When Parrot Linux is installed on a computer, it always names that computer, parrot. That can be very confusing if you have Parrot installed on more than one computer, or you want to have a different name for the computer than the default name. During installation, Parrot does not currently allow the user to specify a specific host name during any part of the installation.

There are two ways to change the host name.  Since Parrot is Debian-based, and Debian using Systemd for startup and system processes,  Systemd commands can be used, The “new fangled way.”  You can always use the “old fashioned way,” which requires editing the /etc/hosts and /etc/hostname files.  Either method produces the same result.

The New Fangled Way

Changing the host name using Systemd commands is a two-step process.

  1. Open Root Terminal (accessible through the Menu -> System Tools).
  2. Enter hostnamectl set-hostname NAME where NAME is the new name for your computer.
  3. Close your terminal session, and your computer has been renamed without even having to reboot it.  You can check this by opening a new terminal session.  Looking at the prompt, you’ll see the new host name.

The Old-Fashioned Way

Changing the host name is very easy, but you do have to be careful that that you make sure you don’t assign a name that is currently used on the network. You will have to edit two system files: /etc/hosts and /etc/hostname.

  1. Open Root Terminal (accessible through the Menu -> System Tools).
  2. Enter the root password when prompted.
  3. On the command line, enter pluma /etc/hosts. You can use any other editor that is on your system if you do not want to use pluma.
  4. Locate the line that contains: parrot where hostname is the current name of the computer, parrot.
  5. Change host name to whatever you want. You can use letters, numbers, and dash (hyphen).
  6. Save the /etc/hosts file and exit pluma.
  7. On the command line, enter pluma /etc/hostname.
  8. Look for the line that has parrot.
  9. Change the host name to whatever you want, but it must be identical to the name you used in /etc/hosts.
  10. Save the /etc/hostname file and exit pluma.
  11. Exit Root Terminal.
  12. Once you reboot your computer, you should see the new name when you open a terminal session or browsing devices on your network.

If you have any comments or notice any error(s) in these instructions, please feel
free to contact me.


Updated 7-17-18:  Edited to add hostnamectl instructions.




Resuscitating My T420

Several months ago I gave up on my Lenovo Thinkpad T420 because it would not boot. It was producing those dreaded boot up beep errors. Although the errors indicated the motherboard was the problem, I opened up my laptop and reset both RAM DIMMs.

Problem solved… for a month or so… or so I thought.

One day, I turned on my T420 and it gave me those dreaded beeps again. It didn’t matter what I did. The beeps sounded and my laptop wouldn’t boot up. I figured it had finally died, so I shoved it in a closet for the next few months.

On a whim, yesterday morning (Tuesday, June 26, 2018), I decided to give the T420 another look. I turned it on and it gave those same boot up beep error codes: 1 beep, 3 beeps, 3 beeps, 1 beep. I looked it up and after a bit of searching on the InterTubes, I came across two very helpful Web pages (refer to the references below). It turned out that the beep codes indicated that the problem was a RAM issue. At least that was something than can be remedied.

I proceeded to check the RAM. I took out the one DIMM that is right under the small access panel and rebooted. Nope, that wasn’t the one. It figures it has to be the RAM that is under the keyboard. Murphy’s Law gets me every time. As far as I’m concerned, putting one RAM socket on the bottom and one under the keyboard is just a bizarre way of doing things. It was probably easier for manufacture, or just a bad design.

I took out the RAM that resides under the keyboard and replaced it with the other stick of RAM, and started the T420 up again. Booted up with no errors. WooHoo!!! I put everything back together and even replaced the spinning hard drive with a 480GB SSD (Sandisk Ultra II) that I had sitting in my desk drawer waiting to be used somewhere.

Okay, now I have a working T420 with Ubuntu Mate 18.04 on it. It runs like a dream, except I went from having 16 GB RAM to 8 GB RAM, then I remembered that I had two 4GB sticks of DDR3 RAM sitting in the desk drawer that had come out of my old mid-2010 MacBook Pro when I had updated it from 8 to 16 GB RAM a number of years prior. I put in one of the 4 GB DIMMS and now I’m up to 12 GB of RAM. I can live with that until the 8 GB RAM comes back down in price a bit.

Now, my T420 is a happy laptop working perfectly. After not using it for several months, I did forget how enjoyable it is to use.

Screen shot of T420 after RAM repair

Happy computing all!!!


Beep and No Beep Symptoms – Thinkpad General: Support Community:




The Linux Only Challenge – Round 1

The Linux Only Challenge is a personal, self-imposed challenge to see how long I can go using Linux (Ubuntu Mate 16.04 specifically) without requiring me to use my Mac for something that could not be done in Linux.

Started: March 19, 2017. Ended: March 28, 2017.

My mouse did me in!!

My first attempt lasted a whole 9 days! It was all due to the death of the Logitech mouse I was using on my Dell XPS17. After 4+ years, and numerous dives off tables, desks, and such, it had the right to die.  I had an extra mouse without a transmitter and the unifying transmitter from my dead mouse. I really did not want to go out and buy a new mouse when I had two parts, that if I could get them to work together, I would have a usable mouse again.

I checked Logitech’s Web site for unifying transmitter software. I found it only for MacOS, Windows, and Chrome OS. So, I broke down, got out my Mac, and downloaded the software. I followed the instructions in the unifying software.  Lo and behold, I had a working mouse! Unfortunately, that meant I ended my Linux Only Challenge.

It was only later, after posting a message about my mortal mouse to the Destination Linux chat group, that I found out there is a Linux solution. The solution is Solaar, the Linux devices manager for the Logitech Unifying Receiver.  Yes, that is Solaar, with 2 “a”s. It is easy to use. Just follow the directions and you will have your Logitech mouse, keyboard, or whatever uses the unifying transmitter, up and running in a matter of seconds. Now I know.

So that just made be double down and restart my Linux Only Challenge after I had a working mouse again. My challenge restarted on March 28, 2017.

I’ll keep you posted as to how it goes.