Hermit came from my high school BBS days. I wanted to run a BBS and wanted to pick a name for both the BBS and for myself that would fit together, and give the impression of a place people would go to seek help and advice.

I came up with "The Hermitage" and "The Hermit" as a result. For a long time I insisted that people call me "The Hermit" rather than simply "Hermit". But as I got into Unix I found that there's a size limit on login names and they have to be one word, so I dropped the "The". When I went to UCSC, I simply used the same name for my B account.