would be more useful if you gave a more detailed title, maybe something like: "What does the name after '@' at terminal prompt means" –  Decio Lira Oct 11 '10 at 20:42
    
@Decio That is a much better title. Thanks. –  jschoen Oct 11 '10 at 21:20
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4 Answers

up vote 20 down vote accepted

It's the hostname, i.e. the name that you gave your computer.

Showing this as part of the prompt is useful so you can easily tell which host a given shell is running on if you're logged into multiple computers (via ssh or telnet for example).

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You can, of course, set this prompt to be nearly anything you want- many folks use it to display other information.

Here's a decent guide that should help you get started.

Dotfiles.org also has a bunch of other customizations you can make to your shell.

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The terminal prompt displays the username of your login and the contents of whats in /etc/hostname.

e.g. My laptop is james@james-laptop

This is because my username on my laptop is james and my hostname is james-laptop

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to expand on what sepp2k said, it is the hostname aka computer-name of the system you're logged into terminal on. most of the time, and for most users, this is going to be the one you're sitting in front of. it is very useful though in the event that you occasionally/constantly sign into remote systems for administration purposes to have the pc name right there in front of you to remind you where you are.

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