How does /etc/hosts get created on RHEL 5.5? It's not owned by any RPM and if deleted, it doesn't reappear on reboot, so apparently it's not a service created it. Does anaconda create it by default maybe? I'm trying to figure out exactly when during the install it's created. I'm assuming it must be created by anaconda before installing the RPMs?
You're correct that anaconda is responsible for creating this file. See
/usr/lib/anaconda/network.py for details.