I don't know if I interpreted your questions correctly. Let me offer what I think might help and maybe it will.
I use slackware, so please forgive any differences in advance.
The wierd number in the prompt.
If you run 'netconfig' it will set your prompt to reflect the domain you enter in the first screen. This wierd number might be something that was entered at that point?
Netconfig allows you to configure dhcp for your adapters. It will modify any config files subsequently.
etc/hosts generally contains known hosts, you can man hosts if you have the patience to read man pages.
this is what my hosts looks like:
this means that I can resolve the loopback address by typing either localhost or saevenstar.
It's good general practice to alias your ethernet cards, netconfig will add the /sbin/modprobe/<insert card driver name here> in your /etc/rc.d/rc.netdevice files for you. After that's done, you can alias it in your /etc/modules.conf by adding
alias eth0 <card driver name>
You need to manually do that in the slack version I'm sporting, again - no experience with RH on my end.
If you want it to boot to gui automatically, set your runlevel to 4 in your /etc/inittab
you can man inittab too, it has a man page.
Hope this helps.
By no means a guru,